Our team is our engine, and our designs consider the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Every client and project is different and exciting, and we’ve developed a clear process that gives us room to be totally creative and brings attention, passion and energy to our project (while the process takes care of itself).

Cathi Colla Architects began in 2000 from an old shopfront in Carlton North. We are now a well-established local practice, specialising in contemporary residential architecture — with a focus on sustainability, context and community. 

Our practice draws together over thirty years of architecture, design and teaching. Cathi has also worked in locations as far-reaching as New York and the Netherlands and is a trained artist.

Though we’re now based in inner-city Melbourne, we also continue to create projects in country NSW, in particular Orange (Cathi’s hometown) and districts, and the NSW South Coast.

“Cathi and her team are nothing short of amazing. We have an old heritage home, which needed updating. CCA were able to make our house feel modern and contemporary while still being true to the feel of the house.  When people visit our home having seen the miraculous transition from before to after they always ask for the name of our architect. This is a tribute to the great work CCA did.”

PE, Fitzroy North


Environment Sustainability

Creating environmentally sustainable architecture shouldn’t just be the latest trend. We believe each project should be considered with the environment front of mind. We optimise solar energy and thermal mass, whilst we minimise energy, material use and carbon footprint.

What this means for you is feel-good design, with lower energy costs, improved liveability of spaces and a smaller environmental impact of the energy-intensive construction process.

Social Sustainability

We love our local community, and we strive to positively contribute to it in every way we can. Our designs consider the needs of the project and the site, and also the needs of your neighbourhood and the wider community.

We design with the future of you, your community and your neighbourhood  in mind.

Economic Sustainability

Your journey to great design should be a worthwhile investment – for you and your family. We provide guidance and support to instill confidence in your economic decisions. 

Your budget is important to us. We design to your aspirations and financial objectives and our goal is to give you optimised space, commodity and delight while keeping your budget front of mind.

We also aim to support local economies through partnering with local consultants, sourcing and building with local materials and products as a priority —and through making many visits to our favourite Rathdowne Street cafes and (almost) next-door Italian pasticceria!


“Cathi and team have done a fabulous job to design and renovate our lovely home. They listened to what we needed, and were smart, creative and thoughtful every step of the way. The team was always responsive and resourceful when required. We love our renovated home. We cannot thank Cathi and her team enough!“



With nearly 30 years in the architecture industry, Cathi Colla has carved her niche in creating strategic design solutions, great communication with clients, consultants, builders and other project stakeholders. Cathi has worked with eminent architects in amazing locations, and on high-profile projects (Eisenman Architects in New York, Teun Koolhaas in the Netherlands, Eeles Trelease in Sydney and Denton Corker Marshall, Melbourne – just to name a few). Cathi is an architect, an artist, and a keen supporter of women in a male dominated industry.

A listener and strategic thinker, Cathi loves to get to the heart of the matter – and design a solution. Cathi loves honesty and is inspired by integrity. This means there is meaningful, authentic, and sometimes tough, conversation – understanding with relevance, interest and appropriate responsive – without the fluff.

As leader of the CCA team, Cathi is design lead setting the goals and mood of each project with our mighty team. With Cathi’s endless enthusiasm, she loves nothing more than getting to understand the challenges of each new client, and their project’s very individual requirements.


Vera is a German trained architect. She fell in love with Australian architecture on a placement in Melbourne during her studies.

Vera is drawn to the playfulness and connection between architecture and the Australian landscape. Over her 20 years of work in Australia, Vera has synergised her eye for detail, calm nature and collaborative approach to work with clients to pursue their dream for a beautiful and functional space.

When not at work, Vera cares for injured native wildlife, is an active leader in a local bushwalking club and is an avid gardener with a green thumb and love for native gardens.

Vera can be contacted via vera@cathicolla.com


Always up for a cuddle and quick to give the occasional nudge to remind us that we’ve been at the desk too long, Pepper is the most recent addition to our studio.

Pepper is much loved by those passing by the studio window, and of course, by us. Pepper’s interests include snoozing in the afternoon sun. Her passions include food, food, walking, more food, and… food.

Are you thinking of renovating or building from scratch, but feeling overwhelmed?

We offer a free 20-minute phone conversation with an architect to help you understand what’s possible for your project, get to know our process, and discover what is required to deliver the best outcomes.