Under the direction of Alexandra Buchanan, the ABA studio draws on traditional methods to deliver creative, practical and bespoke residential designs. We design beautiful, liveable homes that are collaboratively conceived, and individually crafted.
Our work is driven by approachability, personalisation and collaboration. We build a unique identity for each project – one that reflects the very best of our clients’ lifestyles. Our designs are influenced by the cultural diversity of our team and the breadth of our experience.
We start each project by learning about your ideal lifestyle – your favourite season, time of day, hobby you’d like to resume. Residential architecture should be all about you, which is why we will work as a partnership to bring your dream to a reality.
We explore and test the brief – as well as the peculiarities of each site and its environment – to ensure every project is bespoke, highly considered and intricately tailored to its context and its users.
Our team is highly skilled in delivering crafted homes that are timeless, memorable and loved. We can’t wait to talk to you about yours.
Founder / Director
RIBA BA (Hons) BArch (Hons) RAIA
Alexandra is a design-led architect with over 16 years of industry experience. She is registered in both Australia and the United Kingdom, and her work has ranged from public buildings, master-planning, bespoke residential and hospitality. Her founding belief is that the architectural journey should be collaborative, dynamic and enjoyable – with unique, elegant and practical solutions. Her approach to lifestyle design incorporates a respectful use of materials, passive design, and manipulation of light.
Alexandra graduated from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2001, and was nominated as one of the Top 100 Students by Building Design Magazine. She now leads a dynamic and talented team that is committed to solving the brief, meeting the budget and managing the ongoing challenges that a site and its context present. Alexandra takes great pride in the design delivery of projects that consistently exceed expectations.
Ami was born in Japan, has lived in China and Hong Kong, and travelled extensively throughout Asia. Her travels included a volunteer position in Sri Lanka where she worked with Habitat for Humanity, building much-needed homes for local people. Her exposure to a diverse range of cultures has enabled her to develop an architectural style that is responsive to context and cultural heritage, as well as honest in composition and detailing.
Ami has experience across all project scales and stages, and plays a central role at ABA. Since graduating from the University of Queensland with a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Architectural Design in 2012, Ami has been awarded an international Honourable Mention for her competition submission.
Shane has a passion for Architecture in its capacity to impact and improve the lives of the people that occupy buildings and their surroundings. He has lived, worked and studied between Brisbane, Australia; London, UK and Lund, Sweden; also partaking in UQ’s Japan Studio Masterclass run by RAIA Gold Medalist, Professor Brit Andresen at the Tokyo University of the Arts.
Growing up in the Far North, in a rural, agricultural town characterised by timber corrugated iron homes and the Australian landscape, Shane has a strong appreciation for architecture that intimately responds to the landscape, climate and surrounding context.
Working with ABA since 2016 Shane’s contagious enthusiasm for the process of design has become a fundamental part of the Brisbane studio. He brings a wealth of architectural experience and his unique drive and vigor is evident in his projects and his exploration of every brief.
James is based in ABA’s Melbourne studio. He has a Bachelor of Architectural Design from the University of Queensland and a Master of Architecture at the University of Melbourne. Since graduating in 2012, James has gained experience working on a variety of residential and urban projects in both Australia and the United Kingdom.
As an Architect James wants to play a positive role in ensuring urban resilience, citizen participation and inclusive development are key priorities in the cities of the future. In addition to his role with ABA, he is part of the Bower Studio at the University of Melbourne, which collaboratively builds, constructs and designs projects with rural Indigenous communities.
With a love of design, Melina thrives on the collaborative and constantly evolving nature of architecture. She gets a buzz out of the fact that each day is different and challenging.
Melina’s philosophy balances considered spatial planning with innovative ideas whilst always taking into account the design aesthetics, budget and how the building will ultimately be experienced. She strongly believes that architects play an important role beyond just designing pretty buildings, and that considered architecture contributes to a better quality of life.
