Shared Space – NSW Architecture Awards 2020 showcase

Take an in depth look at 3 very different shared spaces, as project architects showcase Daramu House by Tzannes, and Studio Apartments and Level 5 Ballarat House by Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects.

Jonathan Evans from Tzannes and Philip Thalis of Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects share their expertise and insight for the following outstanding winning projects in the 2020 NSW Architecture Awards:

  • Daramu House by Tzannes | NSW Award for Commercial Architecture and Commendation for Sustainable Architecture
  • Studio Apartments by Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects | NSW Award Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing
  • Level 5 Ballarat House by Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects | NSW Award for Heritage Architecture


About the projects

Daramu House – Daramu House pushes the limits of timber construction. Together with its sister building, International House Sydney, Daramu House delivers a cohesive and inviting threshold to Barangaroo South from Sussex Street and beyond to the western edge of the city. The distinctive sculptural form of Daramu House at the northern boundary of the commercial precinct, creates a strong identity adjacent to the residential Barangaroo precinct and enhances interior view experiences for occupants.

At the heart of the design is the timber structure boasting an expanded structural grid of 9m x 9m that is currently the largest in the world for mid-rise commercial projects . An impressive 18m span in timber is achieved over the commercial entry on Sussex Street through an innovative structural solution that utilises the bracing as a timber truss. Daramu House is a world leader in sustainability and innovation, targeting a 6-star Green Star as-built rating.

Studio Apartments – On a challenging 458m2 triangular site, Studio Apartments creates high-amenity dwellings within a distinctive architectural form. A shop animates the street front , while the residential address is organised as an architectural promenade, with stepped gardens, open gallery access at each level and a generous communal roof terrace.

The typical floor plan fans along the northern frontage, providing ample daylight and outlook to every studio. The 5-storey street façade has a carefully articulated massing and materiality with concrete blades and slab edges defining each studio up to terrace level. A louvred screen around the smaller upper levels unifies this taller setback element.

In every aspect of its design and construction, the building challenges the strictures of the dismal enabling SEPP & the poverty of the prevalent boarding house type, prioritising a high degree of amenity and character for each studio, encouraging social interaction while providing a considered urban form that enhances the street.

Level 5 Ballarat House – Ballarat House was built by leading architects Morrow and de Putron as a four-storey building in 1916, with a floor added in 1924. Heritage-listed, Ballarat House is an exemplar of the early C20th warehouse type and construction.

The current alterations and additions are concentrated on the top floor, adding a mezzanine floor beneath a central pop-up roof and a roof terrace. Clerestory windows and large openings off the terrace coupled with generous voids provide natural light and ventilation into the centre of the floor plate.

The original hardwood columns and beams and long concealed Oregon roof framing are exposed and celebrated. New steel beams both support the mezzanine and terrace and provide earthquake compliance. The careful adaptation of this framed and braced structure creates a compelling scale and rhythm that subtly energises this contemporary workspace. The revealed volume and structure create a space full of interplay, light and delight.

Speaker bio

Jonathan Evans – director at Tzannes since 1999. Throughout that time, he has made a significant contribution to the strategic planning of the practice – seeing through a transformation towards a greater diversity of project types and architectural approaches. Jonathan is particularly adept in the delivery of technically and operationally challenging projects with complex approval demands. Environmentally Sustainable Development is an integral part of Jonathan’s skill set and approach to design and life. He drives both the practice’s sustainability agenda and provides the technical knowledge to meet these ambitions.

Philip Thalis – founding principal of Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects, established in 1992. Philip has more than 25 years local and international experience across a broad spectrum of architecture and urban projects. Philip has won more than 40 awards, commendations and competitions for architecture, urban design, planning, public domain and heritage projects. The Sydney Olympic Village competition winning project was instrumental in launching Sydney’s Green Games agenda and the Barangaroo/ East Darling Harbour International Competition has generated strong public interest in Sydney’s urban future. The Pair of Houses in Northbridge was commended in the 1995 Institute of Architects Awards and has been published in various guidebooks to Sydney architecture. Pirrama Park, Rooftop Apartment, Substation No. 175 and The Majestic have also been widely published and have featured in architectural tours.