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

We work 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.


Architects Without Frontiers has helped to transform the lives of over 2000 people in 5 main ways. We have:


Architects Without Frontiers Australia was founded in 1998 by Esther Charlesworth, Beau Beza, and Garry Ormston. Charlesworth had visited Mostar in 1996 as part of an Aga Khan Trust project to rebuild the city. There, she met an Australian engineer working for RedR (Engineers for Relief) in the relief effort and began to question the role of architects in responding to humanitarian crises. Architects Without Frontiers answers this with the belief that architecture can be a powerful tool to help address the urgent global challenges of our time including social marginalisation, chronic poverty, and natural disasters.


Architects Without Frontiers provides five types of services:

  1. Design Brokerage: We build a highly skilled team for each project from the AWF Partner Network and broader industry connections.

  2. Brief Development: We work with clients and communities to assess project needs to develop an initial design brief. We then provide recommendations for transforming the brief into reality.

  3. Design and Project Coordination: We coordinate teams of AWF Network Partners and community stakeholders to develop and deliver on an agreed scope of work that addresses the brief. We specialise in design feasibility, understanding community and legislative contexts, and developing design concepts with realistic cost estimates.

  4. Design-Build: Volunteers can work hands-on with local communities in India and Nepal to deliver built projects through our partner organisations The Anganwadi Project and Aussie Action Abroad.

  5. Advocacy and Education: We give and host talks, workshops, and events in a range of public and institutional settings, as well as supporting industry partner events. We are also a founding member of Architecture Sans Frontières International.


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