AJC presents at WAF and INSIDE

In November 2023 AJC Architects sends a delegation to Singapore to present two of its recent education projects at the global Olympic Games of architecture and design.

In 2023, the World Architecture Festival (WAF) and World Festival of Interiors (INSIDE) return to Marina Bay Sands in Singapore from 29 November – 1 December, attracting the best in the professions from around the world. The three-day festivals include live crit judging sessions, keynote talks and tours, sidebar events and presentation dinners that bring together the people behind the projects. 

AJC is a finalist in both award programs, with two projects shortlisted in the Completed Schools category: Abbotsleigh Senior School Centre for Science & Art, and Abbotsleigh Junior School Library & Innovation Centre – which is also a finalist in the INSIDE Awards. Presenting to the jury on behalf of AJC are Michael Heenan (Director, CEO), Dua Green (Director) and Michele Edens (Senior Project Lead, Interiors). 

In the WAF Schools category, AJC is one of 14 shortlisted finalists to present, while in the INSIDE Education category, AJC is one of only three finalists presenting. 

“After years in the planning it was so rewarding to see the projects realised and how the students, as the key stakeholders, have engaged with the spaces.  To now have the projects recognised at this international forum is incredibly rewarding, and I’m so proud to represent the team at WAF,” says AJC Director, Dua Green. 

The contenders 

Abbotsleigh Senior Centre for Science & Art. Photo Ben Guthrie

Abbotsleigh Senior Centre for Science & Art treads lightly on its site, woven between mature trees and heritage houses on the campus. It’s two elliptical wings – one for science, one for art – connect at a curved glass-walled walkway that offers physically bridges the two disciplines, and gives the building a sense of transparency. Initial site constraints drove the design response, that’s resulted in a unique learning environment, set within a forest from day one.   

Abbotsleigh Junior Library & Innovation Centre is a crafted jewel at the heart of a campus for primary students, a space for story-telling and gathering. It’s connected to nature, physically and metaphorically through its design flourishes and details – that delight it’s curious young users.  

Inside, the forms and textures are drawn from picture books and nature – ripples in ponds, lily pads and stepping stones, amid a maze of semi-circular bookcases. It is both lyrical by design and deeply practical in sustainability terms, with half the existing library retained and repurposed.

Abbotsleigh Junior School Library & Innovation Centre. Photo Ben Guthrie


Like the Olympic Games, WAF and INSIDE are the biggest platforms for architects and interior designers to compete on the world stage, presenting their projects live to international juries. AJC is a four-time winner at WAF, with prior accolades of including: Sports Project of the Year, Future Masterplan of the Year, World Future Project of the Year and Future Education Project of the Year (Highly Commended). 

AJC Director, CEO Michael Heenan has been an invited juror at the World Architecture Festival since 2010, the year after AJC’s Berry Sports and Recreation Centre won a very competitive category at the world Architecture festival in Barcelona in 2009. In 2023 Michael chairs the Jury for Completed Transport Infrastructure projects. “For the future of cities, I think this is the most important category,” reflects Michael.  

“To be immersed with friends and colleagues from around the world in architecture, design and urban design, looking at the way cities work, and how we interact with our built environment is a pleasure.” 

See all the WAF finalists and festival program. 

See all the INSIDE finalists and festival program. 

Together, with our shortlisted projects competing at the highest level, you have Oxford, Cambridge, and Wahroonga coming together in one forum.

Michael Heenan, AJC Director, CEO