Australian Institute of Architects


Philip Leeson Architects Pty Ltd

Unit 4 9 McKay Street

Ph. 02 6295 3311 Fax 02 6295 6430


Philip Leeson Architects Pty Ltd is a Canberra practice with an established record of architectural, planning and heritage and conservation services to private and public sector clients. The practice has developed a reputation for its client oriented approach and strong design focus in the design of housing, commercial, institutional and public buildings.

The practice was established by Philip Leeson in 1996. Senior staff include architects David Hobbes, Alanna King, Sarah Truscott and interior designer Kate Montgomery.

This enduring relationship has fostered a like-minded approach to projects and the development of a consistent and proven platform for delivery of our services.

Project profiles

Altman Hinkson House

Forrest ACT, 2013

The modest 1920s cottage required a comprehensive renovation to redress the effects of a 1970s insensitive reworking that masked its original picturesque qualities. The client’s brief called for a new gallery and study and for the house to be modernised throughout to provide a backdrop to their vast indigenous art collection. In response, the new gallery study was added to the eastern end recapturing the symmetry of the original house and the heavy veranda was replaced with a finer pergola, restoring the stream of natural light into the house. Internal circulation was simplified and arranged along two cross axes. The gallery features high raked ceilings and expressive boxed windows with the smaller being off-set slightly to allow the display of artwork on the cross axis. Projects like these throw up many challenges including the discovery of brick-on-edge interior walls, an early 20th century cost saving measure; broken structural beams under a roof top hot water tank and decayed floors resulting from poor sub-floor ventilation. The project benefited from a highly flexible and practical builder and understanding clients who all took these exigencies in their stride.

Embassy for the Kindom of the Netherlands

Yarralumla, ACT, 2013

The new Dutch Embassy in Yarralumla, for its small footprint, exudes a powerful presence on its site. It is a piece of architecture unfolding as naturally as possible in response to its brief as well as physical setting. The brief required a highly environmentally responsive and durable new building. The brief also adopted the new Dutch government organisational model where enclosed office cubicles are minimised in return for a greater range of flexible workspaces that encourage social interaction and collaboration. The compact, rectangular volume is divided over two floors, with a spacious interior and rational construction. A slatted timber mantle wraps around the building and is shaped to provide solar control and to define the amount of enclosure across each facade. As the social and representative heart of the building, the central two-storey hall links and structures the building

Harvey Taylor House

Yarralumla, ACT, 2014

Designed around a common appreciation for traditional Japanese architecture by client and architect, the Harvey Taylor House was reinterpreted for an Australian context in a leafy suburban street. External masonry walls and cobblestone terracing extend into the house, blurring lines between interior and exterior. The vertical entry space leads into a recycled timber lined circulation spine which wraps around a northern courtyard, opening up the house to the outdoors. Concealed lighting hidden in the slatted timber ceiling adds a theatrical touch to the beautifully crafted interior. Living spaces are defined by higher ceilings, clerestory windows and a change in flooring. Golden wallpaper and textured tiles line the ground floor wet areas, while the main bathroom houses a traditional deep-soaker wooden bath. The ground floor concludes with a Japanese tea-room, pairing traditional principles with an Australian aesthetic. The first floor area provides additional sleeping and office space with balconies overlooking the courtyard. This project was made possible through a deep commitment to quality and experimentation from the client, architect and builder. The result is a light-filled family home that has a strong connection to the outdoors and celebrates craftsmanship and attention to detail.

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