Australian Institute of Architects


Christopher Polly Architect

17 Harold Street

Ph. 02 9516 5994


Christopher Polly Architect is an award winning design and ideas-focused architecture practice established in Sydney in late 2005. The practice distils a holistic process-led approach in the delivery of creative and pragmatic architectural solutions that resonate simplicity, conceptual rigour and material invention.

A strong emphasis is placed on a critical synthesis of the opportunities and constraints of each site, context and client brief as a catalyst for design differentiation and uniquely appropriate outcomes in response to place, landscape and patterns of use. Our process results in high quality crafted outcomes that are meticulously detailed and finished.

Project profiles

Unfurled House

Petersham, Sydney, 2016

An articulated two-storey volume is sensitively stitched to the rear fabric of a Federation masonry and hipped envelope. Environmental, cost and planning values entailed in retaining the original fabric are augmented by a modestly sized footprint and lightweight-framed envelope in a crafted "new build" enabled at the rear. It has a sectional split-level relationship to the original house that harnesses the fall of the site to the rear, allowing the cellular front plan to vertically and horizontally unfurl into a series of connected interior spaces that expand to its setting. Fenestration placement harnesses natural light and promotes passive ventilation, while acoustic attenuation measures for alternative air ventilation, insulation and internal linings assist the performance of the envelope in ameliorating latent aircraft noise. Surrendered floor area enables generously carved voids flanking an upper bridge for diverse views to sky, trees, and outdoor spaces, while encouraging a spatial interplay of public, semi-private and private rooms.

Cosgriff House

Annandale, Sydney, 2013

A substantial lower ground room is inserted under the original fabric, harnessing the fall in the site towards the rear. It extends deeply beneath the existing dwelling and outwards towards the garden to transform the original dwelling in combination with a re-modeled rear ground floor above. Both levels accept a modestly-sized lightweight addition which extrapolates existing wall alignments, gutter levels, enclosing wall heights and a southern roof plane - that at once, extends and subverts existing geometries to present an interpreted mirrored slice of the original vernacular form attached to the retained rear fabric. Vaulted ceilings and skylights carved within the original roof form expand volumes for access to light and sky within the middle of the ground floor - while a stair hall, cantilevered balcony and generous void spatially expands to the lower level below, and upwards to views of the external environment to strengthen connections to its setting.

Elliott Ripper House

Rozelle, Sydney, 2011

The project presents an appropriately simple and direct extrapolation of an existing archetypal form within a sustainably modest footprint. It provides a significantly expanded series of connected interior spaces that harness access to sunlight, ventilation and strengthened links to tree canopies and sky, with extension of key existing materials and finishes to retain some memory of its previous incarnation. A new ground floor open living volume is generated by extension of the original envelope & internal levels to an averaged plan footprint of former lean-tos, followed by a rear first floor addition that extrudes the previous floor plate and gable-ended roof form over the new ground floor. An extrapolated ceiling-to-wall junction within the new first floor rooms scribes the wrapped alignment of all element heights, lightly bridged to raked ceilings by opalescent polycarbonate - while a generous carved void and open stair vertically expands the relationship between two previously unrelated floors.

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