Smart Design Studio - Sydney Architects


A new boutique development for Bondi

Twenty Hall is a boutique apartment and retail building located metres from Bondi Beach. Comprising ten generous apartments atop a corner retail tenancy, it’s a contemporary extension of the original Bondi Post Office. The design respectfully retains the original building fabric from the 1920s whilst sculpting new fenestrations that reference the existing architecture. The corner position has an established angled geometry that the new building adopts with angled sandstone blades to filter views, protect glass from the hot summer sun and offer privacy.

To read more click here


Stokes 18 is a ‘big cousin’ and neighbour to our own studio, Stokes 14. It transitions from the lower scale of the adjoining heritage conservation area to the emerging city centre of Green Square City. In a similar way to our studio, Stokes 18 runs off the energy that it produces, which is estimated to be 1.3 times its annual consumption. To achieve this, 400 solar photo-voltaic panels are integrated into the facades and roof and are coupled with battery storage. Concurrently, the building is designed to be very low energy in operation, which is achieved through energy-efficient fixtures and fittings, natural cross-ventilation, daylight harvesting and minimising AC.

To read more click here

Christina Markham

Join SDS Studio director Christina Markham architect at Sydney’s Tusculum on Friday 1st Mar 2024 at 12:30 pm for In Conversation – Queering Architecture. This panel discussion will investigate the modes of queering architecture in the built form and our profession and will be moderated by Australian Institute of Architects Institute’s CEO, Cameron Bruhn.  Also taking part in the lively conversation are Director of Co-AP, Will Fung and Alison Cox, campaigner for gender neutral bathrooms to be mandated in the National Construction Code.

Click here find out more. ⁠

Approval granted for a mixed use tower in Bondi Junction

Development Application has been approved for a 19-storey mixed use tower in Bondi Junction that combines striking design elements with environmental initiatives. The sculpted design is a response to maximising panoramic harbour views for the occupants and their neighbours.
The building is modulated by a scalloping of the façade. On the southern side, it splits into two slender parallel forms. Apart from enabling natural light and ventilation into the corridor, this articulates the tower on the narrow lane frontage. For more, click here

A look at 25 years of SDS

2023 marks 25 years of Smart Design Studio. Since the inception of the studio, we have completed many projects and we are proud of them all. The scale and budgets may have varied, but our approach remains the same – architecture from the inside out. Thank you to all our clients, designers, consultants and the makers who have been part of this journey.

Click here to view a selection of projects that have helped define the image of our company.

A look at 25 years of SDS

Smart Apartment
A red lacquered joinery wall was central to the transformation of an innercity apartment. Running the full length of the space, it houses all the utilities: kitchen appliances, laundry, AV equipment, wardrobe and general storage much like a very compact and functional Swiss army knife.

632 Bourke
Conceived as a contemporary steel and glass insertion within an existing masonry shell, 632 Bourke consists of a basement with two levels of work space and a rooftop apartment above. Formerly two adjoining terraces with rear stables, the building occupies a prominent corner position in Surry Hills.

White Rabbit
The White Rabbit Gallery commission involved the conversion of a large, freestanding brick warehouse and its rooftop to accommodate four floors of gallery space, a tea-house, digital media theatre, reception, car parking and an artist-in-residence studio.

Behind the original façade, the HQ of the Australian Performing Rights Association is an integrated re-think of a structure from last century. Awarded the AIA NSW Milo Dunphy Award for Sustainability in 2009, its now naturally ventilated, digitally illuminated and alimented with re-used rain water while maintaining its integrity.


Pacific Sixteeen
A simple and strong diagram was developed comprising three components: a series of three storey-high, cantilevered blades that allow views while maintaining privacy, a large dark-grey block which forms the building’s visual foundation and an excavated, retained and planted ground area.

Saatchi & Saatchi
The reconfiguring of a dockside warehouse to accommodate the new Saatchi & Saatchi headquarters in the historical Rocks area of Sydney implied an affirming of the coherency of the original structure, along with the creation of a highly functional, BCA compliant contemporary space.

This exciting renovation and extension of a turn-of-the-century terrace focuses on a grand spiralling stair that forms the pivotal junction of old and new. Maintaining the original Federation façade, the clearly expressed four-storey addition is a contemporary, light-filled environment that opens onto a terraced garden.

Brougham Place
Brougham Place is a new home, office and apartment in Sydney’s Potts Point. It presents as two concrete boxes sitting over a wall made from sandstone salvaged from the site.  Above the plinth, the concrete boxes feature large openings infilled with multi-coloured louvre blades, inspired by heritage colours of the area.

The transformation of Orama involved both restoration and a new addition to the Victorian villa in Sydney’s Woollahra. A striking double-height living room forms the nucleus of the extension. Separated by a century and a half, the heritage house and minimalist concrete extension are united by exceptional craftsmanship.

Crown 515
Comprising a ground-floor commercial space and five apartments on two upper floors, Crown 515 presents a dynamic form to the street, reinterpreting the traditional terrace row and corner building in a contemporary design of angular shapes and shimmering tessellated tiles.

