Professor Laura Lee

Professor Laura Lee

Professor Laura Lee was Adelaide Thinker in Residence in 2009. Professor Lee’s residency report, An Integrated Design Strategy for South Australia – Building the Future, sets up a visionary strategy for design that puts people at the centre – across the initiation of projects, through planning and through development.


Professor Laura Lee applauds the design success and people focus of key Adelaide institutions: the Adelaide Central Market, Jam Factory; Art Gallery of South Australia and the North Terrace cultural precinct. These places live the spirit of South Australia and of Adelaide.

Professor Lee has given South Australia a framework for uniting sustainability, behaviour, materials and the external environment into a whole that satisfies the needs of people, environment and place.

The report lists the values, perceptions, assets, best, worst, challengers inhibitors, influencers and needs of South Australia to consider in an overarching program for the design of all places, spaces and services in SA.

Professor Laura Lee’s 9 recommendations


Professor Laura Lee’s recommendations were formed to be actionable, meaningful, relevant and transformational. They should all be understood and undertaken with respect to existing strengths in South Australia.

While each recommendation is necessary to achieve a comprehensive IDS for SA, the first recommendation – an Integrated Design Commission with a commissioner and Government Architect – is conceived to support the design, development and delivery of all recommendations.

Constructive engagement as recommendation #9, in particular, should be equal in priority to recommendation #1.

  1. Integrated Design Commission with a Government Architect

R1 proposes a vision for the built environment that embeds design in all government policies and the means to fund it.

  1. Policies and procurement valuing performance-based outcomes

R2 proposes agreed quality-of-life performance measures across the built environment, standards of design excellence, guidelines that lead innovation, and demonstration projects for imagining the future.

  1. Integrated design strategies for communities, cities, regions

R3 proposes learning and teaching the value of collaboration through direct experience of performance-based projects and expert integrated design panels supported by multidisciplinary local design teams.

  1. Integrated design for climate change and sustainability R4 proposes use of environmental data in establishing policies and targets, a visionary Integrated Infrastructure Strategic Plan based on people and services; and learning tools for the change to sustainable living.
  2. Collaborative construction capacity using integrated practices

R5 proposes models of collaboration and delivery methods for the built environment industry through a knowledge exchange network, integrated processes, leading technology and research to ensure maximum value.

  1. Manufactured assemblies for mass customisation of buildings

R6 proposes expertise in the design and manufacturing of ‘green’ assemblies for mass customisation of buildings by transforming non-viable manufacturing industries into eco-innovation industries for diverse locations, populations and purposes.

  1. Practice-based built environment research alliances

R7 proposes alliances that develop case-based knowledge, evidence-based design and performance-based outcomes for the built environment.

  1. Design education and learning environments

R8 proposes design as a core discipline of study, or focus of up-skilling, at all levels – from early childhood development to tertiary level education, community members and professionals.

  1. Consultation models and communication strategies

R9 proposes that any integrated design strategy include a comprehensive engagement framework that informs and empowers individuals, communities, industry and the public service.