Alastair Swayn AO

Alastair Swayn AO was one of Canberra’s leading architects and a lover of all things associated with Australian design.

Alastair’s position as a founding director of the highly acclaimed architectural practice, Daryl Jackson Alastair Swayn (DJAS) together with his contribution to public life through his positions of President, Senior Councillor and Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects, Professorial Fellow at the University of Canberra, and most significantly the position of inaugural ACT Government Architect, made him a very prominent member of the profession.

Alastair’s architecture reflected light, colour and humanity. He was educated to believe that people were born equal and had a right to be heard equally. He was proud that this emanated through all his commercial and public service buildings; where workers and visitors are treated equitably and are not subject to a defined hierarchy within those buildings. He believed that architecture and design was a genuine way of approaching humanity, to believe that everybody can contribute and be treated equally.

Before Alastair’s death in 2016, he generously bequeathed his estate to a foundation in his name, the Alastair Swayn Foundation to advance Australian architecture and design culture.

CSIRO Discovery Centre
Brindabella Business Park
The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) University of Canberra
Selected works by Alastair Swayn

Board of Directors

The Foundation was formed with the principal objective of perpetuating and honouring Alastair Swayn’s memory by the awarding of grants to individuals, groups and organisations that progress Australian architecture and design.

The aim of the Foundation is to provide an opportunity for those in Australian architecture and design related industries to conduct research in their chosen field. It also aims to reward proven achievement of talented and deserving Australians with further opportunity in their pursuit of excellence for the enrichment of knowledge in architecture and all design disciplines in Australia.

The Alastair Swayn Foundation is a not for profit organisation governed by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors are responsible for the financial administration of estate funds and conferring of grants.

You can access our Governing documents here.

Brian Candler

Brian comes to the Foundation as a long-standing personal friend of Alastair and as co-executor of his estate.

He matriculated at University High School in Melbourne and studied Politics and Law at Monash University, where he was active in student politics. After serving his articles with Phillips, Fox and Masel, he completed his Masters at Southampton University in the United Kingdom.

Returning to Australia, he joined the Australian Public Service. He joined the Attorney-General’s Department, where he predominantly worked in Freedom of Information and Human Rights.

In 1986, he was promoted to the Senior Executive Service, to manage the Health Department’s legal area. Over time, he moved from the legal area into program management, focusing on health care financing.

Whilst in the APS, Brian was a member of the RAAF Specialist Legal Reserve and an active aviator. He has been a member of the Canberra Aero Club, where he learnt to fly, since 1976.

In 1980s, he was the founding Secretary and second President of the Australian Warbirds Association Ltd. He has also been a director of several aviation businesses ranging from aircraft importation, sales and leasing to hangar development and construction.

On leaving the APS in 1996, he purchased and managed McGee Aerial Services at Canberra Airport, a flying school and charter operator. Brindabella Airlines took over McGees in 2000 and Brian became Brindabella’s Chief Flying Instructor.  He was delegated an independent CASA Approved Testing Officer. In 2004, Brian resigned from Brindabella to be appointed CEO of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia.

Brian retired from the RAAA in 2006 to undertake casual flying instruction and flight testing. Now, semi-retired, he continues these activities.

Alisa Moss

Alisa Moss is a Director of Daryl Jackson Alastair Swayn (DJAS) a design firm co-founded by Alastair Swayn in 1987.

Alisa is responsible for the design and the construction of interior architecture, and in particular the design of sustainable and agile workplaces. Alisa has received awards for her contribution from the Australian Institute of Architects, the Master Builders Association and National Association of Women in Construction.

As a strong advocate for improving the design, quality and sustainability of indoor workplaces, Alisa was awarded the 2007 AV Jennings Churchill Fellowship. The Fellowship enabled her to research and continue her professional development in the design aspects related to indoor environment quality and healthy build­ings.

A notable practical application of these studies was her design for the interior workplace for the Australian Research Council. This design was recognised as one of the first fitouts in Australia to be accredited by the Green Building Council of Australia.

In 2009, Alisa was awarded a second international fellowship through the International Specialised Skills Institute in best workplace practices, which also enabled her to visit a number of design studios and research institutes in United States of America.

In 2014, Alisa was awarded the ‘Outstanding in Design Award’ by the National Association of Women in Construction.

Alisa’s practice is committed to encouraging the participation of women in the construction industry. She is an advocate for establishing flexible community friendly working arrangements within the industry and she supports a number of organisations in facilitating the development of positive, diverse and supportive work environments.

Alisa was also actively involved with Alastair Swayn’s ‘Final Project’ with the production of the Alastair Swayn Book, Light Colour Humanity and Alastair’s final interview and video production.

Professor Michael Jasper

Michael Jasper is an architect, educator, and scholar based in Australia.

