Our work is a reflection of our ability to listen to our clients, assess their needs and fulfil their dreams. Our reputation is a reflection of our ability to go beyond the brief to exceed our client’s expectations.
Founded in 1990, Corben Architects is one of Sydney’s most experienced and respected architecture & interior design practices specialising in residential projects. Over 30 years we have designed and built over 300 projects, each one underlying our reputation for functional, elegant, high-quality architecture and outstanding client service.
We specialise in sophisticated and distinctive residential projects ranging from substantial new houses to smaller scale alterations and additions and boutique, multi-unit apartment developments. While the majority of our work is Sydney based, we have also designed retreats in the Snowy Mountains and luxury beach houses along the NSW coast.
Our approach is always to work closely with our clients, to ensure your ambitions are realised in a manner where everyone feels in control. Our project management skills ensure we deliver both great architecture and efficient project execution. We never forget that your investment in us is also an investment in your future.
Over the decades we have built up an intimate understanding of planning controls and procedures. In the process, we have nurtured an excellent working relationship with Councils to achieve a reputation for successfully negotiating development approvals.
We are proud to say all our work comes from client recommendations and referrals. Real Estate agents also cite our name in their listings. They know it stands for timeless design and quality architecture that will enhance the potential value of a property.
Our fundamental philosophy is we keep our designs responsive and uncomplicated. This allows the design ideas to develop with clarity. Our buildings are distinguished by their individuality rather than their similarity.
Contemporary and traditional
Our work encompasses a range of architectural styles from innovative contemporary design to more traditional architectural approaches including detailed heritage restoration work.
Functional and Innovative
We love to innovate, but our feet remain firmly on the ground. Our projects are renowned for thoughtful and functional planning, timeless elegance, liveability and quality craftsmanship. In short, we create homes that look great, last the test of time and are a joy to live in.
Context and Fit
We carefully listen to our clients to interpret their briefs and ambitions. We also analyse the context and attributes of the site to ensure we design buildings that sit comfortably within both their urban context and natural surroundings and maximise the potential of the location.
We are also committed to designing projects that adopt sound sustainable design principles that reduce energy usage and minimise their carbon footprint.
As much care on the inside as the outside.
By providing both architectural and interior design services within one practice, using the same CAD system, we deliver more comprehensive, coordinated documentation and a more integrated overall design. We simplify decision making and time management by having a ‘one-stop’ service that encompasses all aspects of your project.
By commissioning us to create your interiors, they are finished and furnished in keeping with the overall vision agreed for your project and ensuring a superior outcome that is beautiful, practical and cohesive. One that complements the architecture and stands the test of time. Our designers also manage procurement and maintain quality control, coordinating ordering and installation of all furnishings.
Our approach is to work closely with our clients to understand exactly what you want for your home and your lifestyle. We then investigate your desired lifestyle — the future story of your home — and use mood and concept boards to communicate the character, layout and feel of our proposed interiors.
Once colour schemes, materials, furniture and furnishings are agreed upon, we create detailed drawings for all key areas to show exactly how furniture, furnishings, lighting, joinery, fixtures and appliance selections will look & feel. Accompanied by a fully itemised budget, the end result is a highly considered design solution that meets your brief & budget and enhances your everyday living.
Corben Architects has an exceptionally talented team of over twenty architects, interior designers and administration staff. We operate in a collaborative work environment, one that encourages creative design solutions and the efficient execution of every project. We believe our success can be attributed to the fact that our three directors have worked together for over two decades and many of our staff have been with us for over ten years.
We use the latest Archicad CAD software to create detailed 3D models of our designs to provide a ‘virtual fly-through’ experience. As your project evolves, these walk-throughs are developed to incorporate interior and external finishes and specific detail.
Scope of Services
We provide a full range of services including pre-purchase advice, development feasibility studies, master planning, concept sketch designs and preparation of Development Applications, detailed contract documentation and full contract administration services through construction. We also prepare detailed cost planning budgets and programmes for every project as well as development feasibilities for developer clients.
Consultants and Builders
We work closely with a large number of experienced planning and engineering consultants. We have also worked with the very best builders and sub-contractors capable of building high-quality projects. We work as a team to provide a comprehensive service that ensures a seamless design and construction process.
Our fees are competitive and comensurate with our extensive experience, high level of design skill and client service.
Corben Architects has a flexible approach to fees and work on either a ‘fixed fee per stage’ or a ‘time and disbursements’ basis, up to a ‘not to exceed’ percentage fee, based on the final cost of the project including all internal fit-out, external works and landscaping plus GST.
Fees are competitive, transparent and commensurate with the extensive experience, high level of design skills and client services provided by Corben Architects.
