Gallery House, Philip Leeson Architects
photo Ben Wrigley

What's on 

in the ACT

2016 ACT Architecture Awards
Saturday 25th June
Tickets on Sale soon...


2017 ACT Architecture Awards Jury Members

 Co Chairs     Philip Leeson and Janet Thomson 
 Interstate Juror     Annabel Lahz
 Lay Juror     Joseph Falsone
 Juror     Shannon Battisson
 Juror     Zillah Gisz
 Awards Director     Past ACT Chapter President, Andrew Wilson 

Philip Leeson FRAIA

Philip Leeson is a Canberra based architect and director of Philip Leeson Architects.

Philip grew up in the Riverina and worked in a small country practice in Griffith, arriving in Canberra in 1981 to study architecture at the Canberra CAE under Roger Johnson as head of school. As a mature aged student, full time study was daunting yet exciting.

On graduating, having received the John Redmond Prize and Student Medal, he began his professional career with Peter Freeman and Partners. After 9 years, he opened his own his practice in 1996 with a staff of two.

The practice now has a team of ten involved in cultural, heritage and residential works. Project types include adaptive re-use, heritage and conservation projects, private residential projects, social housing, community use projects and work on several diplomatic missions.

In recent years, Philip has had the good fortune of several trips to north America and Europe with the opportunity to see first hand new and old architecture that had till then remained somewhat abstract. New architecture that he found particularly inspiring included Louis Kahn’s original Kimbell Museum with Renzo Piano’s addition and immediately next door, the Fort Worth Art Museum by Tadao Ando.

Janet Thomson FRAIA

Janet Thomson Architects, an independent practice focused on collaborative design outcomes.

She studied Interior Design and Architectural Drafting at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and graduated in Architecture (honours) from the University of Canberra. She was awarded the ACT Chapter Student Medallion.

Janet joined Mitchell Giurgola and Thorp to work on the New Parliament House. She also worked with several prominent architectural practices including Stephenson and Turner, Jackson Teece Chesterman and Willis, and Colin Stewart Architects on a wide range of projects from master planning studies to residential scale projects.

She is an active member of the local chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects having served as Chapter Councillor and member on the Education Committee. In her role as the ACT representative of Built Environment Education (BEE), she developed and continues to facilitate design workshops for children in the school holidays. She has a firm belief that awareness of the built environment needs to be nurtured at an early age. She organised 2 successful design competitions in 2015 for high school students.

In 2012, she participated in the Design Parramatta Ideas consultancy, where multi-disciplinary teams were selected to provide concepts and ideas on a range of sites including public spaces, streets and laneways. In 2013, she was part of a team submission selected as a finalist for exhibition for the Prime Minister’s Lodge Competition.

Janet has convened courses and regularly tutors in design (Architecture and Interior Architecture) at the University of Canberra.

Annabel Lahz RAIA

Annabel Lahz is a highly respected architect with an impressive body of work including education, public and urban architecture, such as the Wallace Wurth Building for the Faculty of Medicine ($120m), and the Lowy Cancer Research Centre ($100m), both at the University of New South Wales.

Annabel is known for her ideas based approach to architecture and developing strong design concepts. She considers architecture to be a balance between the pragmatic and the conceptual and is skilled at being able to maintain the integrity of the design, whilst balancing her clients needs, budget and time constraints.

She is particularly interested in the intersection of landscape, urban design and architecture, and the integration of the inside and the outside to create public and community spaces. Annabel believes architecture is a tactile as well as visual medium. It should respond not only to its site context but also to its cultural and social contexts creating environments and experiences, which enhance the daily lives of their users.

Annabel graduated from the University of Queensland with Honours and received the Queensland Institute of Architects Medallion, the Board of Architects Prize and the University Medal. Before establishing Lahz Nimmo Architects in 1996, she worked at Lindsay Clare Architects and Lawrence Nield and Partners Australia. She is recognised by her peers for her significant contribution to the architecture profession including regular invitations to speak at conferences, as well as participating on a variety of award and review panels.    


Joseph Falsone

Joseph Falsone is the Director of Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres, where he is leading the renewal of two heritage-listed arts facilities in Braddon, Canberra. Joseph previously worked as Executive Director at M16 Artspace, where he oversaw the redevelopment of the Blaxland Centre, Griffith, as well as a significant exhibition program. His arts sector experience includes working for the ACT Community Arts office, at artsACT, and as a curatorial intern at the NGA. Joseph has served on the boards of local and national arts organisations, and in 2015 he was appointed to the Arts Minister’s advisory group to review the ACT Arts Policy. In 2016, Joseph delivered the Sylvia Curley Oration on heritage and the arts for ACT Historic Places. Joseph is also an experienced social researcher, having worked as a senior research manager for the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth and TNS Social Research, where he consulted on projects for public and private sector clients. Joseph is a current Board member and past Chair of Canberra community housing provider, ECHO. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with first class honours from the University of Sydney, where he studied art history and literature, specialising in twentieth-century Italian poetry.

Shannon Battisson RAIA

Shannon is an architect with more than 10 years of experience in the industry.  Graduating from the University of New South Wales in 2006, Shannon returned to Canberra to commence work with a small design and construct company, with a strong environmental focus.  These early years of work taught her a great respect for the environment, an area of interest and passion she has continued through her career.  Working for several larger firms in Canberra, and enjoying 18 months living and working abroad, Shannon returned to Canberra and established a partnership with fellow design professional, Sarah Leeson.  Together they have worked to establish The Mill: Architecture + Design as a strong force in the Canberra architecture and interior design market.  At The Mill, Shannon has designed and delivered projects across Canberra, Australia, Hong Kong and the USA.

In recent years, Shannon has worked on a wide range of projects including educational facilities (ANU, Burgmann Anglican School, School of Signals(ADF)), commercial office fitout (Civil Aviation and Safety Authority, Ray White, ADF Remuneration Tribunal), retail/hospitality fitouts (Canberra Centre, Gungahlin Town Centre), and several award winning, high performance solar housing projects.

Shannon enjoys a particular interest is in environmental design as it relates to all stages of the design and construction of our built environment.


Zillah Gisz RAIA

Zillah Gisz is a registered architect with over 15 years’ experience working on projects ranging from large mixed use developments to small scale residential.  Zillah graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture with first class honours from the University of Canberra in 2000.  Zillah has worked with a number of prominent firms in Sydney and Canberra, co-led an architectural practice, and worked in project management in local government. Her most recent position with an urban planning consultancy, involved research, planning, stakeholder strategy and community engagement with respect to a variety of urban projects.

Zillah has also enjoyed working as an educator in architecture at the University of Canberra and is now studying again.  She is adding to her knowledge of the built environment with postgraduate studies in Urban Planning with an Urban Design focus at Deakin University.  Zillah’s major interests are in housing and urban renewal. In 2016 she was a member of the urban renewal delegation to the US and Canada with the Minister for Planning representing the Australian Institute of Architects ACT Chapter. Zillah is an advocate of the role of good design in building vibrant, sustainable cities, and engaged, active communities.