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The most prolific Sydney architects

Last Updated Mar 6, 2017 · Written by Rob Schneider

Sydney architects are now some of the world's most renowned. We showcase five of Sydney's most famous architects, from boutique firms to one that now has over 1,000 employees throughout Australia and overseas.

Woods Bagot Architects Sydney

Woods Bagot is one of Australia's most successful architectural firms. In 2015, the firm ranked 7th amongst the world's top 100. Woods Bagot defines their style as ‘people architecture’, with an emphasis on "placing users at the centre of every design."

Georgia Singleton is the Director of Woods Bagot in Sydney. She has a strong commitment to the education sector both in Australia and around the world. An example of Woods Bagot's work in Sydney is the University of Sydney Business School. The floor plan includes "a spectrum of learning environments positioned around a centrally located social spine" to encourage collaboration and visual accessibility.

Woods Bagot Director Georgia Singleton said the objective of the Business School was to reshape the conventional higher education triptych of teaching, learning and research into a compelling model of cutting-edge management education.

“The vision for the project was to create a 21st century learning environment that fosters productive interactions with the business community and responds to the needs of students in a compelling way,”

Architecture and Interiors (Pre- Novation) – WOODS BAGOT

Architecture (Post-Novation) - KANNFINCH

Interiors (Post-Novation) – KANNFINCH/ CARR


A post shared by Beo (@nguyenthai2112) on

Another significant design of Woods Bagot is the SAHMRI (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) building in Adelaide, pictured below. The building houses 600 researchers and is locally known as the "cheesegrater" due to it's facade. 


By Jackstarshaker (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Woods Bagot projects cover everything from private residences to hotels and workplace architecture. The reach of the firm is global, including projects in North America, China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe as well as throughout Australia.

HBO+EMTB Architects Sydney

HBO+EMTB is a Sydney based architectural firm. In 2015, HBO+EMTB ranked 43rd in the list of the world's top architectural firms. Kevin Fitzgerald is the Managing Director of this renowned firm.

HBO+EMTB's comes from the names of two successful architects, Hoadley Budge Olphert and Edwards Madigan Torzillo Briggs. The amalgamated practice was established in 1994, when Hoadley Budge Olphert, a New Zealand firm, merged with Briggs' practice in Australia. Since the merger, the firm has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments. Some of their projects in Australia include the Australian Taxation Office, AAPT and PriceWaterhouse Coopers.


By Thennicke (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

HBO+EMTB's work includes a broad spectrum of architectural projects from residences to civic buildings, retail and commercial structures, educational facilities and more. The company also does workplace interiors and landscape design.

In the past decade, HBO+EMTB has expanded its reach into 23 offices throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Cox Architecture

Philip Cox founded Cox Architecture in 1962. Over the years, he has amassed an impressive list of awards. They include the Sir Zelman Cowen Award, the RAIA Gold Medal in 1984, and Life Fellowship to the RAIA in 1987. In 1987, Cox also received the Honorary Fellowship of the American Institute of Architects. In 2017, Philip Cox was awarded an international fellowship by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

In 2016, Cox Architecture won three awards for their University of Queensland Oral Health Centre. The Australian Institute of Architects awarded the firm with the Daryl Jackman award for Educational Architecture; the National Award for Interior Architecture; and the National Award for Sustainable Architecture. This is just a shortlist of recent architectural awards the company has received since 2015. In all, Cox Architecture has won 13 awards.   

Today, Cox Architecture has hundreds of employees and offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra. Phil Cox continues to be involved in select projects, ensuring his vision for the firm's work is maintained. Cox Architecture's reach goes beyond Australia's shores, too. They have undertaken major projects in China, Southeast Asia, Singapore, the Middle East and other countries.

In Sydney, a prominent project is the Metro Residences in Chatswood. The Metro Residences are comprised of 3 towers ranging in height from 27 to 40 storeys. The residences include 550 apartments located in the heart of Chatswood, with a train station, shops, bars, restaurants located directly beneath the towers. Overseas is the Double Helix Bridge in Singapore pictured below.


By William Cho [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Glenn Murcutt

Glenn Murcutt is proof that an architect doesn't have to be part of a large firm to have a profound impact on architecture in Australia. A sole practitioner, Murcutt has received recognition from the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). In 1992, he was awarded the AIA Gold Medal, the highest honour an architect can receive. In 2002, Glenn Murcutt was awarded the Pritzker Prize (called the Nobel Prize of architecture) and in 2009, he received a Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects. 

Glenn Murcutt's list of achievements is impressive, but he does more than design impressive buildings. He is actively involved in the nonprofit Architect Foundation Australia. The foundation is dedicated to providing educational services to students and architects that complement their formal education. Each year, Murcutt conducts the two-week residential Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class. The class is held at the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre, south of Sydney and includes other tutors.

It is fitting that Murcutt conducts his courses at the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre. The centre is on land donated by the artist Arthur Boyd and his partner Yvonne. Glenn Murcutt designed the centre.

Pictured below is Murcutt's design of the Bowali Visitor Information Centre in Kakadu National Park in collaboration with Troppo Architects.


By Luke Durkin [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

David Boyle Architect Sydney and Central Coast

David Boyle is another small firm making his mark on architecture in Australia. Since he started his practice in 2002, Boyle has focused his work on designing unique contemporary homes with a poetic and joyful response to place and the natural environment.

David Boyle works out of his studio in Pretty Beach on the NSW Central Coast. While he hasn't been practicing architecture as long as other well-known firms, he has amassed an impressive list of awards. Some of them include the Institute of Architects Awards, the Houses Magazine House of the Year, the Dulux Colour Awards, the Australian Timber Design Awards, the Marrickville Medal and Waverley Council Urban Design Awards.


A post shared by David Boyle (@david_boyle_architect) on

The post above is an example of Boyle's work, the Marrickville Courtyard House. It is part of the "3 Houses Marrickville" project, which includes "subdivision of a corner block into 3 Torrens title allotments, construction of a new house and conversion of an existing house into 2 semi detached houses." The project won the 2015 Marrickville Medal, as well as two Architecture Awards in the NSW chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects 2016 Awards.


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