Our Studio

Buildings that encourage a lifetime of good care, designed by people who understand what it takes.

With an intuitive understanding of the human experience and a combined 35 years of design under our belts, Colab Architects recognise the complexities of the care sector, delivering results that promote health and happiness at every stage of life. Working on child, aged, mental and educational care spaces, these buildings epitomise the intersection of empathy and expertise in architectural design with sharp focus on achieving the collective vision.


Our Team





Ruwani Fernando

Studio Manager


Troy Johnston

QA Director


Gerald Lock

Projects Director


Our Principles



A great idea may stem from us, but it is always crystalised by the expertise of all collaborators. Rounded by universal knowledge, we seek to grow ideas alongside engineers and builders who share our vision for creatively driven, thoughtful designs that integrate care into communities. It’s this cross pollination of ideas and broader discussions that result in the greater analysis and germination of where a project can be directed.



Creativity, buildability and realism are how we achieve projects satisfactory to all parties. Each scheme design that’s produced needs to be beautiful, fully achievable in the physical world and to the timeline and budget allocated. While many designs require variations through the course of a build, the idea of revisiting a design scheme once a development commences is not entertained. That’s why at the drawing board, we tick these three boxes, aligning all perspectives from day one.



We ensure the communication flow between the design team, builder and client is paramount and by embracing the latest techniques, we make the process seamless. This, in our opinion, is what makes a successful design – connection is integral to not only the inner workings of a project but also to keeping the client fully abreast of the process as it unfolds, from day one to when the keys are handed over.

How we work &
Our Process

Our process is proven because it’s adaptable. While following a structure, we always consider the human element in everything we design. We adapt to the brief in front of us and evolve with the expertise of our team and key collaborators.




Child Care

Spaces designed for growing minds – we have defined and re-defined a variety of childcare centres, approaching each with care and unwavering professional dedication. Our history showcases thoughtful adaptation of existing buildings and the creation of new, standalone facilities – centres and furniture tailored to the child’s world, encouraging play and early development. Our mark is widespread, with projects situated throughout suburbia and out to the city’s fringe, amongst growing communities and new housing developments. These diverse experiences have culminated a service responsive to site variation, whether sky rises, old stock re-invigoration or designing from the ground up, we identify unique solutions, never taking the cookie cutter approach.



Innovative design for next generation learning – at Co-Lab, we infuse every school project with creativity and genuine care, shaping environments from early childhood centres to primary and secondary schools. Our designs aim to breathe life into learning, with indoor spaces that adapt to the needs of each year level, while outdoor areas foster connection with nature, essential for the development of younger generations. Beyond the classroom, we deeply consider space for educators with design that supports both the lively dynamics of teaching and the quiet moments of preparation and reflection.


Age & Disability Care

What does it mean to be therapeutic designers? We believe it is about listening, to the intrinsic needs and vast differences of all demographics. Led by insight and then acting on intuition we create quality senior and disability living by investigating what makes a comfortable and practical environment – for them. Coalescing space with empathy and care, we deliver specialist disability accommodation under NIDS guidelines and work in tandem with health and age care professionals to achieve their visions.


Residential & Commercial

Enhancing everyday living and driving the hustle – for residential projects, we design to reflect unique livelihoods, always intrigued by the daily routine and the opportunity that exists to elevate it. Working with local builders, engineers and stylists we achieve dream homes with our collaborative approach, this aligns all voices from day one and appreciates people and their relationship with the surround.

Our commercial projects prioritise innovative designs that enhance productivity and engagement, considering the specific needs of businesses and their clients. Throughout our process, from conceptualistion to completion, we maintain a commitment to quality, sustainability, and the integration of style preference, ensuring each project contributes positively to Melbourne’s architectural heritage.

Through multiple design development phases, we strive for efficiency and optimal outcomes. While ideas are encouraged and strategies fully explored, a project, irrespective of its scale, is aligned to a budget that needs to be adhered to from the outset.

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