Five architects were named in the 2017 Australia Day Honours list with the Council of the Order of Australia recognising their immense contribution to the Australian architecture industry.
The five Australia Day honourees include the late Alastair Swayn AO, John McInerney AM, Robert Morris-Nunn AM, Aija Thomas AM and Alan Synman.
The late Alastair Swayn AO
In a posthumous honour, the late Alastair Swayn was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) “for distinguished service to architecture in the Australian Capital Territory, through executive roles with professional architectural institutes, and to the community”.
Born in Scotland, Swayn migrated to Australia in 1973. During his stint as director of Daryl Jackson Alastair Swayn in the firm’s Canberra office from 1979, the practice won numerous Canberra Medallions, the highest honour of the Australian Institute of Architects ACT chapter. He was also a director of Daryl Jackson International and Jackson Architecture.
He was the inaugural Australian Capital Territory Government Architect from 2010 to 2016.
Made a life fellow of the Institute in 2010, Swayn was awarded the President’s Medal by ACT chapter president Rob Henry at the 2016 ACT Architecture Awards. He was also ACT chapter president from 1988 to 1990, a member of the National Capital Authority’s Design Review Panel, a founding sponsor and board member of the Gallery of Australian Design and a professorial fellow of the University of Canberra’s Faculty of Arts and Design from 2010 to 2015. Swayn died in 2016.
John McInerney AM
A non-practising architect based in NSW, John McInerney AM was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia “for significant service to town planning, and to architecture, to professional organisations, to local government, and to the community”.
McInerney is a past president of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) from 2002 to 2004 and has been a life fellow since 2006. A recipient of the PIA’s Sydney Luker Memorial Medal, 2008, and the Exemplar Award, Year of the Built Environment, 2004, he has also been a fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects since 2003.
McInerney served as chairman of the National Capital Planning and Land Council (2003-2006) and inaugural commissioner of Land and Planning, ACT Government (1997-2003); was a member of the Perisher Design Review Panel (2003-2006) and the Griffin Legacy Review Committee, National Capital Authority (2003-2006); held various planning and city architect positions including city planner and manager at the City of Sydney (1991-1996), manager city planning and development at the City of Melbourne (1985-1991), city architect/planner at the City of Heidelberg (1974-1985), senior planner at the National Capital Development Commission, Canberra (1970-1974) and senior architect/planner at the Hudson River Valley Commission in the USA (1969-1970); and was also deputy lord mayor of the City of Sydney from 2004 to 2005.
Robert Morris-Nunn AM
Reputed Tasmanian architect Robert Morris-Nunn AM was recognised as a Member of the Order of Australia “for significant service to commercial architecture in Tasmania, to tertiary education, to professional institutes, and as a role model”.
Morris-Nunn is a director of Circa Morris Nunn (formerly Morris-Nunn and Associates), a multiple award-winning practice that received the Colin Philp Award for Commercial Architecture in 2011 for Saffire Resort and for Mountain Retreat Medical Centre in 2013. The firm was also honoured at the 2011 World Architecture News Awards for their work on Saffire Resort, which was named Hotel of the Year, with a National Award for Commercial Architecture awarded in 2013 for the Mountain Retreat Medical Centre project.
A recipient of the President’s Prize at the 2010 Tasmanian Architecture Awards, Morris-Nunn has been an adjunct professor of the University of Tasmania’s School of Architecture since 2009.
Aija Thomas AM
Aija Thomas AM was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia “for significant service to architecture, particularly in the area of health facility planning and design”.
A founding director of Silver Thomas Hanley, Thomas specialises in health facility architecture and provides the lead in health facility planning for her practice. Her recent award-winning health facility projects include the Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth (2014), designed in collaboration with Hassell and Hames Sharley, and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Melbourne (2016), designed in collaboration with McBride Charles Ryan and DesignInc.
Alan Synman OAM
Alan Synman was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) “for service to the community, and to architecture”.
A founder of Synman Justin Bialek Architects (now SJB) and a director until 2005, Synman has been a fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects since 2002 and a senior councillor since 2004. He has been a member of the Institute’s Standing Complaints Committee throughout the 1990s and the National Practice Committee from 2005 to 2008. He was also an examiner of the Architects Registration Board of Victoria in the 1990s.