Smart Design Studio - Sydney Architects

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.


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