Smart Design Studio - Sydney Architects

Arlington Grove

Smart Design Studio’s Masterplan for Arlington Grove creates a new beautifully landscaped residential precinct in Sydney’s Inner West. This former industrial site is transformed to feature 246 well-planned apartments, arrayed around a series of leafy courtyards and lanes. At an urban scale the site is conceived of as a considered edge to Johnson Park which sits to the north-west and, at a finer grain, a continuation of the orthogonal street network to the south-east.

Public benefits such as “Arlington Square”, a landscaped shared zone featuring a café and an extended, high quality ground plane, convert a previously non-descript dead end street into a vibrant urban place. This marks the entrance to the new Arlington tram stop as well as to a Greenway running parallel to the tramline. This informal native landscaped area can be explored via an elevated path and provides space to be enjoyed by both residents and neighbours whilst encouraging wildlife inhabitation and cycling connections to the CBD.

The four buildings that make up the project are carefully located to maximise the number of bright, sunny apartments and to access views over the district to the CBD skyline and the park. Narrow building footprints promote natural cross ventilation for the residences within and building heights are unified, at either 4 storeys where they address the local streets or stepping up to 8 storeys towards Johnson Park. The architecture of Arlington Grove utilises carefully composed rhythmical elevations, their proportions borrowed from classical buildings and their extents framed by angled corners. The orange grove, a row of fruit trees planted at the street entry, draws pedestrians into the site from the surrounding street, extending the rhythm of the building facades into the landscape.

The interiors of the project bring the architecture inside and bring to the fore some of SDS’s established interior design concepts, adapted to suit this project, location and a completion date two years from now. The foundation for these simple and beautiful apartments is great planning to achieve generously sized apartments with tall ceilings.


Simple orthogonal white interior spaces reflect the rhythm of the exteriors and are contrasted with gently splayed joinery elements which draw inspiration from the dynamic corners of the buildings. The look is tailored and the palette is matt with charred wood veneer as the feature for the dark scheme, and white over-painted wood for the light. These veneers are coupled with clay-stained wood, looped carpet, brushed stainless steel details, full height doors and very fine floating benchtops. Functional arrangements, high quality fixtures and fittings and energy efficient design will create wonderful homes for people to live in, connected to the outdoors and the abundance of green space that surrounds them.