About

TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH DESIGN:

Our mission: improve the built environment of communities in need. We facilitate the design and construction of health, education and community projects primarily in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

We believe that architecture can be an ethical tool for social change.

Our vision: is to transform lives through design.

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ARCHITECTS WITHOUT FRONTIERS — OUR STORY

Team

“Architecture is not a static object. We must factor in issues of risk—ecological, geological, political, social—and adopt a transdisciplinary mode of designing and delivering projects. We must then seek out the multiple narratives of the impact the designs, through diverse social, health, and education projects, have on people's lives.”

Dr Esther Charlesworth, FOUNDING DIRECTOR

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“AWF has an intense focus on making a relevant, long term contribution to vulnerable communities—communities that otherwise might be neglected by more mainstream organisations. In that sense, it is a bit of a renegade organisation.”

Phillip Greenham, CHAIRMAN

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"AWF’s great strength is the capacity to be a conduit between communities and a skill set that is incredibly useful to communities but is often inaccessible. AWF becomes an interpreter. It’s a really important role that we play."

Alison Cleary, DIRECTOR

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“Part of our approach is to not actually design or build anything for the communities we work with, but to empower them. If you can provide the knowledge, tools, and resources then they can choose how these are best used. Once you’ve left and gone home, they are still self-determined and thriving. That’s the most useful role we play.”

Norman Day, DIRECTOR

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“In browsing what is generally written and published about design, one could mistakenly think that architecture is about material invention and formal play. But materials and shapes are only trinkets if they are not wrought in the service of people. At AWF, people are the beginning, middle, and end of design’s purpose. It is the people who design, who make, and who use architecture that really matter."

Andrew Mackenzie, DIRECTOR

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“We can’t expect that whatever our idea of how a project should work is going to work, because there are just so many differences in culture. That’s why it’s so necessary to be humble in our role. We can facilitate things but can’t dictate how things will work. I love that with AWF we’re able to bring in organisations who haven’t had that experience before.”

Leeanne Marshall, DIRECTOR

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"I'm interested in working with NGOs who don't just 'talk the talk', but 'walk the talk'. I've had first-hand experience with AWF implementing projects that make a real difference. It's great being able to partner with the talented design and construction community to move from a concept to a community facility."

Paul O'Connor, DIRECTOR

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“AWF draws together people with altruistic visions for their fellow man. We enable professional talents the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way towards aiding and fostering healthy communities, it facilitates a way for people to contribute towards something bigger.”

Daniel Conquest, FINANCE ADMINISTRATOR

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"Working on the Fijian project has demonstrated to me the critical difference AWF can make in a community and reinforces the role that architecture plays in shaping and transforming people's lives.”

James Harley, Project Coordinator

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“AWF provides the opportunity for disadvantaged communities to make a tangible change... that will make a long-term, positive impact on their livelihoods. We work with communities who approach us for support in overcoming their infrastructure problems. The project is always led by the community, for the community.”

Jane McIntosh , COORDINATOR

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“What I really love about working at AWF is that we’re bringing the decision-making about peoples’ environments to people who really should have a say, people who probably have never worked with an architect before and might look to us as experts. But in the end, they are the experts of their own environment and we can just help to guide the process.”

Ryan Moroney, PROJECT COORDINATOR

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News

Nepal Post-Earthquake Reconstruction

For the eleventh consecutive year, Architects Without Frontiers and Aussie Action Abroad offer enthusiastic individuals, architecture students, and design professionals the opportunity contribute to community...

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Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre

We’re thrilled to have the support of SJB in our global mission to aid vulnerable communities in designing and building health, education, and cultural projects...

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Ra-Marama Culture and Information Hub

The Society for Indigenous Women of the Cakaudrove Province, Fiji (Soqosoqo Vakamarama i Taukei ni Cakaudrove, SVTC), recently held a workshop in The Great Hall...

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The Anganwadi Project

Are you an architect looking for an opportunity to give back to communities in need? The Anganwadi Project (TAP) is looking for experienced Australian volunteer...

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Social Design Insights

IS RESILIENCE STILL RELEVANT? As the world faces a rising tide of disasters and climate-induced migration, we must ask serious questions about whether the design...

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Humanitarian Architecture Week

The fundamental purpose of architecture is to provide shelter, but in a world obsessed by novelty, development, and acquisition, this purpose is often subverted and...

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2018 End of Year Celebration

Thank you to Milieu and all our Network Partners for our 2018 End of Year Celebration. On behalf of Architects Without Frontiers and all those your...

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Ra-Marama Culture and Information Hub

This time last year the Great Hall at the Ra-Marama Culture and Information Hub in Savusavu, Fiji was completed. It has been an exciting year...

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Meet our team

We would like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the people who make up the AWF team. Architects Without Frontiers’ team is a collective...

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Socially Responsible Architecture

What is socially responsible architecture? How is it achieved? Is it compatible with commercial practice, and how can architects get involved? Find answers and inspiration...

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Rob Stent: Welcome to the AWF Team

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Robert Stent as a Director at Architects Without Frontiers. We would like to warmly welcome Robert to the...

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WHAT IS SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ARCHITECTURE?

On the 12th February, Architecture NSW had their first Tusculum Talk for 2019 which explored socially responsible architecture. The talks were inspiring and thought provoking,...

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AWF CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

AWF celebrates the amazing women we work alongside both locally, in remote Australia and the Asia Pacific region. We are honoured and proud to support...

