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2024 Architects Medallion Winner

Chloe Gesler of the University of Newcastle awarded the 2024 Architects Medallion.

The Architect’s Medallion is awarded annually by the NSW Architects Registration Board to a NSW graduate of an accredited Master of Architecture course who has achieved distinction both in a particular subject area at the final level and generally throughout the two years of the course. The Medallion is presented, along with a $5,000 prize.

The following candidates were nominated by their universities from the 2023 cohort of M.Arch graduates:

Chloe Gesler, The University of Newcastle

Stephanie Kennedy, The University of New South Wales

Pierre Dalais, The University of Sydney

Lily Cannon, The University of Technology Sydney

Maryann Aziz, Western Sydney University

The NSW ARB is delighted to announce that the 2024 Architect's Medallion has been awarded to Chloe Gesler of the University of Newcastle.

The Jury Citation reads:

Chloe Gesler’s project, "Underneath the Sand," is a personal and insightful architectural response to the impacts of the 2019 drought in regional NSW, reflecting her years of growing up in regional Australia, and the connection and deep interest she has developed with the people and lands of the Wiradjuri, Yitha Yitha and Kamilaroi.

Chloe's proposal stands out for its empathetic understanding of the emotional and physical trauma caused by extreme weather conditions in regional Australia. It engages with the challenges experienced by First Nations people who witness the degradation of their environment during periods of prolonged drought and find their ability to continue practices that support their cultural identity eroded; and the distress of agricultural communities who are faced with the widespread death of livestock and farmland, social isolation and uncertainty about the future.

Chloe endeavours to address some of these unique challenges by designing a place for gathering, teaching, and healing. Her careful, generous, and rigorous approach yields a meticulous and beautifully resolved building that acknowledges the constraints of the site and is mindful of environmental responsibility as it integrates the history and future of the Country with the identity of the local community.

Her approach is characterised by a sophisticated knowledge of sustainable and resilient design, that is deeply engaged with Country and the intertwined histories of Indigenous and colonial narratives. She uses concentric circles to symbolise storytelling and water management, creating a structure that is both functional and symbolic and that celebrates the spiritual and cultural significance of water for renewal, cleansing and healing. The design includes modular and adaptable home units that address the needs of ageing populations, environmental comfort, and socio-cultural connection.

The jury is impressed by Chloe’s commitment to working regionally and applying her skills to advocate for, and implement, sustainable design solutions that support the resilience of Indigenous and farming communities. Her work exemplifies how architecture can respond to climate change and the needs of diverse stakeholders through thoughtful, sustainable design.

Chloe Gesler is a promising architectural talent, who brings a unique perspective and dedication to the Dubbo region - the lands of the Wiradjuri, Yitha Yitha and Kamilaroi - that she calls home. The jury looks forward to following her future contributions to regional architecture, sustainability, and the well-being of her regional community.”

Chloe was awarded the Medallion at a special gathering at the NSW Parliament House on 11 June 2024, also attended by this year's distinguished nominees from the other NSW universities. Chloe joins a distinguished line of past winners on the night who were celebrating their Architect Registration including Marni Reti (2021), Jincheng (Kimi) Jiang (2020), Sarah Yap (2019), and Eric Ye (2018).

In awarding the Architects Medallion, the NSW ARB affirms its dedication to nurturing emerging talent and promoting architectural innovation, inclusivity, and diversity. The Medallion recognises those who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and bring distinct perspectives and design ideologies to the benefit of their communities and the built environment.

The NSW ARB extends its warmest congratulations to Chloe Gesler and wishes her well for a promising future in architecture.

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