Q&A with our newest Associate, Craig Blewitt

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It is with excitement that we announce that Senior Architect, Craig Blewitt, has recently been promoted to Associate.

Craig is one of our most experienced correctional architects, managing all correctional and justice projects in our Brisbane Studio and assisting on the large correctional projects managed by our Melbourne Studio. He is also the resident “door guru”, assisting with door and hardware scheduling across all of our correctional projects.

Warmly known in the Studios for his love of a good secure lock and a spreadsheet, ability to string together puns, and a passion for rehabilitative design, to celebrate his promotion we thought we would sit down for a chat with Craig to find out what he loves most about architecture and his views on correctional design.

Q: What do you love most about architecture?

I enjoy the collaboration process between architects, landscape architects, interior designers, engineers, consultants, builders and contractors during the design and construction process.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I love witnessing the transition from paper to built form – seeing a project through from concept to completion.

Q: How many years’ experience have you had in the industry?

I’ve been working in the construction industry for over 12 years now, with nearly a decade spent toiling on correctional and justice projects.

Q: Tell us a little about your work in corrections, what makes you specialise in this area?

I kind of just fell into the corrections field. I worked on a project during university, and I haven’t looked back. The more I’ve worked on correctional projects, the more I’ve grown to love the complexity of these projects and the variety of building types. I’ve developed a passion for designing well-considered spaces that promote rehabilitation.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself and what do you do when you are not busy designing or jet-setting around?

I don’t have much time away from work at the moment, but the bright side is that I can pretty much recite the Virgin safety demonstration verbatim.

 Hopkins Correctional Centre in Ararat. Photography by Scott Burrows

Hopkins Correctional Centre in Ararat. Photography by Scott Burrows

Q: Is there a stand out project you have worked on?

The Hopkins Correctional Centre in Ararat is probably the standout project for me. Partly because it’s the first correctional project that I had a leadership role on, and partly because of the well-publicised contractual issues, that took the challenges of the project to a whole other level.

Q: What has been the most memorable moment of your career?

Being asked by a builder whether they needed to remove the lumps of plaster on a floor slab before installing the flooring. But more seriously, attending the official opening of the Hopkins Correctional Centre, a project that I worked on full-time for close to six years, including relocating to Ararat for two years on site.

Q: Where do you see correctional design heading in the future?

With the prisoner population growing across Australia, it’s vital that the current and future design of prisons have a greater focus on rehabilitation through educational and behavioural programs, the development of work and social skills, and increased opportunities for family connection.

To be truly effective, the rehabilitative programs need to extend beyond the walls of correctional centres to provide post-release facilities that continue to support prisoners in the years immediately following their release when the risk of recidivism is at its highest.

A word from the Directors

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Having designed many of Australia’s most innovative correctional projects including the $200 million Hopkins Correctional Centre expansion and the multi-award winning $670 million Ravenhall Prison Project, at Guymer Bailey we know the importance of rehabilitative design and the need for secure environments need to be normalised as much as possible, to make the transition out of the prison system is easier.

Craig’s promotion and management of correctional projects is a crucial step in achieving our vision to ‘design a better world’ through rehabilitative correctional design as we work with academic researchers to ensure our design solutions are evidence-based and best-practice.