About

TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH DESIGN:

Our mission: is to improve the social and economic capacity of vulnerable communities through the design and construction of health and education projects in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

Our vision: Architects Without Frontiers (AWF) works in an interdisciplinary and collaborative way with local partners to deliver design solutions that address long-term community needs.

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

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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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News

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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News

Maningrida Arts and Culture Project

Architects Without Frontiers is proud to be working with the The Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation on the Maningrida Arts and Culture project. The BAC is a...

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News

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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News

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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News

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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News

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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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, Tract

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, SJB

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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