Smart Design Studio - Sydney Architects

Sydney Rail Operations Centre

Smart Design Studio won the design competition to design the overall concept for Sydney Trains’ new Rail Operations Centre (ROC). Paying particular attention to the building’s façade, its public spaces and its urban qualities, we have sought to produce a distinctive building that remains sympathetic to its surroundings and true to its purpose. Our winning concept, informed by the language of great railway infrastructure, draws upon the familiar iconography of masonry arches that occur in many buildings and bridges. With arches spanning up to 64m and walls that are 1m thick, the building clad in red brick, is redolent of the Australian landscape, its colour, its formidable scale and its legendary toughness.

Running parallel to the eastern colonnade, a stair and atrium rises from ground level to the highest floor. Smallest at the ground floor, the atrium gradually increases in size with each consecutive level. Stretching to a length of 38m and rising to a height of 26m, the stair atrium is the building’s ‘main street’, encompassing its social spaces and its landmarks within an exciting volume that is at the centre of circulation for all levels of the control centre. The atrium and stair create opportunities for the building’s community to socialise, to exchange information and to share.


The control room, occupying an area 40m x 50m, has been placed at the top of the building with the associated plant and support spaces located on the floors immediately below. The 8m high vaulted ceiling and its integrated skylights perform like a luminous canopy, directing natural light over a flexible column free space.
Smart Design Studio are working in collaboration with Jacobs on the ROC. In the design of the Rail Operations Centre we have sought to create a building that revels in the potential of new ideas and technologies, to carry Sydney Trains into the future. By evoking the audacious architectural and engineering achievements of railway buildings from a bygone era, our design celebrates the heroic scale and confidence of a remarkable modern building. The design for the Rail Operations Centre is a bold concept which unequivocally establishes this building as a piece of railway infrastructure.