Matthew Woodward: alumni profile

Alumnus Matthew Woodward

Acclaimed architect Matthew Woodward is known for masterfully combining the functional with the aesthetic, bringing to the forefront the beauty of the natural environment and being ecologically sensitive in his designs.  

What has your path been since graduating in 2004?

I studied at Newcastle University completing a Bachelor of Design (Architecture) in 2007. 

In 2007, I started working at Jorge Hrdina Architects before enrolling in a Master of Architecture. I continued to work part-time while completing the Master of Architecture degree in which I graduated with Honours in 2010. 

I then joined the team at BVN Architecture, working on many private residences, large scale residential, and mixed use developments, before establishing Matthew Woodward Architecture (MWA) in 2013. It has now grown from a solo practice of one, to a team of seven full-time employees with different cultural backgrounds and skill sets. 

What do you love most about your job?

Working with people to bring creative design ideas into reality. Whether it’s our visionary clients, specialist consultants or talented craftsmen, architecture is fundamentally the result of human interaction and collaboration. It’s a journey that we all endeavour together to create something that is truly special. 

It’s incredibly satisfying experiencing the finished product onsite that has taken years’ worth of planning. And sharing this with the people that have put so much hard work and effort into it makes it even more memorable. 

Matthew Woodward and his working team
The MWA team
MWA has built a reputation for designing high-end homes connected to their natural surrounds. Of your projects, what has been the highlight to date? 

I would have to say working on a rural project in the Megalong Valley which would become a country retreat for a family of four generations. The project is called ‘Stonelea’ and was complete in 2020. 

Stonelea is located on country traditionally owned and cared for by the Dharug and Gundungurra people. 

It is a rugged landscape with pockets of dense Eucalyptus trees, shear rock escarpments and rolling golden plains of open grasslands, boarded by the magnificent Cox’s River. 

The climate is dynamic and extreme with temperatures fluctuating drastically throughout the day in summer and winter. 

The brief was to create a family home that had a feeling of country honesty and earthiness. It was to be quintessentially Australian with sprawling generosity between inside and outside spaces.

We had trusting clients that instilled confidence in the entire project team. We collaborated with skilled consultants and contractors that were committed to the task and believed that we were creating something unique and truly special. 

It was a great project and each time I return to the house it feels more and more like it belongs as it settles into the surrounding landscape. 

Megalong Valley
Where do you see the next 10 years taking you?

I’m looking forward to seeing our practice grow and evolve as new projects are complete and opportunities arise. We are currently working on alternative project typologies such as a boutique public Wellness facility in the post-industrial precinct of Balgowlah. 

I am also looking forward to ways that I can start to give back to the profession of Architecture. Whether this is through participating in the Australian Institute of Architects award jury panels or by teaching and mentoring students at University. 

What advice would you give current students who are interested in perusing a similar career path?

Go for it! Believe in your instincts and if architecture and the built environment excites you then don’t be afraid to pursue it and give it a go. 
There are always alternative routes to achieving your goals. Architecture is a creative profession and often architects complete their best work later in their career as they have life experience to pull from. 

It’s a wonderful profession where you are constantly learning and being challenged. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to your high school self?

To not be disappointed by a result if given 110% effort and to stay positive and optimistic.