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Multiuse Project in Sydney Acts as a Sanctuary in Bustling City Center

Sited on the popular George Street, this landscaped development celebrates and adds new energy to its downtown Sydney location. Comprised of 12 boutique shops, 18 bars, nine restaurants, two penthouse suites, a rooftop pool, a garden atrium and one of the city’s largest ballrooms, the intricate hospitality ensemble seamlessly reinvigorates previously neglected pedestrian areas.

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The architectural elements work in modern sympathy with the original 1895 building for the Life Assurance Society of America, designed by architect Edward Raht. The grid nature of the in-situ concrete and pre-cast split face stone walls create different permutations of façade openings and lush garden courtyards on all street frontages. Providing multiple through-site connections, carefully located entries at various points invite visitors to weave in from the street to rest, shop, and socialize away from the bustle of the city and rediscover Sydney’s lost laneway network.

The design applies a careful understanding of the interrelationship between architecture, landscape and interiors. Despite residing within a commercial domain, ivy evokes domesticity. Key elements of idealized 1950s modernist residences are reinterpreted and over-scaled into a harmonious sequence of indoor/outdoor rooms.

Externally, salvaged stone elements combine with new board form concrete, ribbed bronze detailing and glass to tell a visual story of the site’s history. Delicate framed windows and operable panel doors to remove the barriers between public and commercial space. Pre-cast concrete planter boxes built into the exterior hold thick, overhanging greenery to further enhance the pedestrian experience.






Sydney, Australia

Completion Date



20,000 square meters


The Sydney Morning Herald & The Age’s ‘Australia’s Best Houses’ – ivy Penthouse

Urbis Magazine’s Design Annual- Best Australian Building

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IDEA09 Interior Design Excellence Awards

  • IDEA09 Overall Winner
  • Hospitality Winner
  • Multi-Residential, Highly Commended

Australian Institute of Architects National Awards 2009

  • Harry Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture
  • National Award (Urban Design)

Interior Design Awards, Australia 2009

  • Best of State, Commercial Design, New South Wales
  • Hospitality Design Award

Australian Institute of Architects (NSW) 2009

  • Lloyd Rees Award for Outstanding Urban Design
  • Commercial Architecture Award

The 20,000-square-meter building offers a public landscaped oasis within the tight commercial fabric of George Street.

Bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out, the design achieves a series of experiences that engage the senses.

Entrances injected with retail, cafes, public seating and landscaping invite passersby to rediscover Sydney’s lost laneway network.

A central courtyard and void allows guests to see and be seen as they move through the surrounding bars and restaurants.

The sensibility of 1950s modernist residencies is carried through Ivy’s qualities of conventional domesticity.

The interior design principles stem from a careful understanding of the interrelationship between architecture, landscape and interiors.

The vision was for an intimate dialogue among diverse, yet cohesive materials, forms, detailing, lighting, scales and lines of sight.

The holistic approach to design has produced a hospitality offering layered with rich, unexpected touches.

The philosophy of ivy is to create a vibrant and youthful meeting place where people feel guests in a home.