October 31, 2012

Tobias Partners was founded in a spirit of collaboration. Creative collaboration between the partners, of course; but also collaboration with third parties. We enjoy the process, as much as the outcome of each project.

In this same spirit of collaboration, we have always maintained a few ‘open’ desks at our Renny Street, Paddington HQ. These ‘floating’ work spaces have long been ear-marked for creatives working outside of, but perhaps intersecting with the world of architecture. Graphic designers, interiors designers, PRs, people in publishing… or almost any other creative type can enjoy the use of open-plan desk space, receptionist, printers, and, as summer approaches, our out-door first floor communal terrace.

If you – or someone you know – would like to know more, simply contact

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October 25, 2012

The Cockatoo Island FIlm Festival opened last night, and what an impressive event it is! Not only because of the Heraclean commitment of its creative director, Allanah Zitserman, in assembling almost one hundred films from Australia and around the world, packed into a thrilling five-day program, but also because of an urban reuse perspective. Sixteen decommissioned naval and related structures on the Island have been skilfully – and sometimes quite novelly – converted into temporary cinemas. A mammoth commitment really, for a festival of only five days duration. Five days duration, but massive ambition: the Cockatoo Island Film Festival has its sights set on the heights occupied by Venice, Berlin, Cannes and, perhaps most appropriately, the Sundance Film Festival. A big shout-out to Allanah for an outstanding achievement and an event of which we as a city, can justly be very proud. The Cockatoo Island Film Festival is generously Supported by Screen Australia.

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October 15, 2012

Victorian terraces are a typical typology of Sydney housing, and yes they make for a quaint, charming streetscape. Yet, almost all suffer from the same syndrome: lack of light, caused through their typical narrow window casements at front and typically enlarged-in-the-1970s French doors at back. Some may benefit from a skylight or two. The owners to this dark, narrow terrace house in harbourside Double Bay were unequivocal in their brief: Let there be Light!

In keeping with the client’s desire to not disturb the streetscape, the original facade was retained, while the rest of the house was completely demolished. The new design maximizes natural light and cross ventilation to all spaces by north-facing clerestory windows along the length of the long building. Communal spaces have been maximized and a sense of airiness achieved by a play of vertical rods to toy with depths of field.

A void over the central kitchen/dining area features an overhanging …

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October 10, 2012

Libraries are the architect’s Holy Grail. Symbolically, aesthetically and experientially, these temples to knowledge are wondrous places. Rem Koolhaas’ Seattle Public Library is awe-inspiring. William Alsop’s Peckham (South London) Library is a quirky piece of work. And Mario Botta’s Werner Oechslin institute in Germany is a true bijoux of late Post Modernism. Of course, Dominique Perrault’s Bibiliothèque nationale in Paris is a spectacular flop from a technical perspective (an interior sheath of wooden shutters required to protect the books installed above ground in transparent towers) but its inner atriums and research stacks are still oases of cool and calm.

So, Tobias Partners has its first library commission. Okay, so it’s not exactly a Mitterandean grand projet, but it is a project very close to my heart. The Montessori East school that my two sons, Samson, 5 and Griffin, 3 attend, has commissioned Tobias Partners to create their new learning room. On …

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October 5, 2012

Fashion designer Miuccia Prada and architect Rem Koolhaas both use their work to explore the fabric of contemporary culture. So, it’s no surprise that when they team up the results are Wow to the power of…well, two, really. We first saw it in Rem’s design and realisation of the Prada store on Broadway in SoHo, New York, opened in 2001. More an experiential event than simply a store, it’s part amphitheatre, part showcase, and a lot a living piece of installation art. Then came the Office for Municipal Architecture’s (Rem’s practice) wonderful Transformer, a travelling cruciform/disc/cube space that mutates from showroom to gallery to cinema, depending on where and how it’s installed. And then the optically-tantalising runway installations for the past decade or so. Now, OMA has launched into video, conceptualising and producing an über-cool video lookbook for Prada’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection. ‘Real Fantasies’ hit the ‘net last …

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