If you’re planning on building anew, renovating or remodelling you’ll want to hire a professional architect firm with experience in your type of project. Doing so can remove stress from your special project and ensure you meet all legal requirements and regulations. Using an architect can also help get your creative juices flowing. Professional firms have great ideas you may not have thought of or knew were possible.
In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing an architect, and share where to find the best in Canberra.
What makes a great architect?
Architecture is a unique practice. For the most part, it’s the art of designing and constructing beautiful and functional buildings and other structures. When looking for an architect, choose one you can relate to, who understands your vision.
It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing an architect.
- Experience and qualifications. Canberra architects with years of experience have worked on a wide variety of projects covering different locations, styles, designs, budgets and needs. Check websites and explore galleries of work. Also check qualifications and whether they belong to professional associations. Award-winning architects often have accolades listed on their websites.
- Collaborative approach. If you’re hiring an architect to work on a personal project, it’s vital to remember that your architect should grasp your vision, establish a strong relationship with you and be prepared to work collaboratively so you’re satisfied in the end.
- Innovative design. Working with an excellent architect gives you the opportunity to innovate and create a custom design (not an off-the-shelf compromise). The best in the industry design clever spaces that meet client requirements in new and exciting ways, and is designed to match the way they live.
- Excellent project management skills. You’ll want an architect who excels at time management and can, if you need them to, be the go between under the contract, dealing with builders and other required suppliers—without compromising on quality.
The best architects in Canberra
Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook and maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
Award-winning Arkitex is highly experienced in architectural design. The world-class team in this boutique, family-owned and operated business specialises in custom architectural solutions. Projects include residential extensions and additions, dual occupancies, multiple dwelling sites, apartments, and commercial and industrial architectural projects.
A main point of difference is Arkitex’s sharp focus on the design development phase. The team of experts works closely with clients to meet desires through the highest quality architectural outcomes. The systems and processes it has refined throughout 25 years of experience, back Arkitex to design on time and to budget.
Arkitex was awarded the ACT/Southern NSW Display Home of the Year. Its team is inspirational and attentive to client needs, believing that great projects begin with the best relationships.
Saagar Kamrani wrote on Google, “Very pleased with my house plan designed by Arkitex and highly recommend them. One of the best in Canberra. They put a lot of effort, thought and details into their work.”
Hyperspace Architecture delivers end-to-end, high-quality, contemporary and sustainable design solutions, including project feasibility and planning advice. This unique, boutique practice specialises in architecture, interior design, renovations, planning, heritage management and conservation, master planning and urban design.
An A+ Architectural Practice of the Australian Institute of Architects, this firm is also a registered provider with both ACT and NSW governments. Experienced architects and designers work to a strict quality assurance system.
Hyperspace Architecture works with residential and commercial projects – apartments, townhouses, industrial buildings, commercial offices, showrooms and retail. Also, childcare centres, schools and education spaces. In each case, Hyperspace Architects achieves great outcomes. The firm was a finalist in the Housing Industry Association 2022 awards for residential architecture (ACT).
On Google, Liam Collins wrote, “I just had to share my amazing experience with Hyperspace Architecture in Canberra! They're not just the top architects, but their interior design expertise took my dream house to a whole new level.”
Award-winning Filardo Ercan Architects specialises in architecture, interior design and heritage. The firm achieves streamlined and considered design outcomes, always sustainable and in line with high standards and processes.
From stylish and comfortable family homes to inviting retail spaces, trendy cafes, elegant restaurants, and heritage designs that capture the essence of time and place, Filardo Ercan Architects brings visions to life.
Listening to client needs is key. Filardo Ercan Architects adds value by proactively making suggestions. The experienced team provides a different perspective to achieve high-quality projects for private and public sector projects. Offering a full service, clients only need deal with one practice for a full project, no matter how complex.
With a passion for design and a commitment to quality, Architect and Interior Designer Maria Filardo has completed an impressive array of projects, overing all aspects of interior and architecture delivery.
Can Ercan is a registered senior architect and heritage consultant with extensive experience in commercial and heritage conservation projects. He has led the design, documentation, tender and contract administration of medium to large-scale architectural projects.
Drawing on 40 plus years’ experience, Filardo Ercan Architects’ services include new builds, extensions and renovations, design consultation, concept sketches, interior design and heritage consultancy. Also design and documentation, Council approvals, tendering and contract administration.
Filardo Ercan Architects is a Member of the Association of Consulting Architects.
On Google, Suzie Nash wrote, “Maria designed our new kitchen and we’re over the moon with the results … Easy to work with, passionate and meticulous about designs.”
Light House Architecture and Science specialises in space-efficient and energy-efficient homes to suit Canberra’s climate. Through excellent design and scientific testing, the firm creates homes that feel spacious and comfortable, and function beautifully, on a smaller-than-average floor area. Many achieve an energy efficiency rating of 8+ stars.
Katrina Newland wrote on Google, “The team at Light House Architecture and Science is incredibly talented and dedicated to creating beautiful and sustainable architecture.”
Established in 2012, award-winning Ben Walker Architects undertakes small-scale residential and commercial project and conceptual research projects into the design of the capital. All projects are undertaken with design rigour and a focus on buildability and sustainability. Ben Walker Architects is committed to high-quality design outcomes for residential, commercial and urban design projects.
On Google, Steward MacLennan wrote, “An architect whose work we admire greatly.”
If you’re looking for more information on your renovation or build project in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best builders & renovators, the best interior designers and the best landscapers Canberra has to offer.
Your experience with architects in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had any experience with any of the architects listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to have an architect draw up a house?
Architects can provide an extensive range of services and every project is different so architects can’t provide a fixed price when someone calls and asks how much their project will cost. An architect needs to gather detailed information to understand a client and a project before they can determine the appropriate level of service and associated fee structure. Great architects don’t reuse previous designs and sell them to the next customer. Each client brief is unique and this affects pricing.
I have done my own design. Can I just get an architect to finalise the drawing?
The benefit of using an architect is the design service so if you have a sketch and want an architect to take on your project, it might be best to submit your sketch as part of the brief and see what the architect can do from there. This way the architect can work through any potential problems, consider a range of factors and collaborate with you on a successful solution.
How do architects work? What process do they follow?
Every architect has their own processes and methods so it’s best to talk to them about this early on. Some ask prospective clients to come into their office for an obligation-free discussion, so they can understand your vision and the project. The next step could be to develop a detailed quote, investigate the site, explore design options, develop computer generated designs and work with you at all these stages. There are many other steps involved before project completion. It’s best to work these out with the architect.
Do architects design and manage extensions?
Most do and many work on residential and commercial extensions as well as residential. Great architects are creative problem solvers who can handle extensions you’ll enjoy for many years to come. They’re as good at working with existing structures as they are designing new structures.
Do architects ensure energy efficient design?
Energy efficiency and sustainable design are important to most architects. The ACT Government’s energy efficiency requirements for building approval must be met and so must Building Code of Australia requirements. Great architects will have great idea on how you can make your project as energy efficient as possible, saving you money in future. They often start with the basics, such as getting the orientation of the structure right, to take advantage of the sun. They’ll also consider insulation, quality of windows and more. If energy efficiency is important to you, make this a priority when chatting to your architect about your brief.