Sydney 385
At Sydney 385, a building of 10 apartments in Balgowlah, our aim was to make exemplar infill architecture. The outcome is unprepossessing but of high quality, with serene interiors that enjoy double height balconies, with a sunny, urban outlook in one direction and a leafy outlook towards the Pacific Ocean in the other.

Arlington Grove
This former industrial site in Dulwich Hill has been converted into 246 well-planned apartments arrayed around a series of leafy courtyards and lanes. Brick compliments both the neighbouring housing stock and the larger buildings while the deep vertical blades form a brise soleil to assist in passive solar control.

Indigo Slam
A piece of sculpture to be lived in, this exciting project fronts Central Park in Sydney’s Chippendale, creating an inspiring residence for an art collector with serene living spaces and monumental halls behind a façade of sculpted concrete.

Home to 178 apartments and retail on the ground floor, this 13-storey building reads as a series of boxes or cubes suspended in the air. The façade is clad in a brushed copper composite-aluminium whose warmth recalls the red brick found in the local area. Deep fixed louvres tackle privacy and solar control.

This two-storey extension to an historic family home was conceived as a contemporary landscape structure. It plays to a landscape palette established in earlier work. It’s viewed as a single storey structure from the main house and as two-storeys from below where 6 metre sliding doors are integrated into the facade.


Bathurst 60
Bathurst 60 appropriates the surrounding fabric of the city to create Australia’s tallest brick building for this mixed-use hotel and residential development. This striking 27-storey building comprises a 5-star hotel within the 8-level podium, and 95 premium residential apartments in the tower above.



The genesis of four buildings arranged around a grand fig tree in Newmarket were the angled precast concrete blades. These rhythmical vertical elements form elevated roofs for the top floor apartments and provide protection from the hot summer sun while allowing the winter sun without the reliance on blinds or louvres.

Pipi is a beautifully-sculpted building comprising 29 apartments atop ground floor retail in the heart of Bondi. Combining terracotta battens with light-grey concrete, the arrangement of the street balconies, screens and intermediate bedrooms creates the architectural expression of the building while managing sun and privacy.



Central to the transformation of a grand Victorian terrace in Sydney’s Paddington was the conversion of an existing single storey garage into a contemporary infill structure that houses a spacious stair and lift connecting all five levels. A narrow full height slot window connects the historic facade to the new brick form.

Nickson 61
At Nickson 61 the bold new peeling form provides contrast to the existing built form that was restored to its original Victorian detail. The 3 metre wide sculptural form is carefully considered to retain the expression of adjacent terrace envelope, while strategic slots in the façade open to the street corner and sky.

Smart Design Studio was the successful architect in a competitive process to design the Rail Operations Centre, the control centre for the Sydney Train network. Our concept sought to distinguish itself from the neighbouring buildings by expressing its function as a piece of railway infrastructure.

Smart Design Studio
Stokes 14 comprises the adaptive reuse of a Post-War industrial warehouse, into commercial and residential uses. The key move was to transform an existing warehouse into a carbon neutral building, with four self-supporting brick-lined catenary vaults forming the sculptural roofs of the Caretaker’s residence above.

Amara comprises substantial alterations and additions to a two-storey freestanding Federation Arts and Crafts residence. The renovation celebrates what was good about the old part of the house, while clearly expressing new work. The two distinct styles are linked by fine craftmanship and a restrained palette of materials.

Science Gallery Melbourne
Occupying 3600 sqm over two levels, this dynamic new gallery consists of flexible exhibition, workshop and theatre spaces; an artist-in-residence laboratory and social areas for collaboration and interaction. A kit-of-parts was developed so that the exhibitions can be changed over with minimal waste.

Nestled within a refurbished inner-city laneway in Sydney’s Surry Hills, Beau is a bespoke 200sqm hospitality venue spread across two separate ground floor tenancies for the Nomad Group. Both spaces are anchored by monolithic bars and kitchen benches, continuous leather banquettes and solid oak tables.

The scaffolding is coming down at Nautilus, the premium residential development on the waterfront at Shell Cove. The building’s form in section is sculpted as a modern interpretation of classical column structure. The white concrete curved blades take their cue from the graceful shapes we found in the coastal environment.


25 year celebration

25 years celebration

Drawing inspiration from a beloved song dressed in our favourite colour white we celebrated 25 phenomenal years at Smart Design Studio.

Below is William’s speech from this special night spent with friends, clients, and staff, both past and present.

We’re gathered here in the Utzon Room on Bennelong Point on Gadigal land. I’d like to thank the traditional owners of this special place for their custodianship of these lands and pay my respects to their elders. 2023 will be shaped by the referendum on their Voice: and I hope together we can create some positive change. I also want to acknowledge my elders and thank:

  • my mum Jeanette who’s come from country WA to be here. And to thank
  • Alex, Veronique, Jane, Kerrie, Kayla, Christina and Jim for organising tonight, and
  • John, who’s been an unbelievable support to me and SDS for the past 23 years.

