One of Queensland’s most successful architects has suddenly resigned from his post as founding director at Cox Rayner Architecture.

Sydney-born architect Michael Rayner will move on from the studio he founded for Phillip Cox in 1990, after 26 successful years at the helm.

Why? Well it seems that Cox Rayner’s successes and growth in the QLD capital have become a little bittersweet for its founding director.  The Australian Financial Review is reporting that Rayner is walking out of his firm, which now employs 90 people, because it’s become so big that he no capacity to practice architecture.

"I've built a big practice in Brisbane," Rayner told the AFR.


"I'm thinking, do you peter out here and continue to do that, or get back to drawing the work myself, instead of overviewing, which is mostly what I do now? I'd really like to actually do the whole thing myself again."

Rayner is also not alone on his quest to return to his design roots. Fellow Cox Rayner director Jayson Blight (pictured right) has also handed in his resignation to Cox and will partner Rayner at a new mid-tier firm to be called Blight Rayner Architecture and Design.

Both Rayner and Blight will see out a three-month notice period at Cox Rayner which following their exit will be known as just Cox.


While Rayner’s legacy at the Brisbane studio will be difficult to fill, he says that he’s leaving Cox at a “pretty buoyant” time. At the 2016 QLD Architecture Awards, the firm collected a number of awards for their University of Queensland's Oral Health Centre project including the named Public Architecture award as well as Architecture Awards in the Interior Design and Sustainable Architecture.

The firm is also currently working on a number of Brisbane projects, including a 274-metre emerald-green residential tower at 30 Albert Street, another similar tower at 240 Margaret Street, a $600 million mixed-use precinct development in Canon Hill, and the new $55 million Velodrome for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth games.

Cox Architecture ranked 44 in the 2016 World Architecture 100, a voluntary world architecture ranking based on the number of fee-earning architects each firm employs.

It’s also a good time for Brisbane, says Rayner, which is recovering from a dip in the construction and resources market. This is evident by the number of skyscraper developments currently in progress in the city, boosted predominantly by a new residential precinct going up near Brisbane’s Botanical Gardens which is looming as a potential new heart of the city. 

Richard Coulson, Brendan Gaffney, Tim Morgan and design director Casey Vallance will remain as studio leaders at Cox Rayner.

Images: COX