Who we are


Jill Garner

Victorian Government Architect

Jill's architectural background includes an apprenticeship over ten years with several of Melbourne's influential design practices. She went on to co-found Garner Davis Architects, a St Kilda based studio, whose work has received numerous industry awards in over twenty years of practice. Based on her built and unbuilt work she was one of the early graduates of the innovative practice-based Masters by Design at RMIT.

She has taught at both RMIT and the University of Melbourne in design, contemporary history and architectural theory. She is a regular contributor to architectural events, awards juries, publications and journals, seminars and local and interstate lectures. Over a career of thirty years she has been a visible and active contributor to the discourse of architecture and a passionate advocate for design excellence.

Stefan Preuss

Associate Victorian Government Architect

Stefan was appointed Associate Victorian Government Architect in October 2016. He is a leading advocate of innovative design and sustainability in the built environment combining his experience in executive leadership with architectural practice and technical expertise in Australia and Europe. Stefan has taken a lead role in a number of award winning buildings and government programs, which foster better places for people, a healthier environment and better life cycle economics.

Beyond his core roles Stefan has contributed significantly to the development and advocacy of key industry benchmarks in the built environment. These include the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) where Stefan served as National Steering Committee member for six years as well as Green Star, for which Stefan has also been an assessor and instructor. Internationally, Stefan represented Australia as the Executive Committee Member in the International Energy Agency Energy in Buildings and Communities (EBC) Program between 2010 and 2016. He holds Masters Degrees in Architecture as well as Environmental Design.

Sophie Patitsas

Principal Adviser, Urban Design + Architecture

Sophie Patitsas brings over twenty years of urban design and architecture experience in government and the private sector to OVGA. She has spent a significant part of that time providing design review and advice on major public and private sector projects.

Sophie has practised urban design and architecture both locally and overseas, has served on selection panels and design advisory committees and regularly attends urban design and architecture critique sessions at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Sophie is a passionate advocate for design excellence in Victorian towns and cities.

David Islip

Principal Adviser, Urban Design + Architecture 

David Islip is an architect with over twenty years experience in the private sector and government advocating the benefits of design. His experience has included procurement, education, heritage and urban design. David has presented as an expert witness at VCAT, advised on major local government projects and authored urban design studies.

David is the Deputy Chair of the Architects Registration Board of Victoria (ARBV), a member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA), a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and a member of the Victorian Design Review Panel. He has served on selection panels, awards juries and contributes to architectural journals and publications. David has taught and participated in urban design and architectural critique sessions at Melbourne University, RMIT, Deakin University, Monash University and the Robin Boyd Design Studios. 

Sarah Oberklaid

Senior Adviser

Sarah Oberklaid is an urban planner with experience contributing to and leading long-term strategic projects to guide future development with respect to housing, land use, built form, heritage, public space, community facilities, transportation and sustainability. With a background in conducting research and consultation for a variety of projects and publications, Sarah is interested in progressive design and policy approaches to improve the environmental performance and inclusivity of cities. In recent years, she has expanded her design skills through several architecture studio subjects and has commenced the Master of Architecture at the University of Melbourne. 

Bronwen Hamilton

Manager, Victorian Design Review Panel

Bronwen is a passionate urban designer and landscape architect with wide ranging experience on local and international design, landscape and planning projects over 20 years. Her experience working for Federal and State governments and in private practice provides a broad appreciation of policy and development from a range of perspectives. She has worked across the spectrum from policy development, structure planning and strategic infrastructure implementation to development approvals, precinct and detailed design guidance and critique.

Although Melbourne is home, Bronwen has lived and work in several cities in Australia, Vietnam and in the UK. She returned to Melbourne after a stint in the nation's capital where she set up the NCA's Design Review Panel and managed several public space and urban renewal projects. Reinforcing the importance of high quality design and places is a constant theme for Bronwen.

Cara Wiseman

Coordinator, Victorian Design Review Panel

Cara Wiseman is an architectural graduate with wide-ranging experience across the built environment sector. Her Victorian experience in award-winning architecture firms and six years as a Building Estimator is complemented by roles at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) in the UK and teaching roles at universities across Germany.

While at university Cara was the national Vice President of the Student Organised Network for Architecture (SONA), sat on the Victorian Chapter Council of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) and was awarded the AIA Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture in 2002.

Kyle Huxley

Project Officer

Kyle Huxley is an urban design and planning student, who first joined the OVGA as part of the Department of Premier and Cabinet's Summer Internship Program. Kyle has a passion for integrated land-use and transport planning, and has a keen interest in the role that good design can play in improving public amenity.

Entering the final semester of his Bachelor of Environments at the University of Melbourne, Kyle is keen to continue studying at postgraduate level, and hopes to pursue a career in the public sector - with a focus on ensuring that best practice outcomes for sustainability, planning and design are achieved.

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