A COROWA-based architect who wants rural towns to survive and thrive through good design has stood out from the crowd.
Regional Design Service co-director Phillip Neilsen was awarded the prestigious industry travelling scholarship, Dulux Study Tour, recently for his commitment to rural communities.
He was the first rural-based architect to win the award in its 12-year history.
"It will be an amazing opportunity to look at other practices at a global level and bring that experience back here," he said.
Together with co-director Aaron Nichols, Mr Neilsen opened Regional Design Service in Sanger Street two years ago.
They hit the ground running with their forward-thinking approach to architecture and design.
Public projects such as a new community centre at Urana, a town masterplan for Rand, design talks for community groups and workshops for children impressed the scholarship's judging panel.
Mr Neilsen said the pro bono Rand project involved developing a new centre for the town.
"Rand has 300 or so people and services have pulled out of the town centre and projects have been undervalued in the funding process," he said.
"We want to assist that community to apply for money to build community projects.
"We want to work on how do you stitch together a small place like that and give it a centre and grow out from there.
"We want to create meaningful plans for rural towns in decline."
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Regional Design Service is the first architect to operate at Corowa in almost half a century. Forty-five years ago architect A.C. MacKnight and son was a prolific practice, designing among myriad projects Jillamatong homestead.
While Mr Neilsen is the architect, Corowa-born-and-bred Mr Nichols is the interior designer for the firm.
The Dulux Study Tour is awarded annually to five architects for their contributions to architectural practice, education, design excellence and community involvement.
Winners will visit Copenhagen, London and Lisbon during May to gain experience of each city’s best architectural sites and practices.
The tour is an initiative between Dulux, the Australian Institute of Architects and EmAGN.
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