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St Saviour Cathedral designed by Edmund Blacket | © JohnArmagh/WikiCommons
St Saviour Cathedral designed by Edmund Blacket | © JohnArmagh/WikiCommons

10 Australian Architects You Should Know

Picture of Isabell Greigeritsch
Updated: 7 November 2016
Australian architects have proven their ability to keep with the wider global trends, as well as accommodate distinct ‘Australian’ factors in their designs. Culture Trip brings you the top ten Australian architects, some of whom may be well-known for their work and others who have not been as widely recognized…yet. 

Edmund Blacket

Known best for designing the University of Sydney, St. Andrews Cathedral in Sydney and St. Saviour’s Cathedral, Edmund Blacket was an Australian architect who arrived when the city of Sydney was rapidly expanding, and new suburbs were being established. He was most interested in the style of Victorian Gothic and brought back the revival of it. While famous for designing churches, he also built houses in all sorts of styles. He was one of the most favoured architects among the Church of England in New South Wales throughout his career, and between 1849 and 1854, he became the official “colonial architect to New South Wales.”

Robin Boyd

Robin Boyd was a Melbourne architect and writer who was known for being ahead of his time and had bright futuristic ideas. Boyd was a teacher, writer for The Age, and committed to the advocacy of good design. Boyd designed the Domain Park residential tower block, the John Batman Motor Inn in Melbourne and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in Canberra. Boyd was also the first director of the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects’ Small Homes Service. In 1969, Boyd was awarded the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal in recognition for his work and architectural writing.


Sean Godsell

Sean Godsell is a Melbourne architect and the son of architect David Godsell. Godsell has become a well-known architect, and he has lectured in the USA, UK, China, Japan, India, France, Italy, New Zealand, and Australia. His work has been published through numerous journals and magazines, including Wallpaper, an English design magazine which listed him as one of the ten people destined to “change the way we live.” He was also the only Australian and architect on the list. His three most famous works are the Kew House (a residential house built in Kew), St Andrews Beach House and RMIT Design Hub.

Roy Grounds

Roy Grounds attended the Melbourne University Architectural Atelier and took classes at Brighton Technical School, developing an interest in the Bauhaus movement and architectural modernism. Working at Blackett & Forster, Grounds began experimenting with house plans that fused living and dining areas and minimised passageways. In 1928, his winning entry in a Royal Victorian Institute of Architects competition for a house costing £1000 was praised for its fresh ‘Australian style.’ Some of his famous works include the Shine Dome, Australian Academy of Science, Canberra (1959); Botany Building, Australian National University, Canberra (1968); National Gallery of Victoria, St Kilda Road, Melbourne (1959–68); Shrine of Remembrance reconstruction, St Kilda Road in Melbourne (1969–84); and the Arts Centre Melbourne.

Brit Andresen

Brit Andresen is a Norwegian architect based in Australia where she teaches at the University of Queensland. Garnering recognition for her work, Andresen was awarded the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2002 and currently researches ‘the changing relations between architecture, settlement and the land.’ She has her own practice called Andresen O’Gorman Architects where she and her team study the interaction between the inside and outside and between people and their environments. Some of her notable works include Rosebery House (Queensland), Fernberg Pavilion (Queensland), and Moreton Bay Houses (Queensland).


Harold Desbrowe-Annear

Leading and developing the Arts and Crafts movement in Australia, Harold Desbrowe-Annear became a notorious architect with extensive knowledge and passion for the designing world. Desbrowe-Annear managed to create his own practice by gaining insight and becoming well educated through studying and learning under the Melbourne architect William Salway in 1883. Through the things he learnt and sketches and papers of his being submitted to the Victorian Institute of Architects, Desbrowe-Annear became recognised as a famous and highly regarded architect in the architecture world. He is famous for designing the Federation Arch, Princess Bridge in 1901 and the Springthorpe Memorial in the Booroondara Cemetery in Kew during 1897-1900.

Harry Seidler

Harry Seidler was a man who held a pure passion for designing and architecture. He was considered to be one of the leading people who exhibited expertise in modern methodology in Australia and was also the first to express the principles of the Bauhaus in the country. Seidler’s passion allowed him to design more than 180 buildings, which gained him a lot of recognition, allowing him to win a decade worth of architectural awards in almost 58 varied categories throughout his career. Seidler was also popular for leading protests, which kept Jorn Utzon as the principal architect of the Sydney Opera House.


Philip Cox

Phillip Cox has designed a lot of projects for Australia and international locales including Southeast Asia, China, the Middle East, South Africa and Europe. He is the founding partner of one of the largest architectural practices in Australia called Cox Architects and Planners, which now holds 400 staff members. He started his own practice in 1967, but before this, Philip Cox started his career, after graduating, at Ian McKay in 1963. Just one year after graduating, he won his first award in 1963 and since then has won a variety of others. Some of his famous architectural designs include the City Library in Melbourne, multiple railway stations such as Craigebourne, the National Institute of Circus Arts and the Sydney Football Stadium.

Frederick Romberg

When he moved from Europe to Australia, Frederick Romberg brought with him memories, knowledge and attitudes that were European in general. His Swiss heritage and education reformed into architecture appropriate for Australian design. He was also a partner of Grounds, Romberg and Boyd, which was formed in Melbourne in 1953 but dissolved by 1962. He won the National Architecture Award in 2006 and the National 25 Year Award. A range of buildings he has designed includes the Sacred Heart Girls’ School, School of Architecture, Stanhill Flats in South Melbourne and Picken Court, Ormond College.

Nick Murcutt

Nick Murcutt was an expert on building and designing houses and residential architecture. Murcutt even won the Wilkinson Award – an award for residential architecture in 2009. Murcutt started out with a university degree in architecture in Sydney, 1989, and by 1990, he was a registered architect in Australia. Murcutt worked for a variety of firms and other people such as Neil Durback and Camilla Block of Durbach Block Architects. Collaborating with them, they received positive reviews for the amenities blocks for the Sydney Olympics. Murcutt also worked as a tutor for the University of New South Wales and the University of Technology in Sydney.


By Isabell Greigeritsch