For any architecture practice, its studio is both a workplace and a calling card – embodying its design principles, and reflecting its creative culture to inspire both staff and clients.
Completed in 2017 and short-listed in the 2018 Australian Interior Design Awards, the PTW studio in Aurora Place was designed through a series of staff workshops. Its ‘kit of parts’ fit-out offers diverse work settings and spaces that enable both collaborative and individual work throughout the 1200-square-metre studio. It also continues a tradition of workspace innovation that pre-dates the current building.
Aurora Place stands on the site of the former State Office Block, designed by (the late) Ken Woolley, NSW Government Architect’s Office. Completed in 1967, the State Office Block was briefly Sydney’s tallest tower, and was one of the city’s earliest examples of ‘modern’ office design. It was demolished in 1997, and its replacement was completed by 2000, designed by international practice Renzo Piano Building Workshop, with locals Innovarchi Architects and Lend Lease Design Group.
Combining an office tower and residential apartment block, the new Aurora Place made a dramatic step into the ‘mixed-use’ era. It’s a fitting address for PTW Architects, the practice who gave us the AMP Tower (1962) in Circular Quay, the Water Cube for Beijing’s 2008 Olympic Games, One Central Park (2014 – PTW local collaborating architect; design architect Ateliers Jean Nouvel) and The Calyx (2016) in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden, to name a few.
On level 11, the studio lobby frames a stunning view over Sydney Harbour and the Royal Botanic Garden, but it is less a ‘waiting room’ and more a forum for collaboration and contact. Its long communal table, a series of smaller tables with ottomans and a curved leather lounge invite informal gatherings and breakout groups from the nearby boardroom.
Elsewhere are mobile workstations and height-adjustable desks, writable surfaces, pin-up walls and scalable work nooks with sliding glass walls. A warm material palette throughout includes wide floorboards and timber panelling around the gently curving core. A base palette of charcoal, black and white is warmed by the colour select furnishings and fabric wall panelling.
In tune with current trends towards more nurturing and organic work environments, personal wellbeing is enhanced here by a naturally ventilated wintergarden, used as a yoga/breakout space. The communal kitchen and dining area is sun-drenched, while abundant natural light and individual task lights have reduced the need for artificial overhead lighting.
PTW Architecture Studio on level 11 with views over the Royal Botanic Garden
PTW Architects’ involvement in Sydney Open has been made possible by the Building Management Team at Aurora Place.