He is currently Professor of Architecture at the University of Canberra where he directs the Master of Architecture course and teaches in the major projects studio and advanced architectural analysis streams.

Immediately prior to joining the University, Dr Jasper was a Partner in Cooper Robertson & Partners (2002-2011), a prominent New York architecture and urban design firm. While at Cooper Robertson he held executive leadership roles in corporate management and marketing. In addition, Jasper directed many of the firm’s major institutional and urban scale projects, his clients including Yale University, Johns Hopkins, California Institute of Technology, City of Baltimore Development Corporation, City of Miami, Georgetown University, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and the University of Miami.

Dr Jasper is broadly engaged with higher education and the architecture profession locally, nationally, and internationally. He serves on standing and ad hoc committees for the University of Canberra and across the Faculty of Arts and Design. He is an associate member of the Faculty’s Centre for Creative and Cultural Research. He is Deputy Chair of the Australian Institute of Architect’s National Education Committee, the peak national advisory body on architecture education policies and professional accreditation procedures. Dr Jasper’s teaching practice is delivered in advanced architecture studios, major project urban-scale studios, and postgraduate seminars.

Jasper’s teaching develops translational knowledge across three domains: form generation, architectural history-theory, and complex architectural and urban-scale project design. He was Visiting Scholar (2015) at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation and Visiting Scholar (2013) at the American Academy in Rome. He is the author of Architectural Aesthetic Speculations and Deleuze on Art.

Neil Hobbs, PhD, FAILA, BL.Arch

Neil is a landscape architect, principal (with Karina Harris) of a Canberra based practice that has operated since 1985.

Neil is a Fellow and a past National President of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, (AILA), 2007-2009, and 2013. He was a board member of AILA from 2003 – 2013. He was a founding member of the Gallery of Australian Design Governing Council, from 2008, and was a member of the Gallery of Australian Design board (now the Swayn Gallery of Australian Design) from 2013-2015. He became a board member of the Alastair Swayn Foundation in 2019.

Neil’s practice has been selected for several international garden festivals, with expositions in Langenlois, Austria in 2006, Emo Court, Ireland in 2007, and Jinzhou, China in 2013. His practice has won numerous AILA awards, for Tourism, Cultural Heritage, Planning, Design and Research and Communication.  These projects include Canberra Centenary Trail, the Events Precinct at the National Arboretum Canberra, Neville Bonner Primary School and various private gardens and small interventions in the public realm. In May 2013, he was guest editor of Landscape Architecture Australia, which focused on the Canberra Centenary.

Neil is passionate about public art, the public realm, and public space activation. In 2020 Neil was awarded PhD through the University of Canberra, researching public art and public space. As part of his PhD research he instigated and curated the first two editions of Contour 556, a three-week public art event held in Canberra on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in 2016 and 2018. The event will return in 2020. In addition to his landscape architectural practice he was a board member of Australian National Capital Arts inc. (ANCA) from 2014-2019 and was a board member of Capital Arts patrons Organisation (CAPO) from 2012-2019.

Graham Humphries, BArch (Hons), LFRAIA MRAIC OAQ HonAIA HonFNZIA.

After graduating with honours in Architecture from the University of New South Wales, Graham has practiced as a professional architect for over 45 years on projects in Australia, Canada, the Middle East, Spain, and China.

Several of his projects have been awarded the prestigious Canberra Medallion by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. Graham was a national director of Cox Architecture for 16 years and is now a Fellow of the firm. His practice extends across a broad scope of projects including theatres, performing arts centres, galleries, embassies, teaching facilities, court buildings, aquatic centres, sports facilities and office buildings. He has served on many advisory boards and is a past national president of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. Graham was a member of the ACT Chief Minister’s Public Art Advisory Committee, is a past member of the ACT Cultural Council, and has been Chair of the Board of Craft ACT since 2013.

He has collaborated with local artists on design projects, including with Neil Roberts and Robert Foster. Many of Graham’s projects focus on the integration of art and architecture and he has a special interest in promoting the value and importance of art and design in all its forms in our community. Graham was an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Art and Design at the University of Canberra and continues to participate in design reviews and critiques within the school of architecture. In his role as Chair of Craft ACT, Graham oversaw the creation of the Design Canberra Festival, which has multiple objectives including an outreach program for artists and designers as well as the longer-term objective of supporting Canberra becoming a UNESCO City of Design. Graham has been made an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects and an Honorary Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects.

Annabelle Pegrum AM LFRAIA GAICD BScArch Syd, BArch (Hons 1st) Syd

Annabelle Pegrum is an Adjunct Professor in architecture at the University of Canberra and a member of the University Council. She has also served as a Professorial Fellow and as the University Architect.

