2021 Round One Grant Winners Announced

5 July 2021

The Alastair Swayn Foundation is proud to announce the winners of our first round of grants for 2021! We are delighted to share with you the winning projects below:

Strategic Grants

‘Post-Cyclone Rebuild Lewa’s Family Home (Veivakatorocaketaki na Vale ni Matavuvale nei Lewa)’ – Loata Ho and Emma Healy of Women Build
Their project seeks to explore and revitalise traditional Fijian ways of collaboration and engagement for the post-cyclone design and rebuild of a single-family home in Nabavatu village, Fiji which was devastated by cyclone Yasa in December 2020.

COVID-19 has altered the way humanitarian shelter response is undertaken by international aid agencies and focus is shifting towards building capacity within grassroots communities to rebuild their own environments. Women Build are interested in how this shift can instigate a movement of community empowerment. Through remotely engaging with individuals in a collaborative design process, they aim to provide frameworks and methodologies for ongoing reconstruction in communities most vulnerable to extreme climate events.


‘ADAPT: Empowering Adaptive Reuse in Historic Precincts’ – Professor Hannah Lewi, Associate Professor Robert Crawford and Associate Professor Cameron Logan
Informed conservation and adaptive reuse of built fabric, in contrast to total demolition and new build, can bring significant benefits in sustainable construction development and the support of low-emission targets, yet in-depth design-related knowledge is lacking.

This project will showcase design and practice-based approaches to the sustainable, adaptive reuse of historic places in Australia. Building on previous research, Lewi, Crawford and Logan will engage with leading architects and heritage practitioners to produce illustrated case studies of leading-edge approaches to adaptive reuse in heritage and historically significant sites over the last decade.

With globalisation under intense political, economic and social critique, the smart adaptive renewal and creation of unique local places for living and working is of ever-heightened importance and can directly benefit urban renewal projects being planned for major cities and towns.


‘Designing Better, Not Bigger’ – Jeremy Mather, Vlasta Jeftic and Patrick Stein of Mather Architecture
This project investigates the potential scalable compact housing systems have in addressing the affordable housing crisis.

As the property market grows, the challenges of property ownership have been further exacerbated by economic, health and climate emergencies. The project will research and develop opportunities for alternative dwelling typologies within the local parameters and in response to changing models within which we live and work. The objective is to generate contextual housing options for entry level buyers and marginalised demographics, with the scalable modular aspect allowing the residents to customise their homes as their requirements and life circumstances change.


‘The Future of Living’ – Guillermo Fernández-Abascal, Charles Choi, Zoe Horn, Jack Cooper, Miguel Gilarte and Charles Curtin

This dynamic team of young and emerging Architectural researchers and practitioners are the brilliant team behind ‘The Future of Living’!

Their research focuses on Gen Z and Millennials future living values: alternative models of home ownership; environmentally-conscious housing; home and nature synthesis; neo-traditionalism (‘authentic’) construction methods; and an intrinsic generational aesthetics.

This project calls attention to coming realities that will drive opportunities and constraints for a coming generation of practitioners in the built environment. Architects and designers will need to face a changing set of market and urban conditions that centre on the expectations and material concerns of emerging generations.

This project aims to direct these matters head on, and provide proposals, artefacts, new research connections and other points of industry-research connection that can drive a shift in orientation for new housing models across the industry that have relevance for urban planning and policy conversations as Australia grapples with demographic shift within the context of the housing crisis.


Alastair Swayn Research Grants

Mycelium Futures | Exploring Biofabrication in Architecture – Joanne McCallum, The Fabricated Frame
This brilliant project focuses on the research and development of a series of mycelium composite panels, incorporating agricultural waste. The research seeks to raise awareness regarding climate change and ecological breakdown, as it relates to the built environment.

Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus consisting of thread-like hyphae or roots and is ideally suited to devouring waste and delivering product outcomes. Mycelium composites are an emerging construction material, and this research project will see the development of sample plates, and prototype panels that will explore a range of agricultural waste options alongside physical and mechanical testing to determine strength, tear, and thermodynamic properties.

The research and development phase for this project will take place at the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Hub, a Brisbane based independent, not-for-profit organization and agile technology application centre for robotics and design led manufacturing, accelerating industry’s uptake of advanced manufacturing. The ARM Hub draws together skilled teams of scientists, technical specialists, designers, and engineers, to develop commercial, advanced manufacturing solutions.

The whole project will be documented and you can follow along on Instagram by following @thefabricatedframe and #Myceliumfutures.


‘Architecture of Queer Ecology’ – Luca Lana, Q-Studio

‘Queer Geology’ at MADA Gallery is a Q-Studio project by architects Luca Lana and Virginia Mannering that connects the meshes of their research, the seemingly disparate fields of queer theory and geology. ‘Queer Geology’ is a curated exhibition and symposium that seeks interdisciplinary linkages of researchers working in art, design and architecture.

‘Blueprint for Small Footprint Design Approval’ – Jo Dickson

The tiny house movement has influenced Australians profoundly. The increasing number of people considering downsizing for financial, environmental and social reasons highlights a growing call for local councils to facilitate this type of housing. While councils are increasingly getting on board, there is need for a uniform approach to enable constituents to get information, and to feel confident their needs will be understood and met by councils.

Dickson’s research is an exploration of how enabling infill and auxiliary housing can help increase urban density, provide affordable housing for elderly, youth, disabled and single people, add value to properties and provide extra income. The project aims to facilitate smoother council and constituent communication and application processes.


Congratulations to all the grantees, we look forward to supporting their incredible research in the coming months and sharing their findings via Swayn Open Research.

We sincerely thank everyone who applied to our grants program this round. If you are interested in applying for a Foundation grant, please send your enquiries to office@alastairswaynfoundation.org.


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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