Reaching New Heights – Luke Fry Architecture
Melbourne, Australia

Photography Damien Kook & Derek Swalwell
Words Camille Khouri

A singular project for a family member kick-started architect Luke Fry to create his own studio. Since then, Luke Fry Architecture has risen to become an award-winning Melbourne firm with a focus on refined new builds and high-end multi-residential projects.

Classes in arts and graphics held a young Luke Fry’s attention at high school. After a brief detour into the world of aeronautical engineering, he wound up being accepted for an interior design course. “I took it with the intention of transferring later, but once starting the course I felt right at home. At the end of First Year, I made the commitment to study architecture.”

Luke Fry Architecture’s Chaddesley Ave project involved bringing light and a sense of connection into a stately art deco style home.

Having found his calling, Luke went on to cut his teeth at some of Melbourne’s biggest and brightest firms, including Jackson Clements Burrows Architects, Rob Mills Architects and Travis Walton Architects. “To be honest, I was probably never the best employee; I always knew I’d have my own practice and could never settle until I had it,” he recalls.

And have it he would. Luke Fry Architecture was launched in 2014 and, despite also juggling the needs of a young family, Luke has never looked back. Proudly multidisciplinary, Luke Fry Architecture takes a cohesive approach to design and building, allowing interior design and architecture to inform one another. The studio of six consists of a mix of architects and interior designers, and both disciplines are given equal weight in the work they produce.

Proudly multidisciplinary, the firm takes a cohesive approach to design and building, allowing interior design and architecture to inform one another.

Tourquay Beach House uses a palette of raw concrete and exposed brick, brought to life externally with Japanese charred timber battens to create a modern, refined home.

Maintaining strong relationships with, and respect for, tradespeople is important to Luke, whose father and brother are both builders, so the studio also prides itself on having a collaborative design and build process. “As a practice, we spend a lot of time initially setting up the framework for the brief, which ensures we have the foundations for a successful project moving forward. This includes listening, informing and having those really important (and sometimes difficult) conversations early on.”

Using proven and honest materials, Luke Fry Architecture sees detail as equally important to the overall form of a building. The intention is to create buildings with aesthetic and structural longevity. “We like to keep things simple and refined in terms of form, creating spaces which age well and aren’t overtly linked to a particular era or point in time,” says Luke. “There is a lot to be said for the materials we have been using for centuries and form part of buildings which are still standing today – concrete, brick, timber, steel.”

Using proven and honest materials, Luke Fry Architecture sees detail as equally important to the overall form of a building.

Armadale House sees a heritage home brought into the modern day with a contemporary new extension and a gentle refurbishment of the existing building.

Luke is currently designing his own home in St Kilda. Created from pre-cast concrete, the home will exemplify his design style as well as his appreciation for practicality. “We are exploring greater use of colour and really practical yet refined details. Think of it like a residential version of an Aesop store.”

Although 2020 has brought obvious challenges, Luke Fry Architecture has experienced a self-proclaimed breakthrough year and has a number of multi-residential projects on the books for 2021. “The most exciting project we are currently designing is a brand new, over 500m2 penthouse on top of a beautiful heritage-listed building, The George Hotel, in St Kilda, Melbourne. It will be one of the most unique properties in the country, with unobscured views of the CBD, Albert Park Lake and Port Phillip Bay,” says Luke.

The studio is focused on producing architecture with practical yet refined details and a pared-back palette.

This year saw Luke being shortlisted as an Emerging Design Star in the 2020 Belle Coco Republic Awards, and if that wasn’t enough, he is also set to enter the nation’s living rooms. He has recently finished shooting for a new national TV show to be aired later this year, Australia’s Best House. “I got a text message from a friend saying:‘I’ve just put you forward for a TV role, expect a phone call tomorrow,’ and it went from there. I wasn’t seeking a role in the media but sometimes life gives you these opportunities. I was thrown in the deep end, but I like that way of learning. I hope the show is a success and would love to do it again.”

Forays into the world of showbiz aside, Luke’s heart remains with his studio and the work of creating great, user friendly architecture. “Ultimately what we are trying to achieve is a lifestyle for our clients,” says Luke. “Key projects will change the way our clients live: that’s what we focus on.”

“Ultimately what we are trying to achieve is a lifestyle for our clients,” says Luke. “Key projects will change the way our clients live: that’s what we focus on.”

Published 28 January, 2021
Photography  Damien Kook & Derek Swalwell
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