She is a member of the Western Australia State Design Review Panel, the National Capital Design Review Panel, the Standing Panel of the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia and is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects.

Annabelle was instrumental in developing Canberra through her roles within the ACT Government and the Commonwealth, most notably as Chief Executive of the National Capital Authority (1998-2008). She resided over a period of transformation of the nation’s capital, heralding in new opportunities and expansions and positioning the city as a progressive hub for business and cultural development. From 2012 to 2018 she was a Commissioner with the NSW Independent Planning Commission responsible for the determination of state significant developments.

A former President of the ACT Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, she received the 2005 ACT Presidents Award, served as a member of the Institute’s Venice Architecture Biennale Committee, has been professional adviser to national design competitions and a member of design juries including for the Institute’s Gold Medal and national awards. She was the 1998 Telstra ACT Business Woman of the Year, a recipient of the 2001 Centenary Medal and in 2007 she was appointed a Member in the Order of Australia for her contribution to Australia’s National Capital and to architecture, particularly as a mentor to women.

Annabelle was a friend and colleague of Alastair’s. Together with Neil Hobbs, they were essential to the establishment of the Gallery of Australian Design, now called the Swayn Gallery of Australian Design in honour of Alastair. Annabelle served as Director with the Alastair Swayn Foundation Board from 2016 until 2019, before re-joining in 2020. She was integral to establishing the partnership with the National Museum of Australia, which culminated in the development of the Swayn Centre through the Swayn Senior Fellowship of Australian Design.

Foundation Staff

Ashley Blondel

Chief Executive Officer

Ashley was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Alastair Swayn Foundation and The Swayn Gallery of Australian Design in June 2022.

Ashley has had several careers in law, business and government, as well as leading not-for-profit organisations ranging from employment and training services to disability snow sports.

His past experience as a Practising Barrister and a Chief Executive Officer brings a strong focus to business operations and management, governance, compliance and strategic planning. He has a long standing interest in the arts and design communities and professions.

Susannah Britt

Grants and Engagement Manager

Susannah Britt is the Grants and Engagement Manager of the Alastair Swayn Foundation. She holds a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Arts (Development Studies) from the Australian National University.

Linda Daniels

Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary

Linda was appointed Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary for Alastair Swayn Pty Ltd in September 2020.

Prior to that Linda had been the company bookkeeper for a number of years. Linda has a Bachelor of Business in Accounting/ Legal Studies and is a member of the Institute of Public Accountants. Although a qualified Accountant, since 2004 Linda has worked as a contract bookkeeper, a role she finds most rewarding. Linda first met Alastair in 2008 when she was contracted as bookkeeper for DJAS and has maintained a close working relationship with The Swayn since it’s inception.

Ashley Blondel

Former Directors

The Alastair Swayn Foundation would like to acknowledge the dedicated service of our former Directors. These individuals were personally selected to join the Board by Alastair Swayn for their professional expertise and their shared passion and commitment to Alastair’s vision. Their efforts helped to shape and position the Foundation to support the architecture and design community through funding research, education and exhibition.

Timothy Ryan

Timothy Ryan served as Chairperson and Director of the Alastair Swayn Foundation from 2016 until 2020. He also served the Foundation as Company Secretary and CFO and was an integral force in establishing the Foundation and developing its core objectives. A Chartered Accountant, Timothy has specialised in the field of architecture and has been an advisor to many national architectural firms for over twenty years. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Melbourne. He is a registered company auditor and is also a former member of the Council of the University of Melbourne. A close friend of Alastair’s, Timothy has significantly contributed to the realisation of the Foundation’s aim to further education, research and knowledge sharing within the Australian architecture and design community.

Robin Dyke

Robin Dyke served as Director from 2016 until 2020. Robin is a Director of DJRD Pty Ltd. His early work experiences with Ancher, Mortlock, Murray and Woolley and Harry Seidler provided a sound basis and appreciation of the commitment required and the complexities of Architecture which were put into practice when he joined Daryl Jackson in 1982 and became a partner in 1985 of Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke. His thirty-year relationship with Alastair Swayn evolved through DJRDs parallel experiences with DJAS and resulted in consultation, exchange, occasional joint project experience and friendship. As a Director with the Foundation, Robin’s contribution was great. He was a key figure in establishing the partnership with the National Museum, culminating in the development of the Swayn Centre for Australian Design through the Fellowship initiative. He continues to be an active supporter of the Foundation in realising Alastair’s ambitions for the future of Australian architecture and design.

Photos of Board of Directors and Foundation Staff by Alexandra Orme Photography
The Alastair Swayn Foundation respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Custodians on the land of which we work, the Ngunnawal people of the ACT. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay respect to Elders past, present, and emerging.

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