Since 1999 MWA has won more than 26 AIA awards + competitions for a range of project types, including, Multi-Residential Housing, Urban Design, Interiors, Small Projects, Adaptive Re-use and Public Art. Our track record of awards from AIA, AILA and PIA is a testament to the design capability of the studio to work across design disciplines and at varying scales. The common thread to all these projects is an abiding interest in city-shaping and place-making projects.

Complex Design

Architectural projects of scale are necessarily complex, and it is to this complexity that design can add value. Design can synthesize complex information, services, and programmatic requirements into a unified, rational, and legible whole. It can also bring delight and meaning, transcending the program of any brief and, as a result, transform infrastructure into city artefact or housing into place. At the core of any successful development, is the importance of people and their everyday experience.

Architecture is both an art and a science. Underlying all our design is an idea of construction. MWA have over the past 2 decades worked closely with engineers and builders, often on repeat projects and so we have a keen appreciation of structural and construction logic. We have developed a material palette that minimizes maintenance and eschews scaffolding finishes.  We are interested in buildings that become better over time, that improve with weathering and landscape development.

Design Approach

At the heart of MWA’s approach is an appreciation of place and program. Through research, analysis and an understanding of historic models and types, key design principles are developed. Site organisation is key. These principles provide a founding framework for the design. Ultimately a conceptual diagram is sought. A project narrative that communicates a unifying design idea through the complex process of authority approvals, stakeholder groups and technical requirements, regardless of scale or complexity. Much like the sculptural figure that is rolled down the hill, the arms fall off followed by legs and finally the head… till all you are left with is a torso.

We aim to make a good torso…balancing between the poetic and the pragmatic, the rational and robust, where disparate parts are coordinated and organised to create a unified and robust whole.


Our experience in over 20 years of practice has shown that the most successful projects are those built on respectful and trusting collaborations between architect, client and builder. We are interested in creating such relationships in which there is trust about what each party brings to the process and an implicit agreement about the quality of the project. The design of architectural projects is inherently complex, involving a raft of technical consultants and client inputs, in an iterative process. To repeat this process a 2nd, 3rd or even 4th time makes the process considerably more efficient, with greater potential to produce a quality outcome.

Many of MWA’s award-winning projects have been the result of this process, each project an improvement and refinement on the last. MWA’s extensive record of award-winning projects, ranges from the metropolitan scale of the North-West Metro, to the neighbourhood scale of the St Marys Social Housing Apartments, to the domesticity of the Laneway Studio. All are testament to design adding value and to leaving an enduring legacy of memorable places within the city.


Every project is an opportunity to design more with less. To question everything non essential. This is a whole project approach that includes efficient spatial planning, volume to wall ratios, as well as the strategic selection of materials and finishes. Not everything needs to be fully enclosed, circulation for example can and should be partially open. Not everything needs to be lined; Structure can be strategically revealed. Deep soil and landscape are at the foundation of our site planning, to reduce the urban heat island effect and promote bio-diversity. Nature can manifest more overtly in the everyday experience of the building, to improve well being and health.

MWA work with a carbon footprint calculator to understand the embodied carbon of all materials scheduled. We have further developed our strategy of integral material finishes to one that prioritises carbon neutral, ethically sourced, recyclable and biodegradable materials. MWA support supply chain decarbonisation. Gas has been removed from all projects. Solar powered full electrification, heat pumps and the like is coming.

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