Last Chance to Book Novembers AAA Residential Coach Tour

1911 a0

Don't miss your last chance to secure your tickets for the final Australian Architecture Association Residential Coach Tour for 2019.

Taking place Saturday 30 November, this tour promises to provide a fascinating insight into the latest contemporary home design in Sydney.

Once again the Australian Architecture Association will showcase the work of both established and upcoming architects, including:

1910 c0

1911 a2

1911 a3

1911 a4


Date: Saturday 30 November 2019
Time: 9.15am - 5.15pm
Tickets: $205 (public) / $190 (AAA Members)

A full lunch is provided on the day of the bus tour.

Numbers are limited, so book now! Click here to secure your place on the tour.


Final @home for 2019 Visits Abbotsford

1911 b1

Visit the final @home for 2019 on Sunday 8 December. Discover Steel Gable House, a collaboration between Hamish Watt Architect and Mark Szczerbicki Design Studio.

Steel Gable House is a new family home. Envisaged as an architect’s home for life – the project was driven to challenge the convention of a typical four-bedroom suburban house.

The project is situated on the tip of Abbotsford headland as the natural topography falls north-west to the shores of Parramatta River. The site's northerly aspect and quiet setting presented a unique opportunity to engage with the street, thereby enabling abundant sunlight and generous water views to be harnessed.

The project’s overarching form of two gables placed side-by-side makes reference to the local vernacular of utilitarian boat sheds that once proliferated the shores of Parramatta River. With its stretched weatherboard cladding, the repetitive structure of two gabled portals presents a proud and poetic gesture for a home overlooking the river.

The home’s interior attempts to shape and influence the many rituals of daily family life while delivering a sequence of airy and light filled spaces throughout. The house’s signature move is a continuous three-metre-high ‘tube’ of living space that connects the ‘public’ street with the ‘private’ backyard beyond. Elevated a metre above the street and fully glazed, the main living space is presented almost like a performance stage with motorised venetian blinds that control sunlight and privacy much like a stage curtain.

A core philosophy was to ensure shared living rooms were prioritised over bedrooms to capture the best sunlight and views. Several cavity-sliding doors have been utilised to encourage bedrooms to remain open when privacy is not a concern, thereby enabling ventilation, daylight and views to be shared across individual rooms. In many ways the compactness and layout of the house is owed to the architect’s fondness for elevated apartment living – an experience familiar to his family after many years living abroad.

The sustainable challenge of this project was to ensure a new house could remain a pleasure to its occupants well into the future. Intrinsic to this was an approach to passive environmental design that harnessed abundant sunlight while encouraging cross ventilation throughout. Made of reverse brick veneer construction with generous insulation and exposed thermal mass internally, the house is designed to moderate extreme temperature change throughout the day and course of the year. To complement these passive design outcomes, the house also boasts an 18kW PV array to harness the sun’s energy and reduce any reliance on the grid for electricity power.

1911 b2


Hamish Watt studied architecture at the University of Sydney in Australia. He graduated in 2004 with First Class Honours and was awarded the Ruskin Rowe Prize for Architectural Design. 

During his career Hamish has developed a high level of expertise in complex building types including education, high-rise commercial and transport-oriented development. 

Hamish Watt is an Associate Partner with globally renowned architectural practice Foster + Partners and is currently responsible for delivering Lendlease Circular Quay - a fifty-five storey commercial tower and public plaza that once completed, will set a new benchmark for high-rise workplace design in Sydney. 

Prior to the establishment of Foster + Partners studio in Sydney, Hamish worked in both the London and Shanghai studios where he was involved in a variety of international projects including the delivery of Shanghai Riverside, a series of three 80-metre-high office towers on a prime waterfront site.

While still on assignment in China with Foster + Partners, Hamish and his wife purchased a charming weatherboard cottage on a compact suburban site overlooking the Parramatta River. Having only limited prior experience of residential architecture, the personal journey of designing ‘a home for life’ proved to be his most challenging and rewarding project to date.


