Esther Charlesworth is the founder of Architects without Frontiers (AWF). Since 2002, AWF has undertaken over 42 health, education and social infrastructure projects across 15 countries for vulnerable communities. AWF has been described by ABC radio broadcaster Phillip Adams as ‘destined to develop into one of the greater forces of good on this battered planet’.
Esther is also a Professor in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University, where she established the Master of Disaster, Design and Development degree [MoDDD] in 2015. MoDDD alumni are now directing major design and disaster reconstruction projects across the public, private and development sectors, globally.
Charlesworth has worked in the public and private sectors of architecture and urban design in Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Boston and Beirut since graduating with a Masters in Architecture and Urban from Harvard University in 1995. In 2004 she was awarded her PhD from the University of York (UK).
She has published eight books on the theme of social justice and architecture, including: ‘Divided Cities’ (2011), ‘Humanitarian Architecture’ (2014) ‘Sustainable Housing Reconstruction’ (2015) and ‘Design for Fragility’ (2022). In 2020, she was awarded to be a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her “significant service to architecture, to education and to the community of the Asia-Pacific region”.