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Join the Last AAA Residential Bus Tour for 2018

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Don't miss out on our final residential bus tour for 2018, taking place on Saturday 8 December. Enjoy visiting some of the Sydneys most interesting new and renovated contemporary architecture.

Inside the houses you will hear about the design process from the architects and see firsthand the value of good design.

Experience homes by the following architects:

The day includes a delicious sit down lunch, itinerary, commentary by architects at the houses and coach travel. There will also be the opportunity to talk to some of the architects at the luncheon.


Location: Meet Loftus Street, beside Customs House, Circular Quay NSW 2000
Date: Saturday 8 December 2018
Time: 9.30am - 5.30pm
Tickets: $205 (public) / $190 (AAA Members)

Hurry tickets will sell out fast, so book now!

Click here to secure your place on the tour.

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  • Article: Annette Dearing and Vanessa Couzens
  • Image 1: 'The Shed', designed by Anderson Architecture (Image Source: Anderson Architecture)
  • Image 2: 'Peakaboo House' designed by Carter Williamson (Photographer: Brett Boardman)


At Home With The Architect Visits Castle Cove

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On Sunday 18 November the last At Home With the Architect for 2018 visits Castle Cove House, designed by Terroir.

The history of the single-family house in Sydney during the last century is a record of changing conditions in regard to our relationship with the landscape.

Castle Cove is a classic Sydney context, landscape and geology - a steep, rocky ravine with tributaries connecting to Sydney Harbour featuring large areas of remnant bushland below which sandstone escarpments define the waterways. The sandstone geology appears at multiple scales from large cliff faces to small ruptures throughout the groundplane.

The geometry of this Castle Cove house is deliberately indeterminate, working in and around existing stone escarpments as a "third element" that over time and with patination will slip more and more from the new to pre-existing.

The concrete interior is lined with a series of timber elements that enable the occupation of this concrete landscape with a spirit and glamour reminiscent of the California houses from the 50s and 60s by John Lautner and others.


TERROIR was established in 1999 by Founding Directors Gerard Reinmuth, Scott Balmforth and Richard Blythe. In 2016 TERROIR broadened its ownership to include four Principals: Scott Balmforth, Tamara Donnellan, Professor Gerard Reinmuth and Chris Rogers.

The practice has offices located in Sydney, Hobart and Copenhagen. They undertake a range of design activities encompassing architecture, urban design and creative research.

Dedicated to the realisation of projects that insist on the invention of new possibilities out of each unique condition, the quality of Terroir's work has been recognized through numerous industry awards and commendations.


Location: Castle Cove NSW
Please note that the address and meeting point will only be forwarded to ticket holders in the days immediately before the tour.
Time: 11.00am - 12.00pm
Date: Sunday 18 November 2018
Tickets: $35 (Early Bird) / $45 (Public) / $30 (AAA Members)

Don't miss your opportunity to experience the final At Home With the Architect for 2018, numbers are limited. Book your place on the tour, click here.


  • Article: Annette Dearing & Vanessa Couzens
  • Images: Castle Cove House, Castle Cove NSW designed by Terroir
  • Photographer: Brett Boardman

Discover the Story Behind Little Albion Guesthouse

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Recently featured in Augusts AAA Short Black: Architects In Their Space tour, Little Albion Guesthouse is one of Surry Hills newest offerings for the modern luxury traveller. Writer and AAA volunteer - Deborah Singerman, reports on on her conversation about the project with space planner and interior designer Connie Alessi, who was instrumental to the projects development and realisation.

Boutique inner-city guest house plucks at the heart strings

The Little Albion calls itself a guest house, not a hotel. This is entirely appropriate for a 35-room, pet friendly boutique place, a gratifying example of adaptive/reuse that both belies and yet builds on its chequered history including as a convent and a hospice. 

The transformation takes what one of the project’s mainsprings, interior designer and space planner Connie Alessi, remembers as being an architecturally “very run-down” building into a new realm of exquisite, bespoke comfort. 

I missed the AAA tour on August 18, 2018. The Sydney transport meltdown on that day meant I only travelled from my home in Ashfield as far as Petersham. However, I heard that the visit was a rip-roaring success, with a big group enjoying long chats with Alessi, architect Terence Yong and hotel manager Wendy Morris. My subsequent visits and the rave reviews from design websites confirmed this enthusiasm was justified.

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Paul Fischmann of 8Hotels brought together a unique mix of creatives, including Terence Yong (Terence Yong Architecture) and Chris Haughton (SHED) on the architecture, with Connie Alessi (Archemy) and Cressida Kennedy (Space Control) for the interiors.  Fischmann also wanted Wendy Morris, with whom he has worked before, in what became a tight-knit group.  

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Morris chose the Molton Brown handwashes, with their subtle fragrances, for the bathrooms, up from the lobby, and directed the range of Australian goodies for the Honour Bar. A rarity in Australia, its honesty-based system has guests write down the breakfast, nibbles and drinks that they have and only pay at the end of their stay. This typifies the level of trust, detail and intimacy that distinguishes this peaceful Surry Hills hideaway.

