Interior photograph looking out of Studios 54 including the blue level balcony.

Studios 54, The blue level balcony. Photo (c) Brett Boardman.

Micro-housing: Studios 54

Focus Tour - Saturday 2 November

Surry Hills




Hill Thalis


2015 AIA (NSW) - Aaron Bolot Award

2015 AIA (NSW) - Multiple Housing Award

2015 AIA - National Multiple Housing Award

Counter to the profligate use of urban land across Australian cities, this project shows how even very small sites can be used inventively to make the city richer and more diverse. As the Barcelona architect Manuel de Sola-Morales said: ‘Size is not scale and sometimes small projects can say big things’.

With a site area of just 126 square metres, the Studios 54 project contains a commercial space on street level, with four single-floor apartments above. Each apartment is flexibly planned with a bank of service pods that frame a long, open-plan space that runs between the front and rear balconies. This flexible plan arrangement offers multiple possibilities and would happily accommodate residential, home office and/or commercial use.

Tour experience

The tour allows people to see one of Australia’s foremost constructed models of a micro-apartment building – a ‘Tiny Tower’ type.

The building has a distinctive character inside and out, as its fabric comprises a palette of white materials with differing surface textures – off-form concrete, textured rendered walls, matte ceramic tiles and glossy, vitrified panels. Against this plays a rich colour theme of red, blue, yellow and turquoise that gives a strong individual character to each occupancy through small-scale details such as blinds, soffits and tiled finishes in each apartment.


Philip Thalis

Philip Thalis is a well known architect, director of Hill Thalis, current City Councillor, Professor of Practice at UNSW and former HHT Trustee.

  • Exterior photograph looking down at the colorful facade of Studios 54 from Waterloo Street.

Key information

Session duration

45 mins


This tour has a capacity of 20 people per session.

to know

  • Photography allowed