Back to UON Master of Architecture

UON in the NSW Architecture Awards 2017

Share this article

University of Newcastle’s Master of Architecture graduates are making their mark in the world and this year’s NSW Architecture Awards show it. 66 awards and commendations were divided amongst the categories; commercial, educational, heritage, public, interior and sustainable, eight of which were from Newcastle. And in particular, over a third of the Housing – New and Alterations/additions categories have had a Newcastle graduate working on the projects in a primary position.

This is in addition to the Royal Australian Institute of Architects NSW Students and Graduates Awards announced earlier this year where two UON students won the two highest awards with their final Masters year projects.

This is a wonderful reflection of the positive impact and power these graduates’ ideas have, quietly changing the world around them. Their determination in the careers and what they make for themselves, establishing architectural praxis and methodology. A constant reformation and development of what is great architecture.

Here we look at these Award winners and share what they have to say about their development in practicing Architecture.

Chris Mullaney | Graduated 2013

Following his studies an UON, Chris Mullaney joined Andrew Burges Architecture. This was a union of mutual admiration and respect for the ideas and projects both sides put into practice. Chris admired the work from the ABA firm whilst Andrew enjoyed a small project of Chris' - a chicken coop!

"I was focused on working for a small design-driven firm that would provide an opportunity to observe and participate in many facets of architectural practice. I felt that the scale of residential work would allow me to follow an entire project from start to finish, something I was not able to do in my previous stint at a larger practice."

Chris worked on two projects in the awards, the Brick House and the East Sydney Learning Centre, receiving a total of three awards. The first project he worked on at the firm was the East Sydney Learning Centre, in a team of eight people. In the meantime he became project architect for the Brick House, working on it from DA to documentation with Andrew Burges.

"Fortunately, the diverse work of our small practice has not precluded me from working on a range of larger public projects as there are different types of experience and reward on offer. On the house I really enjoyed working closely with the builder to improve my knowledge of construction and achieve a finely crafted result, however, the childcare was a great opportunity to make positive contribution to the public realm of inner Sydney that can be enjoyed by many members of the community."

Gemma Savio + Anthony Parsons | Graduated 2013

Savio Parsons Architecture is a partnership of two UON graduates. Taking the initiative to start a practice of their own to pursue their own objectives. Gemma shares her thoughts;

"I was personally motivated to create a career in architecture where my PhD research (in the final stages with the University of Newcastle) could be activated through praxis. Having autonomy in the design and delivery process has allowed me to establish a critical position on the production of architecture from both a theoretical and practical perspective."

As the firm is quite new, being established in 2016, their achievements are off to a great start, with the North Avoca house as one of the first projects through the firm. They have stuck by their initiatives and put their beliefs into the design.

"This project engages with a sector of Australian housing stock that architects generally avoid working with. It has been an interesting medium for studying function and aesthetic norms in residential buildings and how architecture can respond critically to its context."

Anthony Parsons has also worked on another of these awards but under a different title, working for David Boyle on the Riverview house.

Luke Pilligacampo | Graduated 2012

Luke was inspired from his upbringing, his father as a steel fabricator, developed an appreciation for process and refinement, an essential part of design. So it's no surprise that Peter Stutchbury and Luke are well suited to their architectural endeavours. Luke has worked in a number of firm such as dwp Suters Architects and SJB Architects. But now is currently the longest working member of the PSA team.

"It was a conservation with Peter at an institute talk, he mentioned he may need someone to work on a schematic design for bathhouse project for a month, and that was four an half years ago."

Luke was the project architect of the Foredune House from schematic design to completion, and then documentation with John Bohane (a former senior architect of PSA). Followed by supervising the construction of the project between October 2014 to December 2016.

"With the quite long construction period, keeping the clients belief in the holistic approach to the site and the architecture was challenging. The clients modest budget formed the constraints which developed the methodology forming the architecture through framing & composition of conventional construction techniques. The very patience building team and client, made any issues easily overcome through collective resolution."

Matthew Travis | Graduated 2006

"I started with Schreiber Hamilton Architecture back in 2003 when I was studying 3rd year. Over the years we worked on a huge range of projects both in Australia and in the Middle East, up until 2010 when I started my own studio practice over 4 years. In 2014 I rejoined the team as Schreiber Hamilton Architecture became SHAC, and now am lucky enough to be part owner, and creative director in tandem with the fantastically talented people that collaborate at SHAC."