When I left Australia in 92, I set out on 5 years of travelling that ended in Sydney. I was inspired by the song ‘Being Boring from 1990. I loved the Pet Shop Boys treatment and the lyrics that seemed to be speaking to me then as they do again now. In part it goes…

I came across a cache of old photos
And invitations to teenage parties
“Dress in white” one said, with quotations
From someone’s wife, a famous writer
In the 1980s,
When you’re young you find inspiration
In anyone who’s ever gone
And opened up a closing door
We were never feeling bored

(and the chorus goes)
Cause we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
And we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought, then thought: make amends
And we were never holding back or worried that
Time would come to an end

When I left from the station
With a haversack and some trepidation
Someone said: If you’re not careful
You’ll have nothing left and nothing to care for
In the 1990s,
But I sat back and looking forward
I bolted through a closing door
I was always hoping that, looking back
You could always rely on a friend
And we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
And we were never holding back or worried that
Time would come to an end

Now I sit with different faces
In rented rooms and foreign places
All the people I was kissing
Some are here and some are missing
In the 2020s,
I never dreamt that I would get to be
The creature that I always meant to be
But I thought in spite of dreams
You’d be sitting somewhere here with me

So here you all are.  All in white: filling the room in our favourite colour. And don’t you look great! And here I am and I look at what we’ve become. Some things have been wonderful (others maybe not as good) but it’s not been boring.

Just think about how the world has changed along with us.

  • SDS started in 1998 – the same year as Google!
  • The same year as Apple released the iMac, and
  • The same year Cathy Freeman was named Australian of the Year.

There were new things for us to do and new ways to do them. New ideas and different attitudes.  We all wanted to go fast, like Cathy.

Some years before, like in the song, I’d ‘left the station with my haversack’ and got off the train in France and couldn’t believe my good luck – working in the south of France for an architect, then Norman Foster’s office in London. It was like a dream come true. I asked myself how this had all happened: a country town boy, in the big city, working in one of the best studios in the world….  I was living in those rented rooms, in foreign places (with a fair amount of kissing).

A couple of years after returning to Australia I started Smart Design Studio, because I knew that I had a voice: though I didn’t quite know how it would sound. I started SDS from my bedroom, in spite of the cautions that were like: If you’re not careful, You’ll have nothing left and nothing to care for I was totally sure that I’d figure it out and never doubted that SDS would work and that we’d survive.

And now we’re here 25 years on, on Bennelong’s land in Utzon’s House which has dressed itself up for its 50th. It really feels like we’ve become: the creature that we always meant to be

 Sometimes over these years I’d find myself wondering:

  1. How did this all come about?
  2. How did each new project grow to be bigger than the last?
  3. And all these awards?

Of course, this is what comes of working with a great team. It’s teamwork that you need to make great architecture. But it’s more than that. Our good work came about because:

  1. our clients trusted us,
  2. builders and makers engaged with us, and
  3. we put in tonnes of hard work

So I want to thank:

  1. our incredible team and everyone who has been part of that.
    you know what this takes: such patience/ dedication/ talent
    I’m very grateful for everything that you’ve done
  2. the clients who have entrusted us
    especially those who asked us to do something for our first time
    or continued to listen when a sentence began with:
    I know that youve asked for it to be this way, but.
  3. And to all or our collaborators: contractors, engineers and designers…
    I know more than anyone that you’re the ones that really do the work
    so thanks for joining in and being a part of it…

Just as in the song, I could ‘always rely on a friend or colleague’ and maybe that’s the most important realisation after 25 years that hanging together makes for good times and good work. Without those friends and colleagues it would have just been boring.

So onto the next part, confident in what we know we can do, we’re ready for bigger dreams. In a year when we acknowledge the importance of giving people a voice I want to say at SDS we’ve found ours! Would you join me now in toasting the next 25 years of great people doing the best work for truly smart clients.To our next 25 years!

Reconciliation Action Plan

We’re proud to announce the formal endorsement of our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). We began work on our Reflect RAP in mid-2022 as a commitment to helping create a better future. The journey since then has been simultaneously rewarding and challenging. We’re building our understanding of what best practice First Nations engagement looks like in project work at the same time as embracing a broader scope of personal and professional involvement in reconciliation. The dialogue and conversations we’ve started are bringing our studio team together and reshaping our practice.

A new structure for Smart Design Studio

We are thrilled to announce a broader structure at Smart Design Studio moving forwards. This is an exciting future-focused step that promotes the longevity of the practice. It recognises our talented and ambitious staff and their leadership qualities and provides a pathway for their professional growth. Under the new structure, William Smart moves from Creative Director to Principal, nominated architect Christina Markham is now Studio Director and Jane Johnson steps into the Managing Director role. Practice Manager Nicole Leuning, Derek Chin and Harald Straatveit are promoted to Senior Associates. And joining our current Associates, Goldie Peligrino, Hon Loong and Maggie Lum are Adrian Walsh, Angus Hardwick, Arash Engineer, Dominic Tanaka, Donatus Gurnito, Linda Tjaturono, Nik Dunoski, Olivia Moore, Stefanie Taylor and Stephen Sharkey. Congratulations to all our team and here’s to the next 25 years of SDS.


