The shaping of legacy

20 March 2023
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As part of a larger self-examination, Carr looks to explore the idea of legacy and its many iterations that evolve through the architecture and design process.

Both from a more personal level to an encompassing civic-specific impact, Managing Director Chris McCue speaks to what the new generation of the studio is focussing on and excited by, in shaping an enduring and conscientious influence.


Chris McCue, Managing Director photographed by Maegan Brown.

Having taken the helm as Managing Director of Carr in 2021 – 10 years after joining the practice – Chris McCue draws from his earned years of being a passionate advocate for lasting and enduring design.

As a continuation of the studio’s five decades to date, and reflecting on the unique point of difference Sue Carr has conjured and guarded, the next succession of custodians is readying.

“A large part of my role when I started at Carr in 2011,” describes Chris, “was to enhance the built architectural presence of Carr – with the focus to bring the idea of longevity and a sense of place into what we do in architecture, and to expand that beyond the residential sphere.”

Diversified approach

Now boasting an enviable and varied series of portfolios across commercial, residential and hospitality sectors, Chris’ leadership has evolved and strengthened Carr’s capabilities.

“Steadily we have been increasing our dual-sector capability and portfolio” adds Chris, “meaning the assets we are creating are broader – making the process more interesting and engaging for the studio.”

With Sue having clearly defined a style of restraint through an enduring contemporary lens over the years, the studio continues to leverage these design principles and processes to have a larger impact. “We make sure a building is appropriate to place and people as a core focus,” Chris adds, “working also with buildings that already have a narrative or heritage elements in place, allowing our work to have an even longer impact.”

We’re always asking where we can be at the vanguard of development, and what is the appetite for change.”

Chris McCue Profile
Managing Director
Rokeby Commercial Building, Collingwood.

An expanded impact

In advancing beyond the residential sphere, the expanded team is stirred by what is ahead. “As we start to take on larger scale projects, particularly those of a more public nature,” adds Chris, “this allows us to have conversations around the contribution of our buildings to the public realm.”

While the percentage of the population who may live within an architecturally designed home is small, there are opportunities beyond this to have a positive influence on cities. It is near to impossible to work, live or play in a city or urban setting and not interface with several architectural typologies. By increasing the capabilities of the studio and actively seeking larger scale projects of a stimulating nature, Carr is focused on the big picture. “We’re always asking where we can be at the vanguard of development, and what is the appetite for change,” says Chris, “we’re drawn to the complexities.”

We don’t see our role or purpose to fit just within one demographic. We see our value in enhancing an area through a specific approach.”

Chris McCue Profile
Managing Director
Refinery House, Brisbane. A bespoke designed and manufactured steel hanging rail is a functional but artful installation. Photography by Timothy Kaye.

Open mindset

By developing and harbouring relationships connected through similar values, the architect-client bonds have grown and anchored themselves over time. In aligning with key city-shapers of similar sensibilities and vision, Carr has been working toward this greater impact, piece by piece.

“We don’t see our role or purpose to fit just within one demographic. We see our value in enhancing an area through a specific approach, not just within specific locations.” Chris adds, “We have seen a number of shifts over the years, from developers responding to markets through a buoyancy and agility, and most recently find ourselves working with many who are working to expand their build-to-rent portfolios.”

In doing so, there becomes an ingrained and lasting investment in the building itself, and a need for it a lasting presence that avoids additional investment over time.


Having created an approach and philosophy that has been built on fortitude and resistance to trends, the future of Carr and its cascading effect on an expanding influence, is in safe hands.


Read more about our dual discipline projects due for completion in 2023.