Smart Design Studio addresses the simplicity of space through its minimalist & modern design

Architecture Interior



Project credits:

Project name:  Smart Design Studio
Location : 632 Bourke St. Sydney Australia
Project team:  William Smart, Anita Panov, Laura Morton
Construction: 2004
Consultants: Brian Wood, John Turtle, Brenon Liston

Architectural transformation seeks to create desirable changes in the form and function of a structure. With a parallel notion, Smart Design Studio brings you one such architectural masterpiece as it adds character to its surrounding streetscape.

Located in Australia, 632 Bourke St. has been transformed from a warren of boarding house rooms into a flexible office and living space. The resulting structure is now home to a number of design practices and professionals including Smart Design Studio.

The design concept framed was to create a flexible work space. Formerly the building comprised of two adjoining terraces with rear stables. Occupying a prominent corner position in the Surry Hills, the building has been oriented in a manner such that its length faces due north. It provides an important streetscape to the shared pedestrian roadway of Ridge St.




The building has been conceived as a beautiful amalgamation of contemporary steel and glass; thus enhancing the existing masonry shell. It includes two levels of studios and a rooftop apartment.

The existing shell of the building has been retained to a vast extent. New large vertical openings have been created so as to reveal the layer of glass louvers framed by deep stainless steel trims. The new double height openings with frosted glass art panels laid over the Ridge Street façade are located in the position of each of the original openings. This arrangement engages with the collective memory of the local community. The design facilitates a play of light on both the inside and outside of the building.


A rigorous grid pattern was developed for the whole building. This technique solidified the design approach even further; right from the steel structure to the tiling set out, to the work spaces and joinery and lighting, thus establishing a clear continuity throughout the building. 

As far as the spatial planning goes, the fully transformed building successfully incorporates flexible and functional office interiors along with a two bedroom rooftop apartment. 


Full height storage bays are located between each window opening and a linear joinery unit conceals the kitchen, WC’s and extra storage which runs the length of the party wall on both floors.


The building creates a perfect balance between the old and new layers. The raw treatment of the exterior façade and smooth modern interiors reflects this sense of balance. The rooftop connects the double height glass banks of louvers with an articulated aluminium battened roof that eventually folds down as a screen to the back of the building. 


The work environment offers a pleasant outlook with natural light and ventilation that can be controlled by the individual users and holds an ABGA rating.





The courtyard located between the office and rear stables acts like the perfect breakout space. Not only this, it also stands as a scenic backdrop for the interior spaces. Plantings of Golden Robinias and Flax in the garden bed on the northern side further boost the streetscape. It contributes to the summer shading of the building and allows for the winter sun to warm the interiors, hence adapting to the climatic change accordingly.  

In the true sense, both the interior and exterior design aspects harmonize within this rigorously controlled contemporary architecture of old and new.


Smart Design Studio (SDS)
– Rhea Fernandes ,Volume Zero.















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