Melina brings a diverse knowledge and expertise to ABA, with 15 years experience in project management and architectural roles in various small and large architecture practices and not-for-profit companies in Brisbane and in Papua New Guinea. Most recently Melina has been project architect on commercial, cultural and residential projects at Arkhefield and Bud Brannigan Architects.
She graduated with honours from the university of Queensland in 2007.
Luke Van de Vorst
BArch(Hons) Dip Building Des & Technology
Growing up, Luke worked on site with his father, a carpenter builder from the Sunshine Coast who specialised in the construction of Architectural houses. This inspired him to complete his formal education as a draftsman, going on to work for several architectural offices in Australia, whilst completing his bachelor degree at QUT. In 2015 he received an internship to work for MVRDV in the Netherlands. There he worked on projects such as the Nike Headquarters Europe, the Masterplan for the regeneration of Glasgow as well as Mirvac’s bid for the for Barangaroo Central development competition in Sydney.
Returning to Australia in 2016, Luke joined the ABA team, where he works part time whilst completing his Masters of Architecture at QUT. At ABA Luke greatly enjoys the reconnection with the intimate scale of residential architecture, understanding how clients live in their most personal spaces and facilitating the expression of the home as an extension of themselves. Luke’s grounded background in construction and drafting, leading on to his experience in high end architecture design has given him a well-balanced, practical and creative approach to his work.
Ashleigh, an aspiring architect and designer, always knew from a young age that she wanted to play a part in creating the spaces that people occupy. She developed an admiration for the building world from her dad, whose expertise as an engineer inspired her to respond to building structures and functions.
Ashleigh is now in her final year of her Bachelor of Architectural studies at QUT. She appreciates a deliberate design intent that considers a close relationship between the natural and built environment, as well as the conservation and activation of existing vernacular architecture. Ashleigh very much looks forward to graduating at the end of the year and being able to further develop her passion for architecture.
Office, PR & Marketing Manager
Anna McKinnon is our ever-smiling wing-woman in residence, helping us out with all things marketing, PR, events and office management. Anna believes that a swim in the ocean can fix any problem and never to underestimate the value of good, strong coffee. With a background in health and education, and three little kids in her tribe, Anna is a nurturing soul with a husky chuckle and plenty of energy for everything that’s hand-balled her way. Anna is reveling in being around the creative and clever team at ABA, fuelling her love of design, people, interiors and all things architecture. We love having this stylish Southerner in our studio, as she enables the rest of the ABA team to get on with designing your next dream home. Anna is your go-to lady for any press, media, PR, events, and office management.
Collaborators & Friends \
We design with a social, cultural and ecological conscience, always, to create environmentally responsible projects that delight and enhance the human experience.
Architecture and building delivery is a naturally collaborative process. Making the most of this ABA combines a unique team of highly skilled individuals from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds and educational experiences from Japan, Australia and the UK that bring a greater depth and richness to our design processes and ultimately our projects. With this our team are focused on creating dynamic environments & encouraging appropriate, progressive and collaborative design processes for every project.
We are a Revit based practice, which means that our 3D computer modelling software very quickly enables our clients to visualise design concepts allowing for a genuinely collaborative experience.
Marcia’s childhood as a two-time state sailing champion has endowed her with excellent life skills. Marcia earned her qualifications in Interior Architecture in Perth before moving to Shanghai, and finally Melbourne, where her curiosity has found a home. She has extensive experience working on commercial and hotel projects in China, and on multi-million dollar residential projects in Melbourne.
Marcia’s strong connection to the ocean gives her an appreciation of natural materials, composition, texture, light and shade. She understands how space and environments can powerfully affect one’s mood, senses and emotions. Marcia’s active mind plays a major role in core concept development, helping to create unique, engaging and honest environments.
Our Process \
Alexandra Buchanan Architecture is an emerging design practice specialising in residential architecture. Between them the team members have more than 20 years’ experience and develop creative bespoke, holistic ideas for every project.
ABA’s process is driven by a collaborative approach; one that enables a responsive, dynamic and rewarding process.
