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Bleuscape’s Top 10 Australian Architectural Firms for 2012

10. Bark Architecture

Bark is run by husband and wife team, Lindy Atkin and Stephen Guthrie. Their aim is to create buildings that are designed from the inside out. Responding directly to the needs of the people who use them, buildings integrate delicately with the natural landscape, ensuring minimal environmental impact and maximum sustainability. Visually, structures speak of an honesty of materials, of lightness and transparency. Ecologically, opportunities for natural light, passive ventilation and cooling are fully explored. They make up our tenth spot.

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9. Neeson Murcutt Architects

In a career that spanned relatively few years, Nick Murcutt, first alone and since 2004, with wife and partner Rachel Neeson, has built an enviable reputation for designing highly resolved, finely tuned houses. Sadly, Nick passed away earlier in the year from an aggressive form of cancer leaving Rachel and the team to continue on. Despite Nicks passing Neeson Murcutt Architects continues to flurish and is producing some of their best work, this year picking up the highest residential gong in Australia, the Robin Boyd. Rachel Neeson is one to watch in the future; she takes out our number nine spot.

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8. Glenn Murcutt Architect

Without a doubt Glenn Murcutt is Australia's most influential architect. His career span's decades having realised over 500 residential projects. He is Australia's only recipient of the prestigious Pritzker Prize. Glenn is now in his mid 70s but is showing no signs of slowing down. He is dearly loved by many here in Australia. One of Murcutt's favorite quotations is a phrase, he often heard his father say. The words, he believes, are from Thoreau: “Since most of us spend our lives doing ordinary tasks, the most important thing is to carry them out extraordinarily well.” Glenn is our number eight.

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7. Owen and Vokes

The architectural firm of Paul Owen and Stuart Vokes aim to craft a practice of architecture. They seek appropriateness rather than novelty with each work taking the form of a subtle innovation; incrementally building upon a lineage of works. Their completed projects are custodians of ideas drawn from a sustained observation of traditions, appropriate exemplars and human occupation. Owen and Vokes are well respected by many here in Queensland. Currently, they are designing Darren Lockyer's home in Brisbane. They are our number 7.

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6. John Wardle Architects

Our number six is John Wardle Architects. John Wardle founded his firm in 1986 and has become one of Australia's most influential architects. Like many designers, he began with houses and has successfully transitioned into large-scale projects. However, his residential work still continues to push the boundaries of how to uses and recycle material. We continually see John and his team winning awards in Australia.

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5. David Boyle Architect

David Boyle runs a multi award winning architectural practice established in 2002. He operates out of a studio in Pretty Beach, adjacent to Bouddi National Park between Killcare and Wagstaffe on the Central Coast, two hours north of Sydney. The majority of his projects are located in and around Sydney as well as on the Central Coast. We have come to really love David's work ever since his award-winning  'Burridge Read' residence come onto the scene. Like Sean Godsell's architecture, Boyle's work is instantly recognizable with its vertical timber cladding often fixed to painted FC sheet. His spaces are deliberately crafted and facilitate experiences both public and private. He is our number five.
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Tony Chenchow and Stephanie Little are our number four pick. They produce such interesting work. To date, most of their houses exist in the suburbs of Sydney. One of their trademarks is their unique way of using light by treating walls as skins. This treatment gives their facades a clean textured quality that is incredibly refined and modern. They have won many awards, including Australia's highest, the Robin Boyd for their 'Freshwater House' in 2009.  Through their residential work, the practice has developed a reputation for high-end quality to much acclaim.

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3. Sean Godsell Architects

Sean Godsell is our number three. In July 2002, the influential English design magazine 'Wallpaper' listed him as one of ten people destined to ‘change the way we live’. He was the only Australian and the only architect in the group. Sean works in relatively simple ways, still hand drawing most of his work, yet his buildings are incredibly sophisticated in their detailing. He goes to extraordinary lengths to remain true to his ideas, and his body of work is instantly recognisable. I love Sean's passion for the field of architecture. We heard him lecture last year at the Queensland State Library. It was an amazing night not short of controversy.

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2. Peter Stutchbury Architecture

Peter Stutchbury is our number two. This man needs no introduction in the Australian design arena. He is emerging as one of our countries creative leaders. He is recognised for his innovative approach to sustainability and design and has worked independently since 1981 producing a wide variety of amazing work. His projects have been published and acclaimed  internationally. We have written about his work in earlier posts. Please see the links below for more information:

Images: Michael Nicholson

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1. Donovan Hill Architects

Donovan Hill are our number one! They lead the charge in Queensland with incredibly significant work that is highly sustainable producing comfortable spaces that respond to climate and natural setting. Their attention to carefully thought-out philosophical design is both strong and relevant to our time and place. They are rated by recognised industry bodies as being in the top 5 practices in Australia and the top 40 internationally. Their work is a must see!

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Images: Jon Linkins




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