Five questions with Sydney Open Ambassador Alec Tzannes

1. Describe your relationship with architecture

Lifelong and passionate - from my early years growing up I have loved designing and making things. 

2. What is your favourite building in the world and why?

I will exclude buildings by my firm (International House and YHA in The Rocks) in your list and select the Sydney Opera House, the Museum of Sydney and One Farrer Place as well as 50 Martin Place. If selecting more generally I would consider Burnham's Flat Iron Building in NYC and John Soane's Residence in London. 

3. As an ambassador for Sydney Open 2017 what is your best advice to people wanting to explore the program?

My advice is to enjoy the walk between the buildings and trace the history of Sydney through the design of our streets looking for the earlier architecture of sandstone, the defining period between the two world wars including US influences, then the '50s and 60s' and finally the post 1980's boom periods. 

4. What does ‘future heritage’ mean to you?

Heritage helps us understand people, the forces that shape urban change and more generally again, the world around us. We understand from those that went before, their vision of beauty giving expression to the values, social structures, economic forces and technologies that shape this vision. 

5. Finish this sentence ‘What I love about Sydney is…’

I love Sydney's energy and its capacity to offer a casual, globally connected and sophisticated lifestyle. We also have benefitted from the efforts of a city government that places priority on transforming the city through design embedded in values that aspire to a more liveable and sustainable urban future. 

Alec Tzannes

Alec Tzannes

Founding director of Tzannes

Alec is the founding director of Tzannes. He established the firm’s distinctive design philosophy and collaborative work practices with a record of design excellence across a wide range of projects. Alec has also served the community in a number of other roles including as National President of the Australian Institute of Architects (2006-7) and as Professor of Practice and Dean of UNSW Built Environment (2008-15). He retains an ongoing relationship with UNSW as an Emeritus Professor undertaking research and occasional teaching roles, contributing to the firm’s commitment to thought leadership in design and architecture practice.