Ngaio Chalmers

Associate Partner, RAIA

BArch (Hons)


“Architecture is about listening, and the voices of many.”

As an Associate Partner at ClarkeHopkinsClarke, Ngaio’s vision, expertise and influence shape our Mixed-Use and Urban Design team and our broader practice. She’s pivotal in helping to set our strategic direction, create opportunities for innovation and business development, and nurture relationships with clients, stakeholders and design collaborators.

Ngaio is highly regarded for impact-focused community architecture and masterplanning, including high-profile urban renewal projects like the University of Tasmania’s Sandy Bay campus and community infrastructure projects including Hamilton Hub in regional Victoria and the Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation’s Ceduna Arts and Cultural Centre in South Australia. She frequently leads engagement and project visioning on complex projects involving multiple stakeholders. Her diverse expertise includes community, retail, mixed-use, town centre, multi-residential and educational design. As a graduate in Aotearoa she worked on civic projects including The National Library and the Supreme Court of New Zealand.

Ngaio is a strong advocate for inclusivity, engagement and co-design, and community focused to her core. She is a member of the Architecture + Design industry’s RAP RING (Reconciliation Industry Network Group), a non-Indigenous member of ClarkeHopkinsClarke’s First Nations Design group working to embed designing with Country into commercial practice, and a co-founder of our IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) group.

Empathetic, insightful and a pleasure to work with, Ngaio joined ClarkeHopkinsClarke in 2010, drawn by shared values around building better communities together, advocating for the best outcomes and equity, and designing with as many different users of our projects as possible. She worked closely with Partner Dean Leady on the research and development team of our placemaking book and methodology, Creating Vibrant Communities, which she sees as a robust process for involving communities in design from project inception to delivery, and finding ways for them to stay involved long-term.

A practice leader and engagement specialist, Ngaio has become a driving force in our First Nations Design group, co-founded in 2019 by James Gilliland (Yorta Yorta) to build our designers’ awareness, cultural capacity and resources. The group is partnering with RMIT’s Yulendj Weelam Lab to elevate our capacity and impact on projects, helping our designers build their own relationship with Country, and advocating for design that responds to the climate crisis by helping to regenerate places and communities.

Selected Work

Melbourne City Childcare Clarke Hopkins Clarke 02 Melbourne City Childcare Clarke Hopkins Clarke 02

Kids on Collins

Inner-city heritage building transformed into a state-of-the-art childcare centre