Nestled within a refurbished inner-city laneway in Sydney’s Surry Hills, Beau and Dough is a refined and bespoke 200sqm hospitality venue spread across two separate ground floor tenancies for the Nomad Group. Beau, the rear tenancy, is a boutique 50 seat neighbourhood wine bar serving locally sourced produce and exceptional wines. The front space Dough serves signature baked breads and accommodates the main purpose-built commercial kitchen. For more click here


Smart Design Studio has been awarded another Interior Architecture Award – this time at the 2023 NSW Architecture Awards for our Amara project.

Jury Citation:
“This proiect demonstrates architectural finesse in its reworking of an historic house with an elegant addition at the rear. The floor plan has been carefully rationalised and the interiors reflect a breath-taking design rigour. Amara is a beautifully calm residence where each element feels deliberate and purposeful.
The interiors of the original house have been reimagined with fabric panelled walls, white timber detailing and a suspended steel staircase. The formal simplicity of the house leads through to a crisp and sculptural double-height lounge room addition with a curved mezzanine. Here, the interiors conclude with a framed outlook to a tree centred in a black granite pond.
The project is remarkable in its confidence, reflecting an architectural practice adept at contemporary and long-lasting transformations of historic properties. The interiors are beautifully crafted, effortlessly minimal and they successfully combine two opposing parts into an entirely contemporary whole.”

This accolade would not have been possible without the winning combination of a talented and dedicated team, inspired collaborators and above all our trusting and visionary clients.
To read more click here

Interior Architecture award for Science Gallery Melbourne

We are thrilled to announce that Smart Design Studio has been awarded a prestigious Interior Architecture Award at the 2023 VIC Architecture Awards for our Science Gallery Melbourne project.

This recognition is a testament to the creativity, dedication and innovation of our talented team. We are truly honoured to have our design acknowledged amongst the best in the industry and would like to extend our gratitude to the Victorian Architecture Awards.

Science Gallery Melbourne has been a labour of love, pushing boundaries and redefining what an immersive and engaging space can be. It has been a privilege to collaborate with our incredible clients and partners on this project and we couldn’t be prouder of the outcome.

Last but certainly not least, a big thank you to the Science Gallery Melbourne team at the University of Melbourne and to all those who visit and enjoy the gallery and make it their own.

To read more click here

Where Architects Live

We are honoured that Est Living have chosen Creative Director William Smart as the inaugural subject for the first instalment of an insightful and inspiring series to be known as ‘Where Architects Live’. The short film not only offers a rare glimpse of Smart’s Sydney studio and own home, it allows him to share his personal insights into the unique spaces he has crafted within a former 1950s warehouse in Sydney’s Alexandria.
For more, click here


We are delighted to share the exciting news that our Bridge 17 and Amara projects have both been shortlisted in the interiors category in the 2023 NSW Architecture Awards. A big thank you to our wonderful clients and collaborators who made this possible.

Architects, not Architecture

We are thrilled that Creative Director William Smart is taking part in the international event series “Architects, not Architecture” when it heads to Australia for the second time. On Tuesday March 21 at Sydney’s Art Gallery of NSW, he and his esteemed colleagues Hannah Tribe and Virginia Kerridge will talk about their personal experiences and the influences that impacted them creatively on their respective journeys as architects. Speakers are not allowed to talk about their architectural projects, and as a result,  “Architects, not Architecture”, or “AnA”, gives guests the chance to get to know world-renowned architects on a more personal level. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Happy Holidays 2022

Smart Design Studio will be closed from Friday December 23rd 2022 and will re-open on Tuesday January 3rd 2023. We would like to thank all of our amazing clients, consultants, contractors and passionate staff members for making it a wonderful year. We wish you all a safe, happy and restful holiday break.


The Portman St Terraces consist of seven luxury terrace houses designed by Smart Design Studio for Mirvac. The modern interpretation of a Victorian terrace features white brickwork and a sculpted façade that provides privacy whilst bringing light into the generous internal living spaces. With their own street address and entry, and a lift from basement parking to rooftop entertaining deck, they are a unique offering within Sydney’s newest town centre, Green Square. For more information, click here


This November, SDS Creative Director William Smart heads to London, UK for the ShermanSCCI x DesignMuseum Fashion and Architecture Hubs as part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22.⁠
This exciting series of events will see William and fellow Australian thinkers and designers present the relationship of design to art, activism, film, philanthropy, publishing, diplomacy, commerce, speculative futures and more, enabling the exchange of ideas between the two nations. ⁠
For more information and to book tickets, click here.

