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
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Design driven and people focused, DNA Architects crafts and transforms spaces that are as individual as their clients, handling residential, commercial or retail projects. The team produces high-quality, functional and responsible projects in a collaborative environment, listening and applying their experience and innovative abilities to solve any challenge, no matter how large, small or unusual.
Backed by more than 19 years of industry-leading designs, DNA Architects fosters regionally based architectural values and environmentally sustainable design principles. The company has won more than 100 local industry awards and more than a dozen national industry awards.
The team at DNA Architects doesn’t push particular design styles or theories. Instead, the team takes time to understand clients, uncover how they live and work, study the potential and limitations of their site and explore every creative avenue before arriving at a design solution. At the end of the day, DNA Architects create spaces that people enjoy living in, working in and playing in.
DNA Architects strives for the best solution rather than the easiest one, taking into account budget, time and location. The team of handpicked staff is experienced in dealing with commercial realities and complex planning issues.
Backed by a strong network of industry leading suppliers and a deep understanding of planning and approval intricacies in the ACT, DNA’s services include residential design, multi-unit design, commercial design, retail design, industrial design, fit-outs, refurbishments, master-planning, feasibility studies, 3D modelling, and energy rating (for ACT projects). The firm works with local designers on interior design and colour consultation.
On Facebook, Luke Abbott wrote, “These guys are designing some great spaces to live and work.”
Established in 2003, Paul Tilse Architects works on residential, commercial and retail projects in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland. The practice undertakes small and large architectural and interior design projects for private and government clients. The team at Paul Tilse Architects sees every project as a new challenge in synthesising client requirements into an efficient and vibrant architectural form. The practice has won multiple awards, including for renovations, residential interior design, new kitchens and new bathrooms.
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.”
TT Architecture, established in 1990, is a unique and significant architectural design group. The award-winning practice fosters regionally based architectural values and environmentally sustainable design principles. Services include new houses, interior design, alterations and additions to houses, community buildings and new offices.
On Google Sarah Haberie wrote, “A collaborative, expert and creative designer and team. Excellent to work with from the early stages right through to completion, both with us as owners, and also with the builder. Highly recommend.”
Philip Leeson Architects is an award winning, long-established and well-regarded architectural and heritage advisory firm that delivers quality design outcomes. The practice, established in 1996, is led by Director Philip Leeson. Core architectural services include master planning, architectural and interior design, heritage advice, construction documentation and contract administration
On Google, Ivar Foerde Berget wrote, “We looked around for a suitable architect, and Philip and the team clearly stood out with their collaborative approach, great ideas and inspirational reference projects.”
The team at Stewart Architecture creates compelling and contemporary built environments. The practice, operating for close to four decades, has completed a substantial body of built work, reflecting its inventive and strategic approach to architecture. Stewart Architecture’s multi-disciplinary team is known for its commitment to projects that strengthen communities and its ability to collaborate, problem solve and think outside the box.
Stefan Postles wrote on Google, “Awesome architects and great people to deal with.”
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.”
A client-focused architectural design company, Architects Ring and Associates makes each client’s lifestyle and living and working environment the highest priority. This multiple award-winning firm has been designing in Canberra since 1991—office buildings, apartments and homes. The pursuit of design excellence is Architects Ring and Associates’ principal aim.
On Google, Rachel Henson wrote, “Great company to work with. Well informed with great and friendly staff who walk you through every step of the way!”
From initial design concepts through to completion, the team at Collins Pennington Architects (formerly Collins Caddaye) share a passion for excellence in design delivery for public, community, residential, education and aged-care projects. Services include master planning, brief development, feasibility studies, contract documentation and contract administration. Architects work closely with clients and stakeholders to create design responses that are appropriate to each site.
On Google, Stefan Postles wrote, “Fantastic people to work with and amazing designs.”
The Mill: Architecture + Design specialises in architecture, residential interiors and commercial projects. The firm believes good design should be accessible for everyone. Architects work with clients to tailor services to needs and budget. The Mill: Architecture + Design can manage projects from conception through to the final form.
Kirra Rankin wrote on Facebook, “… attention to detail and enthusiasm is second to none. The Mill’s warm and friendly manner makes the building process so much easier …”
Award-winning de Rome Architects focuses on well-considered and thoughtful architectural spaces. Each project is an analysis of site, context and brief. Established in 2013, de Rome Architects undertakes new residential homes, residential alterations and additions, multi-residential and commercial. de Rome Architects believes that whatever it seeks to be, space should create enduring value in experience, enjoyment and economics.
Sean Hogan wrote on Google, “Brilliant Architects who create fantastic contemporary work.”
Rob Henry Architects creates architecture with an understanding of human scale, which is socially and environmentally sustainable. Each design process is about creating spatially rich environments that are evocative and playful, yet practical and liveable. Architects develop strong relationships with client and tailor projects to their needs and aspirations.
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.