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NEPAL VOLUNTEER DESIGN BUILD TRIP

Congratulations to the Aussie Action Abroad Construction Team who spent most of January working in the remote village of Sera, in the Lamjung region of...

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A peaceful New Year

On behalf of Architects Without Frontiers, our network partners, and our community partners, we wish you a safe festive season and a peaceful new year...

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Welcoming Milieu to the AWF Network

We are very excited to welcome Milieu to our AWF Partner Network. Milieu is a socially minded and multi-disciplinary property development company that focuses on creating...

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Humanitarian Architecture Week

Join us for Humanitarian Architecture Week, 6-9 August, at RMIT’s Melbourne campus. Global disaster and humanitarian experts from Maningrida to Kabul will explore how to...

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The Architecture of Humanity

The Architecture of Humanity: Free Public Lecture Hear two stories of architects transforming lives through design. Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan’s first female architect and disaster relief expert. Eric Cesal,...

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The Growing Breed of Activist Architects

ABC article ‘The growing breed of ‘activist architects’ helping people in need’ interviews Eric J Cesal, Yasmeen Lari and AWF’s Esther Charlesworth. “I think we can,...

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Talking Tract

Architects Without Frontiers’ Coordinator, Jane McIntosh and Tract Landscape Architect, Esther Ziebell present to the Tract staff at their Talking Tract event in Melbourne. “Architects Without...

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Welcoming JCB to the AWF Network

AWF are very excited to welcome Jackson Clements Burrows Architects (JCB) to our AWF Partner Network. JCB[http://jcba.com.au/] is an Australian design practice that brings a wealth...

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Lessons from Dien Ban

Thank you to Jackie Wrafter, MBE and Co-Founder of the Kianh Foundation for her inspiring presentation yesterday about the process of establishing and building the...

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First Step Project

Architects Without Frontiers and AWF Network Partners: Cox Architecture and WT Partnership, are thrilled to be working together in-kind on a new project with First...

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Design Like You Give A Damn

RMIT’s Master of Disaster, Design and Development (MoDDD) hosted a fantastic public lecture featuring three leaders in the humanitarian architecture and built environment sector. The inspiring...

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Design, Women and Housing

Design, Women and Housing for Melbourne Design Week 2019 Design, Women and Housing was a three-part symposium held for Melbourne Design Week. Experts in their field...

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DISASTER, DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

DISASTER, DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT - Forging careers in the disaster management, humanitarian and development space On Thursday, the UNSW Faculty of Built Environment hosted a public...

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NEPAL VOLUNTEER DESIGN BUILD TRIP

Ever wanted to roll up your sleeves and make a difference to those who need it the most? We have upcoming projects in the Annapurna region...

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AWF Partners

“How do you create a sustainable community, in all senses of the word: socially, commercially, economically, environmentally? Our work with AWF aligns perfectly with these concerns. We can aid disadvantaged communities by helping them realise their cultural, touristic, and economic sustainability. This partnership aligns with everything we do.”—Dieter Lim, Managing Director

Tract

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Cox Architecture has an unwavering commitment to positively affect our environment through all our interactions and endeavours.

Cox Architecture

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“At a philosophical level, I think our industry can, and really should, contribute—in fact, I think it’s undervalued in terms of the contribution it can make—to how we live, and how we interact, and to every aspect of our lives.”—Mark Loughnan, Hassell

Hassell

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“Good design is not meant to be a privilege, it’s something that should be accessible to all. A lot of the time it’s limited in who it gets to, so it should also be affordable. Thoughtfully designed environments really can change one’s feeling of humanity.” —Tristan Wong, Director

SJB

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Bonacci Group’s mantra of “Simplicity Delivers Economy” accurately describes our approach to the consideration and implementation of creative design solutions.

Bonacci

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"Our partnership with Architects Without Frontiers is a social and cultural investment. It is a core part of our ethos and aligns with our brand values as a community focused organisation." —Mike Day, Founding Director

Roberts Day

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LCI are dedicated to providing our clients with the most environmentally responsive, sustainable designs.

LCI

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"The Maningrida project sits at the heart of its community and provides a cultural keeping-place for art that represents the region’s 13 diverse community groups. The ability for our practice to be involved in projects like this provides a wealth of valuable knowledge and insight for our team into where architecture should be heading: how we can learn from our clients, communicate ideas, and provide meaningful and useful spaces designed for the people that actually use them." —Tom Jordan, Hayball Managing Director

Hayball

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"Our collective mindset at Milieu is that being socially and environmentally conscious is not only good practice for designers of built form, but an imperative characteristic for any modern professional firm. Partnering with, and fostering organisations that share this aspiration is very important to us.” —Shannon Peach, Director

Milieu

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“To us, success is not just about providing financial value to our clients. It’s the bigger picture; helping to deliver the projects that shape our communities and make a real difference to the way people live." —David Stewart, Executive Director

WT Partnership

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“We recognise that, in partnership with AWF, our industry has a critical responsibility to the future of our communities and the environment through the built work that we leave behind, both locally and abroad. Importantly, we have the opportunity to work with communities to transform lives through improved health and well-being.” –Veryan Curnow, Associate Director

JCB Architects

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“Partnering with Architects Without Frontiers is a great opportunity for us to live our mission of making the world a better place through the design of the built environment.” —Robert Goodliffe, Clarke Hopkins Clarke

Clarke Hopkins Clarke

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