Spicers Hotel

Spicers represents an exciting collaboration between developers Fiveight and architects Smart Design Studio, to create a lifestyle hotel concept positioned to deliver an experience that draws on Fremantle’s unique character, heritage and attitude.Located in the heart of Fremantle on the corner of Henderson and William Streets, the proposal is for a mixed-use landmark development comprising a 5-6 storey 117 room boutique hotel with ground floor hotel lobby, retail spaces, guest amenities, back of house servicing, and one level of basement carparking. For more read here


Smart Design Studio is part of the hand-picked team of prominent Australian and international architectural practices that will help realise Central Barangaroo, the final stage of the Barangaroo urban renewal project on Sydney’s CBD waterfront. Developed by Aqualand in partnership with Scentre Group, this precinct will be world-leading in both design and sustainability. It forms part of Australia’s first carbon-neutral precinct and will become one of its finest public spaces, with open plazas, commercial buildings and a retail destination surrounded by a new two-hectare park on Sydney Harbour. Smart Design Studio’s premium-grade atrium office building, located at the gateway to Central Barangaroo, will be exemplar of the modern collaborative workplace of the future – deeply embedded in the context of Hickson Road and with functionality, flexibility and amenity at its core. For more click here

Wilkinson House

Thank you Australian AU for sharing a preview of our plans for a heritage listed former apartment building for Sydney girls school SCEGGS Darlinghurst. SDS won a competition to revamp Wilkinson House, originally designed by Emil Soderston. For more, click here


Lacebark is a gateway building to a new precinct in Sydney’s Hills Shire, to be known as Norwest Quarter. Split down its length into two distinct slender parallel forms, it’s one of nine towers in the bold residential masterplan that transforms over 3.8 hectares of greenfield land into a carbon neutral hub for over 2000 residents. The elegantly sculpted building is predominately brick, drawing reference from the site’s rich history as a brick and tile manufacturing plant. Generous perimeter balconies with solid horizontal balustrades provide repetition and modulation through contrast of light and shade; their curved concave shapes creating a sculptural expression whilst inviting northern sun. At the base of the 13-storey building are two circular drums housing the retail spaces and resident’s amenities. For more click here

ArchDaily 2022 Building of the Year Award

Lena and Fig Tree Pocket have been nominated in the ArchDaily 2022 Building of the Year Award. Thanks @archdaily for the wonderful recognition of these two recent projects, and of course also to the clients, collaborators and our team who helped bring them to life.


The winner is by popular choice, click here to  vote.

2022 Australian Design Visionaries

We are thrilled to have been recognised as one of the Top 10 local design studios. Well done to our talented friends and peers for making the Esteemed 10 list, highlighting 10 Australian practices who have “showcased an exceptional approach to design and who are forward-thinkers at the helm of new ideas in the residential space.”⁠.⁠ A big thanks to our wonderful team and also to Est Living, for their continued support of the design industry both here and overseas.
⁠For more click here

Happy Holidays

Smart Design Studio will be closed from Friday December 17th 2021 and will re-open on Tuesday January 4th 2022. We would like to thank all of our amazing clients, consultants, contractors and passionate staff members for making it a wonderful year despite the challenges. We wish you all a safe, happy and restful holiday break

The Frederick

The Frederick is a dynamic bronze and glass tower of curved interlocking forms designed in conjunction with Mirvac Design. At 23-storeys, The Frederick creates a powerful gesture at the entrance to the new Green Square city centre. Three corner apartments on each floor offer panoramic views of the city and skyline. The façade is articulated by horizontal and vertical shading elements, maintaining solar control and privacy whilst optimising views. At the upper levels the curves of the parapet tip up towards the sky, accentuating the striking geometric design. For more click here

The Architecture Symposium -Beyond the Building

Curated by Our Creative Director William Smart and Government Architect Abbie Galvin

Architecture Symposium: Beyond the Building brings together a selection of contemporary Australian architects whose public projects have an impact that is beyond the built form itself.
In these buildings, form and use, aesthetics and technology, concept and program, ethics and immediacy, private need and public good often meet head-on.

Over four unique sessions, discussion will highlight works that have synthesized these often-conflicting factors, extending the brief to unlock remarkable results that have a ripple effect on the building’s context and its community.

Streaming live: 11, 18 and 25 November / 2 December
On demand: until 21 January

Tickets are on sale now! Earn up to 8 CPD points! Find out more and buy tickets –click here

The Gathering Place

Our concept for The Gathering Place, a new multipurpose public building in Parramatta, is one plus one equals one. The contemporary interpretation of the adjacent Leigh Memorial Church references the structural brick buttresses, Gothic arched openings and important historic alignments. The design accommodates event, education & sacred spaces, a cafe, an edible native rooftop garden and a new public laneway. A sandstone plinth at ground level and dramatically scalloped brick walls embeds The Gathering Place in its context while fine steel-framed glazed double hung windows and doors recall the stained glass of the lancet-shaped windows of the Church. For more click here


Fig Tree Pocket is made up of four buildings ranged around a grand fig tree in a leafy corner of the award-winning Newmarket precinct in Randwick. The new structures join the restored and repurposed horse stables and listed two-storey Victorian manor, the former home of the Ingles family. While varied in scale, the classic yet contemporary architecture is linked by bold angled precast concrete blades that manage sun and privacy for 165 apartments. For more click here

Award Season

We have had a dream run so far in this year’s awards. We are particularly proud of winning the Design Studio category in the Inde.awards, with over 687 entries from 14 countries in the Indo-Pacific. This is thanks to the people past and present who have made Smart Design Studio what it is today. The studio is much more than the buildings we produce, it is about the team and collaboration. We would like to thank our  architects and designers and our wonderful clients and consultants who have made this wonderful accolade possible.

