Shari in Malawi

July 3, 2014  |  Comments Off on Shari in Malawi  |  by Admin  |  Uncategorized
Shari recently wrote to us, updating of her trip so far, below is her note. Continue following Shari’s experiences at
I am currently in the south of Malawi in the small town of Luchenza, just outside of Blantyre. It is here I’m visiting the organisation known as FOCHTA (pronounced ‘foshta’) – ‘Friends Of Claude Ho in Thyolo (pronounced ‘cholo’) Association’. FOCHTA have almost completed building a Vocational Training Centre (VTC) for young adults to develop their skills and improve their chances of future employment. The centre was designed by Sam Crawford Architects (Sydney) and has been in the process of design & construction for approximately 5 years.
My time is being spent helping the project manager (Australian architect Brendan Worsley, working on behalf of Sam Crawford) on the finishing details of the project as the building is almost complete in construction. Brendan is an excellent mentor and I’m learning so many new architectural skills. On top of this, I am beginning to understand some of the intricacies of construction in Malawi.
Some difficulties include the sourcing of specific materials, the difference in skill level of builders compared to those in Australia, differences with necessary certifications and WH&S.
Luckily here education is extremely important and most people speak a good level of English, even those in trades that would not normally be expected to speak English (very different to Tanzania where the less educated seemed to be employed in the construction industry). This makes it much easier for external architects to communicate and perform their tasks more efficiently.
I will depart Malawi at the end of June and make my way to Cape Town in South Africa. Here I will be volunteering my time to assist a build Habitat for Humanity during the month of July.

2014 Scholarship Launch

May 28, 2014  |  Comments Off on 2014 Scholarship Launch  |  by Admin  |  Event, News

Red Sqaure The 2014 Scholarship Launch will open the submissions for The Parker Fellowship, the Colin Madigan Commendation and a new award will be introduced – the Graphisoft Award!

The Graphisoft Award is sponsored by Graphispoft Australia and awards a student with a perpetual licence to ArchiCAD STAR(T). The award valued at $5,000 provides the latest 2014 version which has the technology embedded in ArchiCAD 17 and  enables the recipient to legally start their architectural business! This award mirrors the values of The Parker Fellowship awards and conversely supports and develops students computer aided drafting skills. More information regarding the ArchiCAD STAR(T) edition can be found on the ArchiCAD website.

The Launch will occur 1pm, Thursday 29th May in Red Square at the University of Newcastle. All students currently enrolled in architecture at UoN are encouraged to come along and find out how to apply for these amazing scholarships.

We also have a range of past scholars lined up to present their experiences on the Parker Fellowship and the value of the Commendation awards. Certainly an event not to be missed! First round applications for the 2014 awards will close Tuesday 29 July 2014. To apply for these scholarships visit the University Scholarships page.

Shari in Laos

May 9, 2014  |  Comments Off on Shari in Laos  |  by Admin  |  News

I’m currently in Luang Prabang in Laos, an extremely beautiful city filled with old French architecture. My first month in Cambodia was an incredible experience- I cannot wait to return to Siem Reap in the future. The NGO I did my first placement with, Volunteer Building Project Cambodia, was so well organised and they really made some incredible changes in the villages surrounding the city. They have built 11 houses and during my 2 week stay we were repairing an existing village house. I absolutely loved the experience & I learnt so much about building techniques as well as the operation of the NGO.

For my second placement, completed last Friday, I was working in Vang Vieng in the North of Laos, with a company called ‘Fruit Friends’. I was initially supposed to be helping with construction work on a secondary school in Keo Kuang village an hour out of the city; however over the 2 week period I was only able to visit the site once. I didn’t quite have the experience with this NGO as I had expected (perhaps Cambodia set the bar a little too high) however I’ve gained some really valuable knowledge about the difficulties NGOs face in developing countries; in Laos a lack of communication is a huge problem.

In one weeks time I will be setting down in Nairobi for the next three month segment of my journey, which is a little scary but extremely exciting! I’m so lucky to be having this incredible life experience so I have to thank The Architecture Foundation again.

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Scholars Videos

May 8, 2014  |  Comments Off on Scholars Videos  |  by Admin  |  Uncategorized


The Architecture Foundation now has a profile on Vimeo, and will be used as a forum to showcase the video content produced by our talented scholars to share their amazing opportunities and experiences!

There are currently two videos uploaded. The first was produced by Graphisoft, our latest sponsor, who interviewed our 2012 scholar Matthew Kelly. The second was produced by our current scholar, Shari Blanch, while on site in Cambodia.

Stay tuned for future content!

Shari’s travels begin!

May 8, 2014  |  Comments Off on Shari’s travels begin!  |  by Admin  |  News

Shari Blanch is our 2013 Parker Fellowship travelling fellow.

Shari left for Cambodia during March on a five month adventure to research the role of  process of Non-Government Organisations in the design and construction industry in developing countries. Shari’s journey will take her through Cambodia, Laos, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa.

Shari is recording her adventures and observations at

Below is a presentation Shari created of her itinerary and the associated NGO’s she will be involved with. Shari will complete her travels with an architecture conference at Durban, South Africa.