Karen Wong
Studio Director
BArch (Hons), DipArch

British trained Architect with experience in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam and Australia, Karen brings an international perspective to Bates Smart and possesses the cultural understanding and communication skills to fluidly navigate a diverse and evolving market. 

Karen joined Bates Smart in 2012 and was promoted to Associate Director in 2014 and Studio Director in 2020. She has extensive experience in all stages of a project and all aspects of the design process. Karen always demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards and has worked on a large range of project types including masterplan, residential, sport, education, retail, hospitality and commercial.

Karen has exceptional communication and organisational skills and leads large teams on complex, mixed-use and masterplan projects. Recently Karen led the team on 85 Spring, a 43 storey residential and hospitality mixed-use tower, where she successfully navigated complex site constraints, developed the client brief, faced multiple technical challenges and managed a variety stakeholders. The outcome is a crafted, bespoke and sculptural design with an improved ground plane that contributes to Melbourne’s urban realm. 

Karen’s key strengths are at the front-end design stages of projects, where she enjoys working closely with clients and stakeholders to find appropriate solutions . Karen also frequently works with key clients to assist in the feasibility and purchase of potential sites, and is a key member of our business development and practice management teams. 

Karen has taught design thesis at University of Melbourne and is a frequent critic to student design studios. She sits on the board of the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Australia and is part of the Committee for Melbourne Future Focus Group Alumni.