Matt Travis has based himself in Newcastle and has slowly built a great position and company. His latest accomplishment was building his own house, the MA House, taking on the roles of client, designer and partial builder.

"Being both architect and owner for my family house was both exciting and daunting, to make it happen, be able to afford it, and enjoy the process along the way. It really made me appreciate the enormous trust and faith our clients allow us in creating architecture on their behalf."

"Newcastle is just starting to realise its potential as a creative vibrant city, and as architects we are really fortunate to help our clients in shaping those changes."

David Boyle | Graduated 1993

A couple years after establishing his practice in 2002, David Boyle describes the opening of his office as 'liberating'. Based in the picturesque and peaceful Pretty Beach on the Central Coast, he designs for Sydney and the surrounding regions.

"To be connected to the landscape on a day to day basis is a constant inspiration to our Sydney and Coastal projects."

Despite his practice being kept small, he has received a substantial amount of publications and awards. His strategy is maintaining the role of project architect from the beginning of the design, throughout contract administration, construction and the hand over to the client.

"I was interested in domestic housing as it offers an opportunity to weave an architectural narrative into the opportunities of the site and the requirements of the client."

His firm's character has been built upon his attention to detail and ability to personalize the home for any individual. The Riverview House, located in Tambourine Bay, Sydney, is just one example of David's residential projects. It displays a focus of on craftsmanship and the progression through to the outdoors.

"This project in a way is a reaction to proliferation of over-scaled real estate developments affecting Australian suburbs. In an organic way, the architecture takes its cues from the adjoining landscape reserve at the back of the site. The house sits poetically within a garden setting affording a positive connection with the street and a series of layered spaces folding down the site. The project continues our interest in collaboration with skilled builders and tradespeople to create highly crafted individual buildings, with simple natural materials used in creative and joyous ways."

David Welsh + Christine Major | Graduated 1993

Christine Major and David Welsh are another UON partnership and have been practicing together for many years, establishing their practice, Welsh + Major, in 2004. David shares;

"We'd seen and learnt a lot travelling and working for a range of inspiring architects in London, Sydney and in Newcastle, and we wanted to bring those experiences together to inform the way we practised architecture."

"We like applying observations from unexpected sources to create inspired design solutions; The idea of creating solutions that embrace chance and change; ideas that aren't complete - that have an opportunity to grow with experience and with the input of the user fascinates us. At the same time we see so many inspiring people, buildings, practices and approaches in the many great things happening both here and overseas. They motivate us to stay agile and work across as many different typologies and scales as we can!"

Welsh + Major's approach is looking for solutions that best suits the house. Whilst working on the Annandale House, an extension to an existing inner city home on a narrow block, many issues can occur. Despite this David says;

"It's an age old adage but it's true - great Clients make for great projects. We made sure we listened to our Clients. We observed everything possible. We backed ourselves and did our best not to over complicate things. We were rewarded with Clients who in turn backed us, and together we were able to achieve a great result."

2017 NSW Architecture Awards Winners


  • East Sydney Early Learning Centre by Andrew Burges Architects in association with City of Sydney
    • Chris Mullaney (The University of Newcastle, 2013)


  • East Sydney Early Learning Centre by Andrew Burges Architects in association with City of Sydney
    • Chris Mullaney (The University of Newcastle, 2013)



  • Annandale House by Welsh + Major Architects
    • David Welsh (The University of Newcastle, 1993)
    • Chris Major (The University of Newcastle, 1993)


  • North Avoca by Savio Parsons
    • Gemma Savio (The University of Newcastle, 2013) – Design Director
    • Anthony Parsons (The University of Newcastle, 2013) – Director


  • Brick House by Andrew Burges Architects
    • Chris Mullaney (The University of Newcastle, 2013) - Project Architect
  • Foredune House by Peter Stutchbury Architecture
    • Luke Piligacampo (The University of Newcastle, 2012) - Project Architect
  • Riverview House by David Boyle Architect
    • David Boyle (The University of Newcastle, 1993)
    • Anthony Parsons (The University of Newcastle, 2013)


  • MA House by SHAC
    • Matthew Travis (University of Newcastle, 2006)

2017 NSW Graduate and Student Architecture Awards winners


  • James Ellis (The University of Newcastle, 2017)


  • Brendan Boyle (The University of Newcastle, 2017)


  • James Ellis (The University of Newcastle, 2017)

For more information follow the links below:

Nothing to see just yet, check back later whilst we create some content.