Mark Szczerbicki Design Studio was formed in 2013. Based in Sydney, the studio offers a full range of architecture and interior design services and operates within a wide spectrum of site, budget, social/cultural and planning control frameworks.

Core the studio's design philosophy is to respond to every new set of requirements in a practical and custom-designed way, while achieving a high level of beauty, sustainability, long-lasting quality and uplifting atmosphere for each project. The practice works simultaneously in a variety of scales, ranging from custom light fittings and furniture pieces through to apartment developments and master plan proposals.

The studio is currently involved in projects including new houses, residential alterations and additions, multi-unit housing, as well as small commercial and public buildings. In addition to architectural practice, Mark is actively involved in design research and education. He is a recipient of the Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship, and a final year Masters Studio tutor at UNSW in the Social Agency stream.


Location: Abbotsford, 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 8 December 2019
Tickets: $35 (Early Bird) / $45 (Public) / $30 (AAA Members)

Click here and book now as numbers are limited.

  • Article: Vanessa Couzens & Annette Dearing
  • Image 1: Steel Cable House designed by Hamish Watt Architect and Mark Szczerbicki Design Studio (Photographer: Mark Szcserbicki)
  • Image 2: Exterior of Steel Cable House

In Profile: Alex Zecevic of TTW

1911 f0

This month All About Architecture features Alex Zecevic, an Associate at Taylor Thomson Whitting (TTW), one of the largest independent structural engineering consultant firms in Australia - who have been long time supporters of the AAA as Corporate Members.

Alex is a timber engineering enthusiast and advocate, with over thirteen years experience working in both Australia and the UK – with seven of those years as a proud part of the TTW family.

Passionate about mass timber and hybrid timber design, Alex has become an industry expert and a specialist timber frame engineer. 

By delivering 10+ completed mass timber buildings to date, he brings valuable European market knowledge and construction experience. His current mass timber projects include the 13,000 m2 mass timber building The Bond in Norwest.

1911 f1

Tell us a little bit about Timber at TTW?

Over the past 20 years, our Timber team has engineered 50+ timber projects such as award-winning Bunjil Place, Seed House and the Incubator Macquarie University.

These achievements are the results of our expertise in designing with timber and utilising cutting-edge technologies while providing a high-level service to our clients.

Amongst undertaking our own research, our engineers are involved in full-scale tests with universities, builders and fabricators, locally and internationally. These tests for structural integrity and fire enable us to deliver efficient, elegant and award-winning designs, while achieving national code compliance.

1911 f2

Why do you choose Timber?

Firstly, it looks great! there is something incredibly appealing about the warm and natural aesthetic of a nicely detailed timber structure. There is lots of data on its positive impacts on occupant’s wellbeing and productivity.

Secondly, there are proven environmental benefits of using it as a sustainable method for construction. A structure designed in timber instead of concrete or steel would lead to lighter foundation loads, which could lead to smaller concrete foundations (and less carbon) being used. Some of these benefits along with quick construction time and reduced (safer) on site activities are often overlooked in the early stages of comparisons.

1911 f3

Tell me about the unique and smart ways TTW is putting Mass Timber to use?

We’ve built our expertise through delivering some of the most advanced timber projects, such as Aveo Norwest which was the tallest CLT building at the time in Australia. By continually developing in-house design tools and methods for structural analysis, our integrated services with our advanced analytics and computational design team can very quickly test concepts and ideas in the beginning of a project to design and deliver the most efficient timber buildings. 

When recommending Timber, what are the considerations that should be thought about when choosing Mass Timber for a project?

Fire design and certification is probably one of the hottest topics right now (pun intended) with mass timber construction. The overall fire strategy and design will dictate the approach to the structural design and the detailing of members and connections. Typically, the longer the fire period, the larger your timber sections need to become – an allowance needs to be made for this when considering section sizes and depths. This can all have an impact on the aesthetics. 

