Sydney is Open

It’s almost time for Sydney Open 2017. On November 4th and 5th 2017, some of Sydney’s most interesting buildings will be throwing open their doors and inviting the public in. As a proud supporting partner of Sydney Living Museums, we share the events and architecture that we’re most looking forward to visiting.

Zulaikha Laurence House, southern elevation. Photo © Michael Nicholson

1. Zulaikha Laurance House by Brian Zulaikha, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects, in collaboration with Drew Heath Architects
We relish any opportunity to appreciate exceptional architecture, and this home is an excellent example of how a building can respond respectfully to the site on which it sits. Located on a very steep, very exposed piece of land atop a 1918 explosive store on Sydney Harbour in Balmain, this beautifully crafted home demonstrates connectivity without intrusiveness.

2. The story of Bennelong Point and the Sydney Opera House – behind the scenes focus tour.
We never tire of learning new tidbits about the history of this iconic building. The story of the building – however beautiful in its completion – is riddled with controversy. After architect Jorn Utzon stepped down from the project in 1966, Peter Hall was appointed to complete it. The challenges of rectifying an incomplete design was said to have contributed to Peter Hall’s decline in health. Hall did, however, design one project shortly after the completion of the Opera House, that Modern House represented in its sale earlier this year – the simple and elegant Helsham House.

Sydney Opera House. Photographer: Kaleb Nimz

Australia Square, interior. Photo courtesy Australia Square

3. Australia Square by Harry Seidler
Australia Square, one of Harry Seidler’s seminal designs, turns 50 this year. Built in 1967, the soaring tower (then Sydney’s tallest), contains a dramatic transparent lobby, upon which a selection of artworks curated by Seidler were hung. When they were replaced (for fear of fading) in 2003 during Lendlease’ renovations, the colourful Orion M.C. by Victor Vasarely made its way to the Glenn Murcutt-designed Donaldson House. The tapestry now hangs on the southern wall in the main internal stair well of this incredible home, where it is naturally lit by the white opal glass roof lights and can be viewed through a glass wall from the dining room. We look forward to a visit to Australia Square, and imagine what this masterpiece would have looked like in its former home.

University of Sydney Business School, interior. Photo © Brett Boardman

4. Abercrombie Building, The University of Sydney by Woods Bagot
At its best, architecture enhances quality of life. And a life enriched with learning is certainly a life well lived. We look forward then, to a visit to the Abercrombie Building at the University of Sydney to view what was intended to reshape the university’s approach to teaching, learning and research. Designed to facilitate flexible and interactive learning, the building also sought to maintain the relationship and integrity of its surrounds, with an existing Sydney Blue Gum as the centrepiece of this 9,000 sqm building.

5. EY Centre by Richard Francis-Jones of Francis-Jones Morehen Throp (FJMT)
This building takes a thoughtful approach to aesthetic and environment. This warm, rounded tower of timber and glass pleases the eye as much as it does the environment, with automated vertical timber panels and three layers of high-performance glazing, 300 bicycle spots, charging for electric cars and replete with LED lighting throughout. It promises to be an example of what all commercial buildings should be.

Share and win
What’s inspiring you? We’re giving you a chance to win a 10.5-inch iPad Pro. Simply share your best architectural photographs on social media over the weekend of 4-5 November 2017 and you could win an iPad Pro to view all your beautiful photographs on. For more information, visit

For tickets and the full schedule, visit Sydney Living Museums

EY Centre, exterior. Photo © Brett Boardman