It also required imagination, research, exactitude and, yes that word, passion,

“The old building was gutted, leaving only the perimeter walls, and various heritage elements such as the fireplaces and the arches in the corridors,” says Alessi. “When you walk through on ground level that was a chapel, with two stories and beautiful stained-glass windows. These were removed. On level 3, the windows are new but do not look new because we dressed them in architraves.”
Everyone wanted brick as the main structural material, for its romance, helping to create the mood that filters through from the pathway up to the hotel, lined with variegated pot plants with a delicate Japanese maple in the corner, up to the fifth-floor roof garden. Getting the additional floors led to “a lot of ups and downs with council”, Alessi remembers, but the roof and the glass-sided lift to it afford an unlikely view of rooftops reminiscent of a historic European city. 

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In between, there are brass room numbers with their own Art Deco-related font, sumptuous leather armchairs in the sunken lounge, which was inspired by the Olivetti showroom in Italy, and a stylish pink banquette in the Honour Bar – pink and emerald feature throughout in upholstery, curtains and walls (even the dishwasher in the Bar is green). There are also marble bathrooms, polished concrete floors, and fabrics and other products from bespoke, specialist suppliers many with long histories in Sydney.

A wall of romantic poetry books, printed to look old with doodles for an appealing personal touch, is ingenious. It is part of an art program from Nick Samartis, that also covers stairwells and individual rooms with multifarious pictures including of historic Surry Hills identifies. Illustrations from Alexandra Nea on the website and the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Guide, pinpoint “culture, coffee/breakfast/light eats, dinner, drinks (and) shop”, in anticipation of urbane Australian, European and American guests.
“We all absolutely love it,” Alessi says.

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AAA Volunteer Deborah Singerman is a writer and editor, with extensive experience interviewing people, researching stories, finding angles and then disseminating the information for different readerships.

She offer professional writing and editing services for articles with content that can be adapted for websites, blogs, magazines and university journals.

Check out her website at: https://www.deborahsingerman.com.au/

  • Article: Deborah Singerman
  • Image1: An exterior view of the new extension to original hospice building
  • Image 2: Connie Alessi principal of the design firm Archemy
  • Image 3: Terence Yong principal of Terence Yong Architecture (formerly project architect at Shed Design Studio) and Connie Alessi discuss the guest houses design with AAA Short Black attendees
  • Image 4: A view from the interior of the ground floor entry
  • Image 5: A view of an upper level lift lobby
  • Photographer: Vanessa Couzens

Explore Sydney Observatory With the AAA and MAAS

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Explore Sydney Observatory with Australian Architecture Association (AAA) and MAAS (the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences).


In association with MAAS (the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences) the AAA developed a special architectural tour of the Sydney Observatory in Millers Point, The Rocks.

Join volunteers from the AAA on an architectural tour of one of Sydney’s most significant historic sites.

Built in 1858, Sydney Observatory is one of the most significant sites in the nation’s scientific history. It is recognised as an item of ‘state significance’ by the New South Wales Government and is heritage listed.

Beginning as the centre of scientific research for the colony of New South Wales, the Observatory has a seminal role in the history of timekeeping, meteorology, navigation and astronomy in Australia.

Now known as Observatory Hill, the site was previously known as Windmill Hill, Citadel Hill, Fort Phillip and Flagstaff Hill. Each name indicates the site’s function over time, all of which relied on it being the highest point over Sydney Harbour.

The Observatory buildings, built from stone with distinctive copper telescope domes, were built between 1857 and 1859 in the Italianate style. They combined the practical needs of an observatory with those of an astronomer’s residence. The Observatory grounds recreate the original layout and vegetation of formal gardens cultivated in the 1880s.


Location: Sydney Observatory, 1003 Upper Fort St, Millers Point NSW
Time: 11.00am - 12.30pm
Date: Sunday 25 November 2018
Tickets: Adult $30 / Concession $25 / MAAS & AAA Members $25
Accessibility: Please note there is no wheelchair access to many of the Sydney Observatory spaces due to narrow and steep staircases in the heritage-listed buildings.  Strollers must be cloaked on arrival.

Don't miss out book now - click here.

  • Article: Vanessa Couzens
  • Image: The Sydney Design 2018 tour held in March (Photographer: Annette Dearing)


Take A Walk Through Time With the AAA

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Over two hours discover two hundred years of Sydney’s built history on the Walk Through Time tour. Join an Australian Architecture Association trained tour guide on Saturday 13 October to discover how architecture has helped shape the landscape of the city.

Starting at one of the oldest remaining buildings of Sydney, Hyde Park Barracks, you will look at Sydney's humble start as a convict colony and how the architecture became more and more decorative during the Victorian period.

The 20th Century brought us influences from overseas such as Beaux-Arts, Art Deco and modernism.

We will show you post-war development of modernist thinking and the way post-modernism reacted against it.

By looking at Sydney Hilton and the Queen Victoria Building, you will discover how architects converted existing buildings and gave them a breath of new life.

Throughout the two hours, you will appreciate masterpieces of different architectural styles by different architects and witness how technological advances, economic and political forces shaped our city.


Location: Meet at Hyde Park Barracks, in front of the main gate, 12 Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Time: 10.00am - 12.00pm
Date: Saturday 13 October 2018
Tickets: $30 (Public) / $25 (Senoirs & students) / AAA Members Free

Don’t miss out click here to secure your place on the tour.