Front view of repurposed sandstone and metal buildings.

Smart Design Studio, facade. Photo © Sharrin Rees

Smart Design Studio

Focus Tour - Saturday 2 November

Surry Hills




Smart Design Studio


2007 Dulux Colour Award for Residential Interior Design

2006 NSW Heritage Architecture Award (Conservation & Adaptive Reuse), RAIA

2006 NSW Architecture Commercial Architecture Award, RAIA

Transformed from a rabbit warren of boarding-house rooms into a cutting-edge design office with living quarters above, Smart Design Studio in Surry Hills is an exemplar of inner-city adaptation.

It was formerly two adjoining terrace houses on a prominent corner site. Within the existing masonry shell, a new steel-and-glass insertion delivered two levels of light-filled work studios and a rooftop apartment. The rear stables – one of the oldest buildings in Surry Hills – was restored and adapted for additional work and meeting spaces. An honest layering of new and old is expressed throughout, from the rawness of its stripped-back masonry facade, to the sleek new studio interiors and penthouse.

The studio embodies the sensitive approach to heritage and conservation of this award-winning architectural practice, which has given Sydney some of its most bespoke houses, apartments and commercial buildings.

Tour experience

William Smart, founder and creative director of Smart Design Studio, will lead a very personal Sydney Open tour of his custom-designed work and living spaces. Enjoy a glimpse ‘under the hood’ of this busy creative studio, and a rare preview of upcoming projects, along with the sketches, renders and models that help bring them all to life. Hear firsthand from William about his concept for the building and his design approach to its spaces, from both a heritage and an environmental perspective. As well as access to the main studio spaces and stables, this special tour takes you inside William’s own two-bedroom rooftop apartment.


William is the founder and creative director of Smart Design Studio. Having worked internationally for Gersau Architecture and Foster & Partners, he started the multi-discipline design studio in 1997. William’s buildings such as White Rabbit Gallery and Indigo Slam have received critical acclaim, won prestigious awards and been widely published.

  • Exterior of buiiding.
  • Interior living space with deep red flooring.
  • Facade of rectangular building.

Key information

Session duration

45 mins


This tour has a capacity of 20 people per session.

Visitor requirements

Please arrive 10 minutes before the start time, as latecomers cannot join tour.

No lift access. There are internal staircases to take you up to the upper levels of the studio, the apartment and the stables. Wheelchair access available for ground floor of the office only.

to know

  • Photography allowed

  • Pram friendly
    Prams will have ground floor access only.

  • Accessible
    With restrictions