Sara Hilden

Our response to a design competition for a new gallery in the Finish industrial city Tampere was to create a beautiful, contemporary and elegant brick structure that balances the practical requirements of a 21st century art museum with a poetic, civic and iconic response. The project called for the relocation of the museum from the city’s periphery into the historic city centre. The form and materials embed our proposal for the Sara Hilden Art Museum to its locale, a former industrial setting, while the sculpted Great Hall, is an invitation for all to come and be illuminated by art or alternatively, just hang out. For more click here.

Science Gallery Melbourne – Open House Melbourne

Join architect Nicole Leuning of Smart Design Studio for an online session about the recently completed Science Gallery Melbourne. This event is part of the Open House Melbourne that’s happening virtually this weekend. Nicole talks about the inception, philosophy, building design principles and construction of Science Gallery Melbourne’s galleries and events space. Click here to watch⁠

Randwick City Architecture Talks

SDS Creative Director William Smart joins Matthew Allen (Bates Smart) & Alex Longley (Arcadia Landscape Architecture) as they discuss the design process of award winning Sydney development Newmarket. Hosted by Randwick City Council and facilitated by Andrew Nimmo (Lahz Nimmo Architects), this installment of the popular Randwick City Architecture Talks series is on Wednesday 11th of August at 6:30pm via Zoom.

Click here to register for this free event.


Nickson 61

Nickson 61 is a contemporary, bespoke contribution to Surry Hills. It offers clever reuse of existing building stock to provide boutique commercial and residential spaces that typify the vibrant mixed-use character of the suburb and a bold formal addition to the architecture of the area. The existing terrace was retained while the corner infill reworks traditional brickwork construction to create a dynamic, curved flanking element that reinforces the corner. For more click here

Bathurst 60 A graphic addition to the Sydney skyline

Centrally located on the north-eastern corner of Bathurst and Sussex Streets, Bathurst 60 is a distinctive mixed-use hotel and residential development, set within the metropolitan heart of Sydney’s CBD. This competition-winning scheme balances the amenity of the accommodation offering with the constraints of the site, and consolidates a complex building program into a remarkably simple and clear proposition. This striking 27-storey building comprises 5 levels of basement carparking, a 5-star hotel with function rooms and food and beverage facilities within the 8-level podium, and 95 premium residential apartments in the tower above.


Creative Director William Smart talked to Dana Tomic Hughes for the launch of the Yellowtrace video interview series, Sofa Sessions, in partnership with Australian furniture brand King. The pair covered a lot of ground from his creative drivers and ideology, the challenges, the lessons, and how he defines and actively pursues greatness in his work. To hear more of this engaging conversation between two design enthusiasts.


We are proud to finally be able share our studio with the world. As seen in AFR, Belle and most recently in Architecture Australia, our new home was a labour of love for Creative Director William Smart and a testing ground for the SDS team and all who contributed to the end result. Pushing the boundaries structurally and creatively, this energy positive building is also an incredibly comfortable and functional space. For more read here

Design your life with Frost

Smart Design Studio’s Creative Director William Smart caught up with Vince Frost as part of his great podcast series @designyourlife_withfrost⁠. Available to download now, the pair talk about Smart’s early design influences, and how a knock on his door from Judith Neilson opened the creative opportunity of a lifetime.⁠

Museums Then And Now

Museums Then & Now brings together two architects – William Smart (Founder, Smart Design Studio) and Graeme Dix (Principal, Johnson Pilton Walker) – to discuss a variety of design perspectives shaping the contemporary evolution of this complex building type. The very notion of a museum is already concerned with physicality: the object which contains other objects. In more recent times, however, the notion of a museum has arguably been equally concerned with experience: questions of testimony, entertainment and provocation which underpin audience satisfaction. The conversation will be moderated by author, curator, cultural producer and SCCI Global Emissary, Dolla Merrillees as part of this weekend’s University of Newcastle X SCCI Architecture Hub events. Tickets are limited, click here to book.


Located in the heart of Bondi, Pipi is a beautifully sculpted new building for Sydney’s most famous beachside suburb. Comprising of 29 apartments atop ground floor retail, there is something both arresting and classical in the swooping gestures of the grand vertical bays that line Hall Street. This is a building that sits comfortably at the junction of urban and beach living and behind the façade is clever planning that unlocks the potential of this site. Read more here

Built with Brickworks Smart Design Studio


Our response to a design competition for a new public pavilion at Barangaroo was to create a beautiful, delicate, crafted structure that balances the practical requirements of the brief with an emotive response: to the history and past cultures of this site. The concept of the sustainable lightweight timber structure is rooted in the history of canoes, fisherwomen and the innovations of the First Nations Peoples. The intersecting forms of the two informally moored canoes hover above a firepit, creating a versatile space for gathering, conversation, events and play. For more click here

Indigo Slam and the ROC feature in MMXX: Two Decades of Architecture in Australia

Author Cameron Bruhn’s new project, MMXX tells the story of architecture in Australia in the first two decades of the 21st century. Shaped by unprecedented prosperity, urbanisation, uncertainty and internationalisation, the past two decades have produced some of the most significant and diverse architecture in this country. This richly illustrated volume reflects on and evaluates this period, taking the reader on a journey through varying scales and locations – from ambitious city-making projects to finely crafted homes and elegant sheds nestled in the scenic countryside.

