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Beside the Sydney Opera House: Your first look into the new Opera Residences

The Opera Residences are now designed and delivered. And its all thanks to the collaborative efforts of Crone, Tzannes, Make Architects, Macrolink and Landream.

Beside the Sydney Opera House: Your first look into the new Opera Residences

Generally, but even throughout the industry, there is only a loose grasp on what the executive architect role entails. Effectively it is the role of the construction documenter in that the executive architect translates the primary architect’s vision for execution by the construction company. For Opera Residences, the new residential and retail building at Sydney Circular Quay, Tzannes was the successful tender in a design competition that adhered rigorously to City of Sydney guidelines for this sensitive precinct.

In 2016 Crone was appointed executive architect to work with Sydney-based property developers Macrolink and Landream. UK-based, Make Architects were then selected as the design lead for the residential interior design. “We help everything happen and turn it into a buildable, feasible thing that works. And it keeps the design intent of the original designers,” says Sonia Blasco, Crone Principal and Practice Manager.

Opera Residences

Interestingly, while ensuring the calibre of design intent is adhered to, the executive architect is appointed from a place of great respect. As time goes by, the original architect relies on the executive to adapt to changes and bring their own architectural and aesthetic solutions to the project. It must be understood that this is not a case of one architect telling another what to do, but rather a very close and respectful relationship focused on a singular outcome.

“It ends up being a very intimate collaboration with us being the executive architect that puts the whole team together and connects with the structural engineers, the mechanical engineers, the interior designers, so everything merges,” says Blasco, who notes there is also a great deal of work around regulatory and standards compliance.

Opera Residences

In the instance of Opera Residences, respect and appreciation was afforded both ways, with project lead and CEO of Crone Architects, Greg Crone, describing Tzannes architecture as: “absolutely fabulous.” Moreover, there was room for exciting explorations in working together as peers: “There was an opportunity for us to work with him and assist in terms of the design and its development,” says Crone. There was also a sense of excitement in the execution of the works and effectively managing the dialogue with the contractor, Richard Crookes Construction and the developer.

Opera Residences

External considerations for the project ranged from building right against the Cahill Expressway to unforeseen heritage tunnels beneath the build: “In lengthening the program, it also gave the opportunity of the architects and I (myself and Alec) getting to know one another, and in fact, actually building a relationship. So together with Richard Crookes, the contractor, we see that the property is developed. And that was a really exciting outcome,” says Crone. Similarly, Crone worked with Make on the interiors. In this instance, Crone was able to drive and put clarity into the design and its documentation to ensure successful outcomes with the contractor.

Opera Residences

Both the architecture and interiors of the apartments are exceptional. The calibre of delivery is moreover of an exceedingly high quality. Designed specifically for couples rather than families, space is used to make the most of views while giving the apartments an abundant generosity: “By designing to the quality of the precinct. That quality was just so important. An apartment had a view of the Opera House on the eastern side, and it was an absolutely magnificent feeling to just sit out there on the balcony and enjoy the city, both in its quiet times and its festive times,” says Crone.

Opera Residences

The view is inherent to the glamourous quality of the apartments, and the pool is no exception. Here, a two-storey void gives the pool a sense of grandeur, while timber slats give warmth. Yet the view over the ferry terminal at Circular Quay makes the space sing.

Elegantly realised and beautifully appointed, the apartments enjoy amenities such as butler’s pantries and communal lounge rooms. It is, in fact, an extraordinary collaboration that has genuinely succeeded in delivering the Tzannes vision as translated beautifully by Crone.


Make Architecture




Richard Crookes Constructions

Martin Mischkulnig

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