Another key consideration is the services reticulation strategy. I recommend designing into the structure and planning service reticulation routes that don’t require large penetrations through beams. The rules around hole sizes through timber beams are not as forgiving as those through steel beams, and therefore much smaller holes through beams can be achieved economically. Any large holes or notches to beams will need to be reinforced with screws, which adds cost into a project

Lastly, where is Mass Timber going in the future, how do you see it influencing our industry?

Overseas, and mainly in Europe, the majority of mass timber projects are engineered with prefabricated façade panels as well as prefabricated timber elements. Pushing the off-site construction envelope will unlock the next evolution in the Australian market for mass timber and design for manufacture and assembly. 

How do we find out more about using Mass Timber on a project? 

TTW or myself are always happy to have a chat over a coffee or give a presentation at your office.

1911 f4

  • Article: Interview provided by Lydia Piegay Marketing and Events Coordinator TTW
  • Image 1: Alex Zecevic, Associate at TTW
  • Image 2: Visualisation of The Bond in Norwest Business Park, designed by Fitzpatrick + Partners Architects (Image provided by TTW)
  • Images 3: The Seed House, designed by Fitzpatrick + Partners (Image provided by TTW)
  • Images 4: The Seed House, designed by Fitzpatrick + Partners (Photographer: John Gollings)
  • Image 5: Macquarie University Incubator, designed by Architectus (Photographer: Murrary Fredericks)

Give Yourself a Christmas Gift of AAA Membership


Are you looking for ideas for Christmas gifts? Or looking to reward yourself and your staff for another successful year? An Australian Architecture Association membership is the perfect gift!

We have a variety of membership options:

  • Individual Membership: starting at $165 - with discounts for seniors and students 
  • Company Membership, perfect for companies or organisations with fewer than 10 staff - costing $350 annually
  • Tiered Corporate Membership, starting at $1100 annually

Click here to visit the AAA Membership page and learn more about the fantastic benefits of joining the architecture community.

1902 a3

Just a few of the highlights of membership include:

  • Free tickets to AAA architectural walking tours
  • Discounts on tickets to popular tours like @home and AAA Residential Coach tours
  • Discounts on AAA Talks
  • For Company and Corporate members promotion of your services and products

Your gift of a AAA membership will help continue opening the doors on contemporary architecture and raising awareness of the value of design to enriching our built environment.

Visit the AAA website and learn more about the different membership schemes available to suit your needs.

1805 d1

  • Article: Vanessa Couzens
  • Image 1: The Walk Through Time Tour
  • Image 2: The Ultimo Walking Tour
  • Image 3: At Home With the Architect attendees at Tusculum House, Potts Point NSW, designed by Smart Design Studio (Photographer: Vanessa Couzens)

AAA Educational Fund Postcards - A Great Christmas Gift


 The Christmas season is fast approaching and it is time once again, to start looking for gifts for all your loved ones. The AAA limited edition, boxed set of architect cards, is the perfect gift for the architectural enthusiasts in your life.

With 24 cards of varying sizes printed with drawings by 23 of Australia’s most loved Architects, such as Glenn Murcutt and Harry Seidler, this is the perfect gift for Christmas or a birthday. (The cards also look great arranged and framed for display on the wall).

These cards are now available for online order for $75, while AAA members enjoy a special price of $60 including postage (NB: Australia only / see overseas costs when ordering). Not only will your loved one be thrilled, you will have supported the Australian Architecture Association Fund which is used to support design education initiatives.

Click here to order your limited edition set now!

Please note that orders for christmas delivery within Australia will need to be made by Friday 6 December 2019.


Image: Peter Tonkin, Watercolour on paper. View of Amsterdam Canal


Image: Richard Goodwin, Photographic and drawing collages on paper. From the artists own collection.



Image: Terroir, Computer rendering on photographic paper. View of the National Library of the Czech Republic competition entry.



Image: Harry Seidler, Pen on Butter Paper. One of Harry Seidler's last sketches of details for the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre.



Image: Glenn Murcutt, Pen on Butter Paper. Sketch of a new house near Wagga Wagga with details of the sky.