Architectural fees are generally divided into the following stages:
- Concept/initial sketch design
- Full sketch design
- Design development to development application (DA) or complying development certificate (CDC)
- Contract documentation to tender and construction certificate
- Tendering, contract negotiations and contract signing with appointed builder
- Contract administration during construction
We also provide an in-house interior design service which can be fully integrated into your architectural project or used as a stand-alone service.
For the best advice on how to approach the fee structure for your project, please contact us and we will be more than happy to guide you through this process.
At Corben Architects we work as a team with our clients to ensure we achieve our mutual objective. To ensure every client is as proud of their project as we are of our architecture.
We typically undertake the project in the following 8 stages;
1 Initial Consultation
The project usually starts with an on-site meeting where we discuss your brief, budget and scope of works. We advise you on the nitty-gritty such as Council planning controls, authority requirements, heritage and Complying Development options (if applicable) and discuss the site conditions and opportunities, likely floor plan and level configurations. We will start to sketch up some rough planning concepts and give you a preliminary guide to construction and overall project costs. Depending on your expectations, this consultation may involve a fee. On completion, you will have a sound understanding of what is achievable to enable you to make an informed decision on how best to move forward with your project.
2 Concept/Initial Sketch Design
Should you wish to proceed to the next step, we formalise the brief, budget and architectural style of building you are seeking. We undertake a measure up of your existing property (for alterations and additions), coordinate the preparation of a site survey and translate all this information into a detailed 3D terrain model of the site, showing the existing building and its surrounding structures. We then work out planning options that respond to your brief and prepare floor plans and section drawings as well as a basic 3D model of the design which we present to you as a fly-through 3D model. We also prepare an opinion of cost estimate incorporating the entire construction, consultant and authority costs.
3 Full Sketch Design
We take your initial feedback from the concept design to fine-tune our planning and develop the building into a fully developed design solution with detailed floor plans, sections, elevations and 3D model. We also provide recommendations on materials and finishes and update the opinion of cost estimate to capture any design changes and further brief expectations. We may then take this full sketch design to Pre-Development Application (DA) meeting with Council.
4 Design Development & Development Application (DA)
Once the full sketch design has been signed off, we further develop the design and upgrade the architectural drawings to incorporate all the requirements of the DA submission to Council. We also seek fee submissions, appoint and coordinate the team of expert consultants required to prepare the drawings and reports that need to accompany the DA. These may include planning, landscape, geotechnical, heritage, hydraulic, photomontage and Basix consultants. We then lodge the entire DA submission on the NSW Government Planning Portal for assessment by Council.
5 Council and Neighbour Negotiations
With the DA now submitted, we monitor the advertising process and review and advise on any neighbour submissions. We liaise with the assessing planning officers, discuss any potential changes and resubmit the drawings and reports as negotiated with Council. If required, we present the design to Council’s independent planning panel. Once approved, we review, circulate and discuss the requirements of the DA consent conditions.
6 Contract Documentation to Construction Certificate and Tender
Once approved by Council, we prepare the detailed construction documentation including plan, section, elevation and detailed drawings, specifications, select fixtures, fittings, materials and finishes and translate these into schedules. We coordinate all the structural, civil, hydraulic, mechanical and electrical engineering consultant drawings required to detail the proposed works and ensure accurate budgeting and tendering. Again, we update our opinion of cost estimate to capture any design, finishes and scope of works changes. We also prepare and issue all the necessary information to the Private Certifier to issue the Construction Certificate which provides the formal approval to construct the building. Given the ultimate success of any project is in the detail, this is a critical stage to ensure we have a comprehensive set of documents that enables the contractor to build the building to meet your expectations.
7 Tender Process
Given our extensive body of built work, we have a close working relationship with a broad range of respected builders capable of delivering high-quality homes. We discuss the options for selecting a builder and then issue the drawings and specifications to several builders for either fixed price, cost plus, or construction management tendering.
We respond to tender queries, review tender submissions, conduct interviews, and provide recommendations on the most suitable builder before preparing the building contracts for signing with the selected builder.
8 Contract Administration
During construction, we oversee the administration of the building contract which includes responding to builder queries, attending and minuting regular site inspections and meetings, monitoring quality control including specification and workmanship, assessing progress claims and variations as well as issuing progress certificates authorising payments to the builder. When nearing construction completion, we carefully inspect the work, prepare defects lists and assist in compiling all the necessary certificates for the issue of the occupation certificate. Whilst our contractual obligation is to fairly administer the construction contract we act as your representative to ensure the entire construction process is undertaken as seamlessly as possible and ensure your design and budget expectations are fully realised.