View our Portfolio
ABA is a design team with diverse experiences and skills from a range of cultural backgrounds that inform and enrich our processes. We have experience in architecture, interiors, photography and pro bono work with NGOs and architectural aid organisations in Australia and overseas.
ABA’s studio environment encourages each team member to bring their unique skills to the table to inform and ultimately enrich a final solution.
We begin each with workshops that explore and test the client’s brief and the peculiarities of each site and its wider context. Our findings and concepts are then distilled into what is the essence of ABA’s vision for the project.
This approach ensures that every project is bespoke, highly considered and intricately tailored to its context and its users.
Alexandra Buchanan Architecture is an A+ member of The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA), the peak body for the architectural profession in Australia.
The AIA represents 12,000 members working to improve our built environment by promoting quality, responsible, sustainable design.
Working with an Architect
Port Melbourne Heritage House:
“Alexandra Buchanan Architecture truly made our housing dreams become a reality!
The innovative design for our home provides a feeling of space and balance in our small inner city block, delivers some striking features that provides the house with an architectural edge and provides the softness that we demanded for our family home.
Alexandra engaged with us in a friendly yet professional manner, providing an excellent experience guiding us through each stage and the building tender. The ongoing support throughout the build was first class.
We personally loved the initial stages of the design process where we actively engaged with Alexandra Buchanan to discuss different taste, design and layout options. The resulting drawings and images were brilliant with some images providing 3D perspectives. Alex developed a strong relationship with our chosen builder, Rock City Building Group, and collectively produced an outcome that we just love living in every day.
Worthy of noting, when the council challenged our final design on a heritage overlay basis, Alex’s thoroughness in minuting meetings and seeking written confirmations on the directions provided from the council in a pre-planning meetings directly saved us time for approvals and a costly redesign.
Casey Grant and Daniel Murphy highly recommend Alexandra Buchanan Architecture.”
Cabarita Beach Shelter:
“Alexandra is an extremely talented and creative architect that has a true understanding of identifying a customer’s needs & wants whilst delivering the customer amazing results.
We used ABA to design a Solar shelter and usb hub for a local council project driven by an NGO in Tweed Heads. We thought we knew what we wanted but Alexandra exceeded our expectations with the results.”
Scott Black Diamond Energy
A couple of years ago we had the opportunity to purchase a large 1970’s house on acreage in the Gold Coast Hinterland. The property had been vacant for some time and was quite neglected. Knowing how amazing it could be, but without the vision to turn the “somewhat unappealing” yellow brick behemoth of a facade into something a little more tasteful, we decided to engage Alex from ABA to consult on how we could take this ugly duckling and make it our own!
From the initial meeting with Alex, we felt very confident in what we were going to be able to achieve and had a great experience working with ABA. From the brief to the concept, final design and execution, the process was seamless. Alex is a great listener, receptive to feedback, very honest and always careful to maintain the integrity of the design and the overall vision for the project.
We couldn’t be happier with the process and the result and we will definitely be working with them again on future projects.
Amazingly talented architect and I couldn’t recommend Alex more highly. My wife and I built our dream home along the Yarra River, North Warrandyte (30kms east of Melbourne).
A challenging project from the very beginning – planning restrictions, environmental overlays, wildfire overlays and more. Each challenge Alex managed to overcome with critical and creative design thinking (and loads of hard work). Turning the seemingly impossible into positive outcomes which would in-turn benefit the design as a whole. The result – we now have a beautiful home and life in the Victorian bushland with our two young children. It’s everything we could have dreamed of.
Alexandra Buchanan did an amazing job on our house and we couldn’t be happier with the result. She transformed what felt like a cramped little cottage into what now feels like a comfortable family home that will suit our family of 5 for years. Her use of skylights to bring in natural light, together with high ceilings makes our family room feel really spacious and is a lovely place for us all to spend time as a family. Her selection of finishes for bench tops and cabinets has been commented on by nearly every visitor who has come to look at the renovation, so we have been very pleased with what she has done. We love our new home!