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Stephen Crafti, a well-known freelance writer who has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers both in Australia and internationally.
On the Move Down Under

From recently completed projects to those still on the drawing boards, Sydney’s architectural practices are a hive of activity. Stephen Crafti looks at some of the newest projects emerging from Down Under.


One of the largest projects recently completed is the Ivy. Designed by Woods Bagot Architects, with interiors by Hecker Phelan Guthrie, the Ivy is the latest venture of entrepreneur Justin Hemmes. Located in George Street, Sydney, the development extends over two city blocks. Comprising a hotel, restaurants, bars, clubs and a retail precinct, Ivy has a distinct 1950s glam feel. “It’s the first of its type in Australia, as well as the southern hemisphere,” says architect Peter Fleming, Associate with Woods Bagot.


Molnar Freeman Architects have also been working for the hospitality industry. They are currently extending an established lodge on the coast of New South Wales. A couple of hours drive from Sydney. Bannister’s Lodge is certainly worth a stay-over. “The emphasis is on quality accommodation close to Sydney,” says architect Wendy James from the practice.


As well as the lodge, Molnar Freeman are currently designing several new houses in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. And while some of the houses are entirely new, some are almost new. “The renovations are quite substantial, almost a new house,” says James.


Stanic Harding Architects are also working on several residential projects around town. There are two new houses under construction in Woollahra, Sydney, as well as a new house in Port Kembla, New South Wales. Darling Point Apartment Two is a recently completed project which received an Interior Architecture Award from the Australian Institute of Architects (NSW Chapter, 2008).


While not a grand home, Stanic Harding’s kiosk and public toilets, in one of Sydney’s parks, are likely to create some waves. The undulating wave-like roof will provide shelter for the toilets and kiosk facilities.

Architect Alex Popov has also been working on several houses in and around Sydney. One of the most distinctive is a new house at Whale Beach on the northern coastline. Clad in black timber and hovering above the ground, the Whale Beach house features a three-storey high concrete wall for privacy, while still allowing sunlight to penetrate the building’s core.


Popov & Associates are also working on several apartments, many of which are currently under construction. One of the more unusual developments are twenty-four, three-storey townhouses in Sydney’s Victoria Park. Featuring voids and outdoor terraces, the townhouses are conceived along the Paddington terrace model. “The designs are contemporary and will feature open plan living areas. People can customize the interiors” says Popov, who envisages the Victoria Park townhouses will be complete in twelve to fourteen months time.


Out of town, in Bowral, Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Alex Popov & Associates have just completed eighty apartments. A traffic free precinct, children can play in a secure environment. “We’ve limited road access to the perimeter. The design is based around communal gardens and squares where residents can meet,” says Popov.


Durbach Block Architects are also working on several new houses, as well as several commercial projects. They have recently completed a new retail outlet for one of Australia’s leading clothing stores, ‘Sportsgirl’.

While Durbach Block’s houses are regularly featured in the architectural press, they are currently bringing Australian architecture to a new audience, with Neil Durback one of the Creative Directors for this year’s Venice Biennale. “The Australian pavilion will showcase 300 models from Australian architectural practices,” says a spokesperson from Durbach Block.


Architect Dale Jones-Evans is also immersed in new projects. One is an eight-storey apartment building in Surry Hills. Featuring a floating canopy and expansive curtain wall, the apartments will be elegantly understated in the mixed use development. Jones-Evans is also working on a couple of houses on Sydney’s harbour. And if that isn’t enough, he’s is also currently creating four hotels in Sydney’s Central Business District. These historical buildings are being cleverly reworked to create contemporary spaces. “The hotels will also include art installations. It’s something that I always like to get involved with,” says Jones-Evans, who has a background in the visual arts.