Architect Profile: Luke Moloney,  Founder and Principal, Luke Moloney Architecture

Luke Moloney founded his firm in 2015 after working in award-winning practices in Sydney and London.

A firm believer in the benefits beautiful design can bring to people’s lives, Luke’s approach to architecture and design aims to make sustainable, comfortable places, tailored to the people who live in them. The practice focuses on quality residential and commercial architecture in city and country environments.

How would you describe your signature style and approach to architecture? 

I don’t think I have a specific style – each house is guided by the people whose home I’m working on – but in every, every instance it’s the product of long consideration of what the site will bear.

The Estate, Luke Moloney Architecture

I studied at UNSW at a time when the school ran very much along the lines of ‘think long and hard about the place, understand it before you add to it’. That stuck. 

I try as hard as I can to meet the client’s brief, while making sure that the buildings are good neighbours – don’t block views or overshadow or assert themselves in their context.  And on top of that try to design responsibly so our buildings respond to their climate, last longer, and run on less energy.

You have won and been nominated for multiple Awards. In your opinion, what makes award-winning architecture? 

A committee! 

When I was younger I truly (read: naively) believed that if you did good work, then clients and editors and awards juries etc would Just Know, and find you out and that was how it happened… Now I know it’s more complicated and I’d offer that award-winning architecture is sometimes more about what a group of jurors can agree upon rather than the work… I’ve had the same project panned by one jury and praised by another. I’m just hopeful the clients like the work I do for them. 

That said, it’s tremendously gratifying to see a few of my projects enjoy some time in the sun; I know the clients, builders and consultants involved are justifiably proud. 

Moss Manor, Luke Moloney Architecture

What is your ideal brief to work on? 

Too difficult to answer. A while ago we were asked to help design a villa on an island in the Pacific, and a small house on a tight site in inner Sydney. I was just as excited about each. 

Some of your largest projects have been in the Southern Highlands outside of Sydney. 

Luke Moloney, Luke Moloney Architecture

What is it about this area that you enjoy working in? 

I grew up in the country and while I’ve lived in the city most of my life, I love that the cards have fallen in such a way that I get to work on projects out of town. The highlands is a wonderful place to do work in – a place with its own sensibility, and getting to site usually involves a scenic road trip which never fails to lift the soul.   

What are the architecture and design trends you’re keeping an eye on at the moment? 

Oh – none. 

There’s so much out there… it’s overwhelming. A while ago I realised I enjoyed design more if I consumed less of it. It’s more important to me to get spaces right and make houses comfortable for the people who live there. It seems less of a throwaway approach.  

Moss Manor, Luke Moloney Architecture

What dynamics have made your most successful client relationships so successful? 

A sense of humour, and a sense of proportion. 

Tolerance of my two schnauzers (who come to every meeting) is a close third. 

What do you wish people did more of when undertaking a build or renovation

Think more about timelessness and less about trends, more about how they want to live in their home and less about whom they might sell the house to. 

Bowral House, Luke Moloney Architecture

Can you tell us a bit about your history and background as an architect, and how your business came to be?

Since I was a little kid I’ve always been interested in buildings. So things were straightforward – there was a vocation with a degree and a career that matched it. 

Providence gave me a great group of friends at university, who are all doing really interesting things in or adjacent to the profession now. They’ve been an invaluable support over the years. 

I gained work experience in great offices in Sydney and London, and had terrific mentorship notably from Howard Tanner and William Smart. 

My business came about unexpectedly when the opportunity to work on two homes – The Estate and Highlands House – fell into my lap in the same week. It seemed like the universe was signalling it was time to go out on my own. 

Those houses were dreamt and drawn up in the spare room on a computer teetering on upside-down laundry tubs because I wasn’t confident it’d work out, and didn’t want to do so much as buy a desk in case that tempted fate. 

Nine years later we’ve (my colleague Nic Santarelli and three dogs) moved into a little office space of our own. 

Small steps!

Luke Moloney


Moss Manor and Highlands House
Photos by Tom Ferguson, styling by Megan Morton.

The Estate and Bowral House
Photos by Tom Ferguson, styling by Claire Delmar.