Indigo Slam and the ROC feature alongside 58 acclaimed projects by the work of more than 100 practices, completed between 2000 and 2019.

For more information or to purchase, please click here.


Smart Design Studio will be closed from Friday December 18th 2020 and will re-open on Monday January 4th 2021.

After what has been an unusual and challenging year for the world, we would like to thank all of our amazing clients, consultants, contractors and passionate staff members. We wish you all a safe, happy and restful holiday break.

Book launch panel discussion

Our Creative Director, William Smart will be discussing his chapter ‘The Open and Integrated Museum’ from Georgia Lindsay’s new book Contemporary Museum Architecture and Design this Thursday December 3 at 6pm.

William has based his chapter on an art gallery specific research project he began in 2017. This self-initiated project, led by William, included interviews with over 20 directors, curators, and museum specialists from Australia and around the world, and gallery site visits across five continents. As a result, he was able to chart the many different developments in the world of galleries and museum design. The chapter forms part of our ongoing work and interest in the cultural and arts sectors at SDS.

To register for the free webinar, The panel discussion will also be recorded.

Awards News

We are delighted to share our awards successes. In the 2020 Development Excellence Awards, 60 Bathurst was the winner of the Best Mixed Use Development and Newmarket won the Medium Density Development category. In the recent Randwick Council Architecture and Urban Design Awards, Newmarket was awarded Winner of the Best Conservation Project, Winner of the People’s Choice Award and Joint Winner of the Best Urban Project with Lahz Nimmo Architects. We done to all involved – Shokai Ausbao, Cbus Property, Bates Smart and Arcardia Landscape Architecture.

Hall 20

Hall 20 is a boutique apartment building located metres from Bondi Beach. Ten generous apartments are housed within a fully stone clad extension above the Bondi Post Office. Steel framed custom guillotine windows punctuate the elegant new structure. The interiors are strong, geometric and spacious, in beautifully detailed, quietly luxurious materials that befit the exterior. Read more here

DA approved for an iconic gateway building in Surry Hills

A sculptural new building will adjoin a restored three-storey terrace on the corner of South Dowling and Fitzroy Streets. The hyperbola shaped structure will be fashioned out of twisted glass panels between straight copper louvres in contrast to the existing traditional typology. Striking yet appropriately scaled, this will inadvertently form a gateway to Surry Hills, the heart of creative Sydney. Read more here

Newmarket Randwick shortlisted in Randwick City Architecture and Urban Design Awards

We are excited to announce Newmarket Randwick has been selected as a finalist project in the Randwick Council Architecture and Urban Design Awards. It is a collaboration between Cbus Property, Smart Design Studio, Bates Smart, Arcadia Landscape Architecture and OCP Architects. Newmarket Randwick was shortlisted for Best Urban Project, Best Conservation Project and Best Apartment.⁠ Voting is open until October 20th for People’s Choice, you can cast your vote here


We are thrilled to share the exciting news that Arbutus has been shortlisted in the Alterations and Additions category of the 2020 NSW Architecture Awards.

2020 INDE Awards for the Best of the Decade/ The Living Space

We are thrilled that Indigo Slam has been shortlisted in the 2020 INDE Awards for the Best of the Decade/ The Living Space. What an honour for this stunning residence to be recognised among some exceptional work from the Asia Pacific region. We would love your support, click here to vote for one of our favourite projects to date.⁠

Sydney Women’s Fund

Creative Director William Smart has joined the Advisory Council of the Sydney Women’s Fund. This fund supports programs for women in greater Sydney, with a focus on improved access to education; improved personal safety; preventive health-care; and participation in sport.


This new book on the theory and practice of museum design includes a chapter written by SDS Creative Director William Smart on the evolving world of museum design. The chapter, The Open and Connected Museum, is based on a series of interviews with Australian and international leaders of this domain.


16 Stokes Ave is ready to be leased. A beautiful 422m2 studio/ showroom space. Contact SDS for more information


⁠CONCRETE: ART DESIGN ARCHITECTURE. This major exhibition is now showing Australian Design Centre until 18 March. It explores innovative ways concrete is being used by artists, designers and architects in Australia in the 21st century. We are thrilled Indigo Slam was included by talented curators Margaret Hancock Davis and Brian Parkes. ⁣⁠

Happy Holidays

Smart Design Studio will be closed from Friday December 20th 2019 and will re-open on Monday January 6th 2020 in our new studio at 14 Stokes Ave, Alexandria⁠.

