The Architects’ Bookshop

SJB Architects

Architects of all types depend on physical books to help shape the way they think. Books give us time to ponder, touch the pages, smell the paper and develop our ideas. In 2016, the bookshop at the Sydney headquarters of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) closed. Architects, and those who love architecture, were left with a void as the shop was much more than just a place to buy books. It was a place to bump into friends and colleagues in the profession, to survey what was happening in the world in a manner more direct and enjoyable than any blog can offer.

The Architect’s Bookshop in Sydney’s Surry Hills is a design-focused bookshop carrying all manner of books devoted to architecture, interiors, landscape and urban design, with an aim to fill the gap left by the closure of the bookshop at the AIA. Hunting down new titles and exposing Sydney to new practices and projects, the shop reflects book buying as an experience rather than a transaction and signals an investment in the design community – a resource to influence ideas and showcase the incredible work of Australian architecture.

Located in a heritage building fronting a lively Sydney shopping strip, the pressed metal ceiling and brass-framed shopfront have been restored to reveal the ambition of the original building. The new insertions into the single-room space have been held off the existing fabric, to sit lightly within. Constructed from a single native timber species, the joinery is a celebration of the colours of the Australian bush, with the soft pinks and yellows of the timber species remaining unfinished. In a world dominated by the digital and online, The Architect’s Bookshop is an exercise in reintroducing texture and smell into the retail experience.

Photography: Anson Smart.