Australian sustainable designer HY William Chan has been dubbed “a game-changing business and industry leader” in sustainable architecture, earning him a spot in Forbes' ’30 Under 30’ list.

Chan, who designs for Cox Architecture, is the only honouree practicing in architecture to be on the annual global list for 2019.

He was recognised as a “visionary entrepreneur” in the Industry, Manufacturing and Energy category for challenging the way cities of the future are designed and for championing the sustainable architecture industry at the highest level on the world stage.

Chan’s latest venture transforms plastic waste from refugee camps into useful 3D-printed elements that improve the built environment for refugee communities – the first of its kind in the world.

Chan believes a ‘startup’ attitude is essential for the architectural profession to innovate.

“The architecture, engineering and construction industry is one of the least disrupted sectors globally,” he says.

“Architects have a uniquely creative skillset, but we need to be more agile and entrepreneurial in how we design solutions that address the economic and social challenges of our cities so that we remain relevant as an industry.”

Last year, Chan was invited to New York where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly. At the High Level Meeting on Social Business, Youth and Technology, he advocated for the practical influence that young architects have towards sustainable urban development, showcasing his personal sustainability projects to global leaders including Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus. He has since headlined TEDxSydney 2019 with a sell-out TED talk:

Executive chairman of Cox Architecture, Patrick Ness, says the firm is proud of Chan’s inclusion in the Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ list.

“As a design practice that is driven by ideas and the innovations that support them, William’s recognition by Forbes acknowledges the important role our up-and-coming leaders play as visionaries and disrupters in the field of design.”