Category Archives: Architecture

Minnamurra Rainforest Centre

Construction of the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre in Minnamurra National Park is now completed. This is the first stage of a master plan for the precinct prepared by Phillips Marler for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. The new design is a dramatic transformation of the existing building, incorporating a café, commercial kitchen, kiosk, new outdoor spaces and a potential future venue for functions and special events.

The exterior of the building is clad in bushfire resistant Spotted Gum and the interior of the Café incorporates a dramatic new ceiling design featuring a laser-cut pattern based on the image of the Livistona australis palm lit by customised, minimal power LED light fittings.

Blundells Cottage – Landscape Documentation of Canberra’s oldest building

Blundells Cottage built 6

Four years since we commenced the Masterplan for this project, construction of the landscape setting for the Blundells Cottage Precinct is complete.

Blundells Cottage built - opening 2

Built by RAM Constructions, a ministerial launch was a great way to acknowledge the new landscape works by Phillips Marler including courtyard spaces and pathworks, ornamental and productive gardens,  a new small amenities building and exterior lighting by Lighting Art & Science (LAAS).

Blundells Cottage built 4

Blundells Cottage built 16

These works were carried out at the same time as meticulous conservation works of the Slab Shed by Pip Giovanelli Heritage Architect and Myles Gostelow, conservator as well as revitalised interiors and lighting to Blundells Cottage.


Blundells Cottage built 10

Audley Dance Hall and Ironbark Flat Restoration wins Cultural Heritage Award of Excellence

The Audley Dance Hall and Ironbark Flat Restoration was awarded the Cultural Heritage Award of Excellence at the 2016 NSW AILA Awards.  It was a fabulous recognition of this project for our team.


Audley Award hand over


Why was this project so important?

The Audley Dance Hall and Ironbark Flats are at the heart of the Audley Village within Australia’s oldest national park. Our challenge was to carefully restore and ‘reveal’ these culturally significant buildings in their original setting on the bank of the Hacking River.

First established in the late 19th Century as a ‘resort’ or ‘pleasure ground’, Audley Village evolved over the next decades to meet the recreation and cultural needs of a growing Sydney community.

Over time, many of the panoramic vistas into, within and out of Audley were obscured. Our design restored these views so that visitors to the park can appreciate its aesthetic value and experience of Audley as coherent parkland.

Our approach pared back newer landscape installations and restored glimpses of the river beyond reinstated picnic lawns. The Dance Hall is once again used as an event space, café and visitor centre, and is at the heart of this setting. It evokes both a strong sense of history and a sense of place.

“We combined our skills in both architecture and landscape architecture on this project to deliver a revitalised landscape and building as a hub for tourism”, said David Phillips.

“With so many economic and environmental benefits, this project has proven that heritage landscapes and buildings can be sustainable in the long term.”

Image 3 - Ironbark from main entry

Image 11 Ironbark across the river

Smith Hansen House: A complex design on a difficult site

This renovation is a response to a challenging site.  The clients, Leon and Janet asked for space, light and views.

The challenges

  • Site – The house is south-facing, positioned on a steep slope which largely consists of rock outcrops and fill. There was little or no level, stable land to build on.
  • Budget – To keep within the client’s budget, the design needed to keep much of the existing house and the new addition needed to be light-weight construction.


Our solution

Although south-facing, we saw an opportunity to design a cantilevered space over the bushland slope below. The newly created rooms and decks to the south-east now capture the winter sun.  For the first time, the owners enjoy views over Sailor’s Bay.

The new pavilion is completely steel-framed. This minimised the need for footings and supported the large cantilevers. The exterior walls are all metal-clad.

To the south of the house, years of effort by the owners to regenerate a weed-infested slope has paid off. The steep site is now covered with giant ferns, Christmas bush and native grasses.

“We love the house for the elegance of its design – the clean lines, open spaces, and maximised views from every room.

The apparent simplicity of the completed project hides the considerable effort that went into the planning and construction on this difficult site. Structural steel is concealed inside walls, windows frame views, and living areas flow onto decks.

David was great to work with – we were consulted at every stage, and were able to discuss details at any time.

Perhaps the final word should go to a friend who has lived in many houses, in various areas of the world: of the main living area, he said “I think it’s just about the nicest room I’ve ever been in….”

Leon and Janet, Owners


Smith Hansen House blog image - view



Photography by Eric Sierins