A recurring element that speaks to the ethos that exists between architect and building tends to emerge when creating lists like these. Nature and the special bond Australian architects have with their landscape are without a doubt the topic for Australia. However, Australia’s unbridled, overwhelming beauty is intriguing a new generation of architects who are trying to define a refreshingly contemporary design vernacular on the streets and countryside. Contemporary buildings and its deliberate detachment from nature will have its place in the country’s architectural history.
The Top 10 is a list of the companies I believe to be the greatest in the nation based on their apparent reputation and my own judgment, not a ranking. Here are my selections for Australia’s Top 10 Architecture Firms.
- 1 Best architecture companies in Australia
Best architecture companies in Australia
For more than 150 years, Woods Bagot has been establishing roots in the Australian architectural scene. Short Lane, a mixed-use residential building in Sydney with cantilevered terraces that offer homeowners private botanical gardens, is one of our favorite projects. Another project by its design team is the Wynyard Walk pedestrian link, which constructs a ground-breaking and practical shortcut from Wynyard Station to the Barangaroo waterfront (seen in the illustration).
Form, material, and assembly are three terms that have come to represent Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp’s studio. One of the first designs we adored was for Bunji Place, a multipurpose building that houses an art gallery, a performance theater, a library, and a public gathering area all under one roof. The project is a great illustration of the reputation FJMT has built as an ideas-driven firm with a focus on building tectonically resolved transformative environments. Their design for the Auckland Art Gallery (seen in the image) is a magnificent homage to New Zealand’s dual-cultural past.
HASSELL is a renowned multinational design firm with studios in Australia, China, South East Asia, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom. It was established in 1938 in Adelaide, South Australia. They operate in a range of fields, such as business and industry, hospitality, education, urban planning, and culture and the arts. In addition to Perth’s Optus Stadium, a joint venture project between HASSELL COX HKS, HASSELL has designed some of the largest projects in Australia, including this Life Sciences Precinct for the University of Melbourne.
John Wardle Architects
Internationally acclaimed John Wardle Architects is a firm dedicated to the art of creating places and structures that matter. Their work spans a wide range of industries, and they function much like a small studio to prevent the loss of creativity. A 19th-century heritage building is next to their Nigel Peck Centre for Learning and Leadership, which has a series of transparent atriums.
Denton Corker Marshall
Due in great part to their experiments with form and materials, Denton Corker Marshall buildings are distinctive and easy to identify. The practice was established in 1972 and now has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, London, Manchester, and Jakarta.
Koichi Takada Architects
Koichi Takada’s artwork has a simple, almost evocative feel that I find to be quite soothing. Their structures have a natural feel to them without being unduly simple or abstract. The Sydney-based company has produced a number of projects that best demonstrate this, but their Infinity project (pictured), which combines a building and a landscape, stands out. Arc, a tower in Sydney with gorgeous brick arches and flowing white vertical lines that were meticulously detailed, was one of the first buildings we came across.
That architecture doesn’t always need to take itself so seriously is demonstrated by Austin Maynard Architects. Since its founding in 2002, the company has amassed a noteworthy portfolio of projects focused on the values of joy, amusement, friendship, and family as well as ethics, sustainability, and recognition of hard work. The owners’ beach house in Victoria (seen in the picture) offers them a distinctive, non-traditional vacation home that is completely interwoven with its surroundings.
Peter Stutchbury Architecture
Award-winning architect Peter Stutchbury is known for his thoughtfulness and distinctive approach to sustainable architecture. The far-western desert region of New South Wales, where Stutchbury spent his formative years, fostered his understanding of the Australian landscape and its relationship to architecture. A magnificent timber-lined archway may be found in the spectacular intervention known as the Joynton Avenue Creative Centre (pictured).
Candalepas Associates, based in Sydney, is a unique business that has created a diverse range of projects that range in scale and typology. The company has created projects ranging from religious structures to public parks, individual homes to big housing subdivisions. Nearly every project the firm has completed has been published or honored with a State or National Architecture Prize, including the Sulman Medal (twice), Seidler National Awards in Architecture and the Frederick Romberg, the Aaron Bolot Award (multiple times), and the Premier’s Award. This is a result of the firm’s twenty years of practice. The direct involvement of Director Angelo Candalepas in each stage of the hiring process has a significant impact on the company’s success.
The company is dedicated to the fundamental principles of conventional professionalism, as well as to perfection in both technical and scientific evaluation and the more ethereal principles of design. This makes it a comprehensive company with a generalist approach to the pursuit of architecture.
Chenchow Little Architects
Award-winning firm Chenchow Little Architects is known for creating excellent residential designs with a great focus on detail. One of their most well-known works is the Coogee House in Sydney, which is perched atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific. A number of exclusive commissions, such the Waterloo Apartments (pictured), which has wraparound balconies supported by a group of staggered columns, have been made possible by the success of residential projects like these.
Glenn Murcutt’s contributions to society must be acknowledged for this list to be complete. Murcutt is a lone practitioner who only conducts business inside of Australia. He is well-recognized for his use of timber, glass, stone, concrete, and steel and is picky about the projects he accepts. Murcutt has been a driving force in Australian architecture for decades and has won numerous awards, including the 1992 Alvar Aalto Medal, the 2002 Pritzker Architecture Prize, and the 2009 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal.
Sean Godsell Architects
A Melbourne-based firm called Sean Godsell Architects is renowned for its straightforwardness and environmentally friendly design methods. One of their most well-known creations is the RMIT Design Hub, which offers space for a variety of design research and postgraduate education (seen on the cover, top-right). Inside the structure, there are a number of open-concept “warehouses” where research teams can set up shop and customize their working environments to fit their individual requirements.