Smart Design Studio - Sydney Architects

Morris Suites

Smart Design Studio was commissioned to transform a large east facing suite within BMA House on Macquarie Street, which enjoys outlooks over the Botanic Gardens and Sydney Harbour beyond. BMA House is a beautifully detailed and constructed building with intricate decoration and gargoyle displays over the tiled façade. When completed the building won the (UK) RIBA Award for Street Architecture in 1935 and the (UK) RIBA Bronze Medal, a first for Australia at the time. Within this unique heritage context, SDS together with the client sought to provide a simple but elegant refurbishment.


The design was carefully considered to allow the heritage nature of this suite enhance the use and environmental qualities whilst providing a well-appointed modern medical facility. Natural light plays a strong part in the overall design and considerations for the existing bay windows on the Macquarie Street façade and was an important feature of the design. These beautiful steel framed window bays are one of the main focal points as you enter the suite through the original glass framed French doors. An original brass winder system to operate the steel windows was carefully restored to reinstate this simple but ingenious piece of early 20th Century engineering.



To continue a balanced white and soft palette throughout the suite, Marmorino venetian plaster was hand-trowelled onto the walls and ceilings in the reception and central room. This stunning texture has an iridescent quality when light moves across the surface and creates an added complexity to a white-set finish. Each item of in-built joinery was specifically designed to store all required teaching materials at the same time as visually adding to the design intention and architecture of the space. Mirror-gloss finished credenzas bookend the central room on either side and reference the circular feature lights overhead with their concentric door panels. In-laid brass mesh carefully follows the profile of the recessed circular panels to combine a continuous door pull with the practical requirements of ventilation for the internal equipment.


The suites are divided across five structural bays, with the open reception area occupying two of these. The removal of existing walls in this area reveals a cruciform-shaped pier, which helps to delineate the public and private areas. Three consulting rooms occupy the remaining three bays, with a service area and kitchenette to the rear of the suites.


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