Smart Design Studio - Sydney Architects


AIA NSW Architecture Award Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions)

Smart Design Studio was engaged by the Roberts Thomson family to breathe new life into a grand Victorian terrace in Sydney’s Paddington. Central to the transformation 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 clearly expressed new brick form.

To the rear, the street level slab has been removed to create an airy light filled double-height space with brick blade walls forming deep reveals that shade and allow for the flush opening of tall steel framed doors onto the courtyard. The courtyard accommodates a pear tree, blue stone and marble splash pool and storage within a relatively small footprint, while maintaining rear-lane accessed garaging.

Utilised primarily as a living and dining space with a connected, concealed-hardware Corian kitchen, the exaggerated proportionality of the room also provides the most exceptional hanging walls for the client’s extensive art collection. Waxed rendered walls, terrazzo tiles and oak timber flooring create a quietly luxurious framework for the dramatic architecture, colourful paintings and monochromatic furnishings.

The ensuite is conceived as a series of free standing marble boxes that sit  within the heritage structure, bringing light and enclosure to the different areas of the bathroom. The perimeter ‘heritage walls’ are lined with Corian where required but left as a painted finish elsewhere to imbue a soft and elegant feeling to the space.

While contemporary elements are clearly expressed both inside and out, heritage details have been retained. A soft modern colour scheme celebrates the traditional features such as the iron lacework on the front facade, while mouldings, sculpted archways and original fireplaces stand proud internally.


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