Make Architects

Capella seeks to blend heritage preservation with modern luxury in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. 

Originally designed by the esteemed architect George McRae, the heritage-listed building, constructed in two halves between 1912, is a testament to Sydney’s architectural heritage. The challenge was to transform it into a world-class luxury hotel, setting new standards for Australian hospitality while respecting its historical significance.

From a sustainability standpoint, the project took a conscientious approach to limit excavation and embodied carbon. By consolidating back-of-house areas for Capella Sydney and the Lands Building next door, excavation for services was minimised, reducing both costs and environmental impact. The preservation of heritage elements, such as sandstone facades, demonstrated a commitment to environmental stewardship.

One of the key design moves was removing solid walls between the access corridor and the heritage staircase, fostering a connection between historical and contemporary elements. Restoring and upgrading the heritage marble staircases posed a unique challenge, but the team’s innovative solutions resulted in both functional and historically respectful outcomes.

Capella by Make Architects is a testament to how a thoughtful blend of heritage preservation and modern design can create a sustainable and luxurious space. The project’s commitment to minimising excavation and preserving historical elements showcases a dedication to environmental responsibility, setting a high bar for future sustainability-focused designs.

Photography by Make Architects