smart design studio's nickson street house takes shape with peeling brick surfaces

smart design studio's nickson street house takes shape with peeling brick surfaces

smart design studio adapts to an irregular lot


smart design studio completes its brick ‘nickson 61’ dwelling as an example of adaptive reuse in the australian city of surry hills. the challenging site is located at the end of a row of terraces towards the end of the street, and contained a late-19th century terrace beside a vacant lot measuring three meters (nearly ten feet) wide. this lot was originally occupied by a home which has since been demolished. the resulting lot was a detrimental break in the pattern of built form, namely the scale of the streetscape with its properties filling the boundaries of each plot.

smart design studio nickson
images by romello pereira | @romellopereirastudio



reimagining the tradition corner building in surry hills


in response to the irregular site, smart design studio (see more here) determined several key objectives to strengthen the character of nickson street. the include the reintroduction of built form and, the reinterpretation of the traditional corner building, the selection of materials and forms that enhance the aspect, and the integration of windows to create bright, private interiors which have great engagement to their surroundings. 


the traditional typology for a corner site within this conservation areas is the corner shop — a modest-scale building that reinforces the corner and provides public amenity and personality to the urban precinct. the design establishes a contemporary version of this typology, addressing the traditional angled corner boundary form and responding to the typical brickwork construction of the corner building.


the bold new peeling form completes the row of the terraces and provides contrast to the existing built form that was restored to its original victorian detail. the sculptural form is carefully considered to retain the expression of adjacent terrace envelope, while strategic slots in the façade curve out to open to the street corner and sky.

smart design studio nickson



the sustainable intervention


smart design studio’s nickson 61 house observes fundamental principles of energy efficiency and makes the most of passive thermal and solar design on a difficult south-facing site. the additions provide improved access to natural light and ventilation for the residential dwellings including generous windows. new walls have cavity insulation while the existing terrace roof was retrofitted with insulation to improve thermal comfort. a below-ground rainwater tank was installed for reuse of water on site.


nickson 61 is a contemporary, bespoke contribution to surry hills. it offers clever reuse of existing building stock to provide boutique commercial and residential space that exemplifies the vibrant mixed-use character of the suburb and provides a bold formal addition to the architecture of the area.

smart design studio nickson
the design establishes a contemporary version of the corner building smart design studio's nickson street house takes shape with peeling brick surfaces
the team responds to the typical brickwork construction of the area


smart design studio's nickson street house takes shape with peeling brick surfaces
the bold new peeling form contrasts the existing victorian building





project info:


project title: nickson 61

architecture: smart design studio |

location: surry hills, new south wales, australia

project director: william smart

project architect: jolyon sykes

design team: marco caldarola, anna chan, hamish ginn, tatsu hayashi, nicole leuning

builder: jackal constructions

completion: september 2021

photography: romello pereira | @romellopereirastudio

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