Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand HOME PAGE

Homepage gap About SAHANZ gap Conferences gap Membership gap Publications this page gap Society Business gap Links









David Saunders, the Society's initiator and Inaugural President.
Source: Architecture Australia, 75.7 (November 1986): 29.

SAHANZ annually offers "The David Saunders Founder's Grant", in memory of the founder of the Society, to support research by emerging researchers.

The deadline for applications is 1 June annually.

Download the application form as a pdf, or as a word doc.

Email the completed form to the Secretary at

David Saunders (1928-1986)

David Saunders was instrumental in forming SAHANZ and as foundation President he registered the society in South Australia on 12th of September 1985. He was Professor of Architecture at the University of Adelaide and also President of SAHANZ when he prematurely passed away the following year.

He was educated at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and at the University of Melbourne, where he also later completed his Master's degree on the architecture of 19th century Melbourne architect Joseph Reed. David Saunders was a lecturer, then senior lecturer, at the University of Melbourne between 1956 and 1968, where he became the first academic in Victoria to specialise in Australian architectural history. Saunders was also editor of the pithy and incisive architecture broadsheet Cross Section from 1955 to 1961. As an architect Saunders designed his own house in Parkville in 1962 after his return from the United Kingdom as part of a Nuffield Fellowship. The exposed materials and strident honesty of this post-war interpretation of the terrace house startled many and paralleled interstate experiments in New Brutalism.

In 1968 the Saunders family moved to Sydney where David took up the position of senior lecturer at the Power Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Sydney. In 1977 he was then appointed to the Chair of Architecture at the University of Adelaide where took a decisive role in redirecting that school's curriculum.

David's contribution to architectural history in Australia is substantial. He was the author of several texts including the important Historic Buildings of Victoria (1966). He gave considerable service to the National Trust and the South Australian Heritage Committee. He was also the first Australian President of ICOMOS, the international professional conservation organisation.

Judith Brine observed of David Saunders in 1986:

His career was one of dedicated service to the conviction that Australian art and architectural history was of great importance and interest. He not only demonstrated its academic potential in his own work but... provided the tools for others to work in the same field. His contribution as a teacher in training others, several of whom in their turn are now also eminent architectural historians, cannot be overestimated.

Former Recipients of the Saunders Grant

2017 Joshua Nash, NSW 'Connecting Pitcairn Island and Norfolk Island Through Architecture: Islands, architecture, and language.'
2016 Renee Miller-Yeaman, Vic. 'Domestic projections of hospitality in Australia's migrant hostels in the 1960s.'
2015 Kirsty Volz, Qld. 'Digital Archive of Nellie McCredie's architectural work.'
2014 No award.
2013 Fiona Gray, Vic. 'Shack-ri-la: the history, heritage and simple pleasures of Campbell's Cove's humble hideaways.'
2012 Emily Juckes and Kelly Greenop, Qld. 'Aboriginal and European histories of Peel Island.' [Research awarded best paper award at SAHANZ conference 2013.]
2011 Tanya Poppelreuter, NZ. 'The Influx of Modernism to New Zealand: Refugee Architects before 1940.'
2010 Jared Bird and Susan Holden, Qld. 'Animated Nets: Trajectories of Post-war European Urbanism, Two Brisbane Case Studies.'
2009 Anne Watson, 'Peter Hall and the Sydney Opera House: the lost years 1966-69.'
2008 Anuradha Chatterjee, NSW. 'Touching the Surace, Looking for Substance - The Role of the Surface in Australian Architecture form 1990-2008.'
2007 Louise Bird, 'Architect Designed: The Role of the Architect in Designing the Adelaide Inter-war Garden.'
2006 Nicole van Ruler, NZ. 'M.H. Wevers: Architectuur New Zealand.'
2005 Julia Gatley, NZ. '"Success of New Zealand Lady Architect" Revisited: Alison Shepherd, ARIBA.'
2004 Jeanette Budgett, NZ. 'Mission Period Architecture, Mangaia, Cook Islands.'
2003 Igea Troiani, Qld. 'The architecture of Stuart McIntosh, 1950-1970.' and Ellen Andersen, NZ. 'Maori Architectural Artefacts on Display Outside New Zealand.'
2002 Don Roderick, Qld. 'Queensland Vernacular Architecture.'
2001 No award.
2000 Catherine Townsend, Vic. 'Émigré Architects in Australia.'
1999 Katrina Place, Vic. 'Country Estates and Commissions of Walter Butler.'
1998 Paul Hogben, NSW. 'Hotel Architecture of the 1950s.'