The best architects in Canberra

AJ Bala

DNA Architects director AJ Bala, one of Canberra’s most recommended architects. Photo: DNA Architects.

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.

DNA Architects

DNA Architects

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.”

10/14 Lonsdale St
Braddon ACT 2612

Rob Henry Architects

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.

Philip Leeson Architects

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.”

Collins Pennington Architects

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.”

Stewart Architecture

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.”

TT 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.”

Architects Ring and Associates

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!”

The Mill: Architecture + Design

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 …”

de Rome Architects

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.”

Ben Walker Architects

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.”

Light House Architecture and Science

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.”

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.

What's Your Opinion?

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8 Responses to The best architects in Canberra
Ian Gay Ian Gay 9:28 pm 23 Jul 21

You are missing Maria Filardo Architect from this list, which is a massive oversight :) My house is amazing, and it is entirely Maria's fault.

Deborah Jane Deborah Jane 1:56 am 20 Jul 21

Arkitex is my favourite!

Ian K. Ward Ian K. Ward 12:05 am 20 Jul 21

I think you have missed one of the best Architects in Canberra Terry Ring and associates .

Jane Cassidy Jane Cassidy 10:31 pm 19 Jul 21

If we are looking at residential architects - Surely there are a few missing! Rob Henry Architects Ben Walker Architects Light House architecture and science Catherine Townsend Philip Leeson Architects @terry ring Jeremy Mather de Rome Architects Steve Andrea Architecture etc etc

Michelle Cains Michelle Cains 10:25 pm 19 Jul 21


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