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Internship success for UC students

Sara Garrity

20 August 2021: Three University of Canberra Master of Architecture students have been chosen to undertake research assignments developed from their own ideas, and will receive mentorship from ACT Government Architect Catherine Townsend.

Cassidy Baas, Marko Torbarina and Daniel Sandford will each receive a $2,500 research grant at the completion of their assignment, including potential publication of their work.

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Design, Professor Jason Bainbridge, congratulated the students and said their work would add to the University’s ongoing goal of improving the lives of the Canberra community, into the future.

“This is a marvellous opportunity for our students to work closely with Ms Townsend and staff within ACT Government to potentially contribute to areas of planning and design matters that require further research and understanding,” Professor Bainbridge said.

Ms Baas, a Master of Architecture student said she was grateful for the internship opportunity, which was announced at a ceremony earlier this month.

Her research will focus on co-housing, particularly living arrangements with shared facilities such as townhouses with shared courtyards, or even shared kitchens.

“It means a lot to be able to research co-housing. It’s an important type of housing that has so much potential when looking at broader aspects of our life such as housing affordability, sustainability, and feeling connected to our community,” Ms Baas said.

“I am most excited to draw on the huge pool of resources available to us through this internship!”

Fellow intern Daniel Sandford said he was also looking forward to making a positive impact during the internship, through the ability to work with the ACT Government and potentially helping to create future policies.

He will be looking into the heat island effect in Canberra, which refers to high concentrations of pavement and built urban areas overtaking natural space and absorbing and retaining heat.

This, he concludes, is higher in newer Canberra suburbs.

“It is a great opportunity to undertake some self-directed research into a subject that I am passionate about,” Mr Sandford said.

“I am excited to work with the knowledgeable people and stakeholders in the ACT Government, and hopefully help make a positive difference in our city.”

Final year architecture student Marko Torbarina is also grateful to be learning from the ACT Government’s Planning Department while focusing on his topic of the future of Canberra’s inner suburbs.

“Honestly, this opportunity means a lot,” Mr Torbarina said.

“It’s my last semester at the University of Canberra, and getting the chance to bring together years of learning and research and to put it towards such an impactful and relevant internship is just one of the best ways I could imagine graduating.”

The Alastair Swayn Internship was established to honour University of Canberra Professorial Fellow Alastair Swayn, who was the first ACT Government Architect and founding partner of the multi-award-winning architectural practice Daryl Jackson Alastair Swayn (DJAS).

After his passing in 2016, the ACT Government created the internship program to support emerging architects and to maintain Professor Swayn’s legacy.