Melbourne was ranked as the world’s number one city for seven consecutive years in the Global Livability Index. This was largely due to the meticulous grid design laid out by architect Robert Hoddle in 1837. Now, Melbourne is home to more than 758 completed high-rise buildings and over 5.08 million people.

Though the rapid population growth in Melbourne may have subtracted from the city’s original clever design – with expansions often failing to uphold the symmetry and order of the older suburbs – Melbourne’s architecture scene is as strong as ever.

Melbourne hosts a number of Australia’s most historically significant heritage buildings, such as the state library of Victoria, Dover’s building, federation square, the Argus, and the John Knox Free Presbyterian Church. Melbourne architecture borrows from a vast array of design styles, with notable buildings such as the ANZ Gothic Bank and Finder’s Street Station showing signs of heavy influence by foreign and classic design. Read more about how Greek architecture found its way into Melbourne’s heart here.

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Architecture Melbourne: Fees, Trends & the Future

Melbourne is known across the globe for its intriguing mix of traditional and new age architecture. Though the majority of Melbourne’s buildings are heavily influenced by Victorian architecture, the city also houses 52 skyscrapers – the highest number of any city in the Southern Hemisphere. However, most people recognize the most prominent architectural design style of Melbourne to be Mid Century Modern and Art Deco.

Modern styles are leaning a little further away from the traditional styles, favouring innovation beyond all else. The possibilities of architecture in a modern context are ever evolving as technological advances allow for buildings to be taller, more efficient, and even smarter. Recently there has also been a huge push to begin practicing sustainable architecture, and Melbourne’s most famous architects are leading the charge in developing eco-friendly design for high-density populations.

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With the evidence of climate change bearing down upon us, there is no time more crucial to invest in sustainable design than this very moment. Melbourne already has the reputation of being one of Australia’s greenest cities (often jostling for recognition with Adelaide, which was ranked as the third most livable city in the world in the 2021 Global Livability Index).

Melbourne’s lush green belts and urban parks have successfully kept it in the running for this title over many years, with over 19% of the city’s mass delegated to green spaces. But now, the rapid growth of Melbourne’s population is set to put the city’s environmental infrastructure to the test. The architects of Melbourne are more than ready for the challenge.

Melbourne houses some of Australia’s most successful architects of all time. Melbourne continues to raise and inspire innovative architects who go on to design some of the most beautiful buildings in not only Australia but across the whole globe. The top architecture firms in Melbourne are truly the best of the best, and their boundless skill is reflected in their projects. Here is a list of the top five award winning architects based in Melbourne.

Architects Melbourne: Who is the Best Architect in Melbourne? Top Five Melbourne Architecture Firms

5. Enterprise Architects

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Enterprise Architects is an Australian firm first founded in Richmond, Melbourne by Hugh Evans. Now, Enterprise Architects is located in the South Rialto Tower at 525 Collins Street and has benefited from over 14 years of industry experience working with some of the world’s most influential global organizations.

Enterprise Architects focuses on combining design strategies with architectural practices to streamline modern transformations. They are also certified for the recruitment and training of Australia’s brightest architectural minds, offering a vast variety of private and public courses to introduce or hone architectural skills in the wave of new age design theory. You can read more about the endeavors of Enterprise Architects at their company website here.

4. Grimshaw Architects

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Grimshaw architects is a global architecture firm with a branch located at 21 Bouverie St, north Melbourne. Grimshaw is renowned for its commitment to innovation, with a particular focus on the way that architecture can encourage interpersonal connection in a modern age. Grimshaw also has a conceptual focus on environmental preservation, with a commitment to design net zero carbon ready buildings only by 2025, and environmentally regenerative buildings as early as 2030.

Grimshaw architects has handled all manner of projects, large and small, though they are best known for their commercial designs such as the London Bridge Station, the Pulkovo Airport, and the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Their best known Melbourne project is likely the renovation of 35 Collins Street, pictured above, into a breathtaking office precinct which blurs the line between residential and commercial. Read more about the future of Grimshaw architects here.

3. Jackson Architects

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Jackson Architecture is a south Melbourne-founded architecture firm with studios across Australia and international affiliated offices in Hong Kong and Fiji. Jackson Architecture recruits industry leaders in a variety of professions, from professional architects to interior designers, urban designers, and master planners.

Their holistic approach to architecture allows them to achieve their dominant design aspiration: to create “sensitive, stimulating spaces that facilitate all aspects of human endeavour.” A design by Jackson Architects is guaranteed to be creative, sustainable, cost effective, and innovative.

2. Cox Architects

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Cox Architecture is a critically reviewed architecture firm founded by Philip Cox with locations in every major Australian city. Designs by Cox Architecture are recognizable for their beautiful harmony with the natural landscape, structure, craft and art. These elements serve as the philosophical pillars from which all designs by Cox Architects draw their inspiration.

In 2021 Cox Architecture won the W. Hayward Morris Award for Interior Architecture as well as a commendation in the Educational Architecture category for their project, Burgmann Anglican Early Learning Centre.

1. Hassell Architects

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One of the most popular architecture firms in Australia, Hassell architecture has multiple studios across the nation. Their portfolio is perhaps one of the most diverse in all Melbourne, with award winning designs in multiple fields. Their design philosophy is informed by technology at all time, with a huge emphasis on building a sustainable future in the face of developing modern challenges. Read more about Hassel’s incredible career here.

For information about the top 10 architecture firms in Australia, see here.