Beauty derived from colour, light and function with economical resolution.

Based in North Melbourne, Michael McManus Architects undertakes projects across Victoria.

Our work pursues spatial efficiency, as well as cost efficiency.  Within these parameters, we create beauty from how we organise space and utilise simple materials. Building performance and passive design are core interests of ours. 

We draw on the natural environment where possible to deliver outlook, natural light and connection to maximise our appreciation of space.

Architecture, interior design and landscape are holistically considered with each project. Sustainable design is rigorously pursued and each project improves upon learning from those past.

Since 2020, we're a carbon neutral business in operation terms. 

We are members of: Architeam, Australian Passive House Association, Architect’s Declare Climate & Biodiversity Emergency and Architect's Assist (Disaster Recovery Assistance)



Our role in design and construction is comprehensive. We also tailor our services to meet your unique needs.

  • Feasibility Studies

    Relevant before purchasing land, or when wanting to test if a project is feasible. We review planning restrictions, how a development might fit site and obtain a cost estimate.

  • Concept Design

    After establishing your brief, we analyse, measure and record site features and prepare design options for review. After feedback, a selected option is worked up to demonstrate its main features, with a cost estimate obtained.

  • Design Development

    Refining the design to select materials, dimensions, fittings, building systems, windows as well as cabinetry and lighting design.

  • Construction Documents

    Detailed drawings and specifications are prepared, enabling building permit review, accurate builder costing and comprehensive details to facilitate construction. These documents will form part of the building contract.

  • Tendering

    Suitable builders are selected to provide a tender. A clear tender format is established and an analysis of results provided for your selection.

  • Construction Services

    We proactively organise meeting, resolve unforeseens and address queries to maintain the design quality. As contract administrators, we prepare a fair building contract and act as an independent assessor of claims for payment, delay and variations.

  • Planning Applications

  • Building Permit Applications

Frequent Questions

It can difficult to know exactly what Architects can help with. We hope these questions help.
  • How long does the design process take?

    Our experience is that anywhere between 9-12 months (depending on planning application delays) is a realistic timeframe before construction can begin. This allows a reasonable time for feedback and discussion, while keeping momentum. There may be some initial waiting time that we can advise you of, before we can onboard your project.

  • What are your fees?

    After a complementary meeting with you to discuss your needs and the site conditions, we provide a proposal outlining the brief provided to us, our process in detail and our fees for all services up to completion. If additional elements are added our work along the way, we identify these early to you and advise our cost to coordinate them.

    We also advise likely consultant fees, to give you a full picture of professional fees to allow for.

    For some smaller projects, working at hourly rates may be more suitable.

  • What are your in-house capabilities?

    In a nutshell: Preparation of all construction documents, preparation of construction contracts, organisation of all permits, coordination of consultants including cost opinions, construction services including site visits and defect assessments, builder suggestions, tenders, and negotiation, lighting design, joinery design, 3d visualisations including daylight simulations, 3d walkthroughs, material samples.

  • What if we need to put the project on hold, or we need to cancel part way through?

    We can put projects on hold if needed. You may also cancel at any time, if all services provided up to that date are paid for.

  • Do you do interior design?

    Yes, we consider interiors fundamental to each project.

  • We're interested in sustainability. Is this something you have expertise in?

    We’re committed to finding and working with the most sustainable approaches possible within your budget. Re-use of buildings, smaller buildings and passive solar design are considerations in all projects. A lot of this basic and doesn’t cost extra.

    We’re also passionate and informed about more current sustainability concerns and technology. We design for solar photovoltaic system and effective rainwater capture and specify these items. We advise on efficient and electric building services to reduce energy use, as well as lower impact materials use.

    We’re currently auditing our own greenhouse gas emissions and carbon offsetting our business, to better understand our impact.

  • What elements are excluded from your work and the build that we need to allow for?

    The only elements typically excluded from our role and the building contract are: furnishings, window curtains and blinds and loose landscaping.

    Lighting, cabinetry, decks and pergolas are normally included in our works.

Case Study

The journey from beginning to completion that many of our projects take is illustrated by a case study our Kew Villa project.

Read more