We would like to thank all of our amazing clients, consultants, contractors and passionate staff members who have made this such a wonderful year. We wish you all a safe, happy and restful holiday break

Lawson Place

Smart Design Studio has reinvigorated Sydney’s CBD with the respectful restoration of two buildings. While the dilapidated built form featured a variety of architectural styles, materials, and signage, Smart Design Studio’s new external work enhances the innate character to create two distinct façades. Each retains a unique identity but is cohesive as a whole. Brickwork is left raw, steel windows were updated with a newer version and a double-height iteration adds drama to the streetscape. Internally a larger floorplate delivers more useable interior spaces for the hotel and offices above the numerous food and beverage offerings now at ground level. For more read here


The interiors of 77 apartments at ‘Alexander’ Barangaroo were designed by Smart Design Studio to embody the concept of wharf-side luxury. SDS was also engaged to personalize one penthouse in particular. The clients wanted to elevate their apartment with an injection of more glamorous finishes and furnishings. The concept started in the living area with curved custom joinery featuring a specially commissioned artwork by Camille Hannah. The expressive brushstrokes and metallic pigment take the design from purely functional to beautiful. Furnishings strike the balance between the light finishes and the complex colours of the artwork. For more read here

AIA talk AIA talk

Join Creative Director William Smart at the Australian Institute of Architects – WA Chapter. He will share the processes, goals and outcomes for projects including Indigo Slam, his new studio, Stokes 14 and the Rail Operations Centre for Sydney Trains. Innovation and prototyping is the common thread for this recent work. For more information head to

Think Brick 2019 Think Brick 2019

We are thrilled to have two projects recognized at the 2019 Think Brick Awards. Designed in collaboration with Jacobs, the ROC was the winner of the Horbury Hunt Commercial Award, while Arlington Grove was highly commended in the Residential category. Thank you to our clients and collaborators for making this possible.

Horizon in Belle magazine

We were thrilled to see the recently renovated Horizon penthouse in the latest issue of Belle. The latest in a string of successful collaborations with wonderful clients, it features a refreshed plan as well as a new kitchen, bathroom and highly detailed custom joinery.


The Harold Park precinct was awarded the NSW Australian Institute of Architect’s Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design and City of Sydney Lord Mayor’s Prize. This vibrant park and urban setting, designed by Mirvac Design, Government Architect’s Office (GANSW), City of Sydney and Hassell, includes of a number of striking buildings including Maxwell, by Smart Design Studio. Read more of The Maxwell here


We are excited to share our awards successes! Arlington Grove has been shortlisted in the Multi Residential category of the 2019 NSW Architecture Awards. Designed in association with Jacobs, The ROC is a contender in The Building category of the Inde Awards, and the Commercial category of this year’s NSW Architecture Awards.

2019 Houses Awards

Designed in collaboration with Fieldwork Associates, our Oak 363 project has been Shortlisted in the Garden or Landscape category of the 2019 Houses Awards! ⁣To see more of the project click here


The Jam Factory exhibition CONCRETE: ART DESIGN ARCHITECTURE is now open. This major exhibition in Adelaide explores innovative ways concrete is being used by artists, designers and architects in Australia in the 21st century. We are thrilled Indigo Slam was included by talented curators Margaret Hancock Davis and Brian Parkes. ⁣

Future Workplace talk

Creative Director William Smart will be talking about our exciting new studio as part of the Future Workplace talk happening in Sydney on February 26. For more information and tickets, click here

Regent in the latest issue of Houses

Thank you Houses magazine for featuring the Regent project in the 126th issue. To read more about this project click here


Council has approved this exciting addition to one of Bondi’s most sought after streets, Notts Avenue, overlooking the iconic Sydney beach.

Site News

Santa came early this year, delivering these impressive pre cast concrete panels to the Newmarket site in Randwick. Read more here

Happy Holidays

Smart Design Studio will be closed from Monday December 24th 2018 and will re-open on Wednesday January 2nd 2019.

We would like to thank all of our amazing clients, consultants, contractors and passionate staff members who have made this such a wonderful year. We wish you all a safe, happy and restful holiday break, and look forward to an exciting year ahead.

Bourke 632

After fifteen years in Bourke Street we are selling in preparation for our move to Alexandria next year. Read more here


We are excited to see the Regent Residence in the November issue of Belle. Read more here


Paddington 64 is taking shape.


The scaffolding has come down as The Roc is nearing to completion. To read more about this project click here

Oak 363

Smart Design Studio has transformed a four bedroom country home inside and out. The holistic process involved rationalising and adding to two existing sandstone cottages, updating the surrounding landscape and selecting furniture to suit the new materials that were introduced. Read more here

On Bourke

A vacant site in Surry Hills presented a rare opportunity to create something exceptional, a ‘Living Sculpture’. With a curved masonry façade facing Bourke Street, the striking new building injects a considered contemporary edge into the surrounding conservation area. Read more here

Figtree Pocket Newmarket

The genesis of Fig Tree Pocket, four buildings ranged around a grand fig tree in a leafy corner of the Newmarket precinct in Randwick, was its bold angled precast concrete blades. Designed to manage privacy and sun, these rhythmical vertical elements rise and fold to form elevated roofs over the clerestory windows serving the top floor apartments. Fig Tree Pocket is now selling. Read more here

Visit the Newmarket Display Suite at 154 Barker Street Randwick.

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