Kevin O’Brien

Kevin O’Brien is a leading Australian architect who places Indigenous knowledge of Country at the centre of his practice. Through this process, which he calls “designing with Country” Mr O’Brien contributes meaningfully to improved understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by designing spaces that connect with the history – both ancient and modern – of the Country on which they are built. He also advocates publicly for this approach in the design community and beyond, through conference presentations, teaching appointments, public art installations, and media engagements.

Mr O’Brien completed his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Queensland in 1995, and a Master of Philosophy (Architecture) in 2006. In 1997 he became a founding member of the Merrima Aboriginal Design Unit of the Government Architects Office of New South Wales and worked on institutional projects with NSW Aboriginal communities until 2001. In 2007 and 2008 he served as a Director of Architects Without Frontiers, a non-profit organization providing architectural services to disaster areas around the globe. Mr O’Brien established his own practice, Kevin O’Brien Architects, in Brisbane in 2006, which in 2018 merged with international firm BVN, where Mr O’Brien currently works as a Principal Architect.

Mr O’Brien spearheaded and directed the much-lauded independent Collateral Event, ‘Finding Country’, for the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012. He has been recognised with a range of professional honours, including a British Council Accelerate Fellowship, a Churchill Fellowship, and numerous Australian Institute of Architects awards.

Mr O’Brien has also been a Professor of Design for the QUT School of Architecture and Built Environment, Professor of Practise at the University of Sydney and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney.

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Indigenous Community Impact Award


Bachelor of Architecture
Master of Philosophy (Architecture)