Capella Sydney

BAR Studio in collaboration with Make Architects

Opening in March 2023, Capella Sydney has transformed a heritage-listed government building in the heart of Sydney into a luxury hotel. Housed in the former Department of Education building, Capella Sydney occupies an entire city block in the historic Sandstone Precinct, just south of Circular Quay, in the heart of Sydney.

The brief was to retain and celebrate as much of the building’s original architecture and heritage features as possible, while converting these former government offices into a world-class hotel that would set a new benchmark for hospitality in Australia. The brief also required that the conversion of the building allowed for a degree of public access, would ensure the building’s custodianship as a significant contributor to the heritage fabric of the city and would add to the rejuvenation of the Sandstone Precinct – underpinning this area’s transformation into a focal point for Sydney.

With close involvement by heritage consultants and the City of Sydney, it was critical that the conversion respect the 1912 design by the building’s original architect, George McRae and avoid pastiche design details. By circumventing unnecessary demolition, as well as reducing embodied carbon, the conversion also met the environmental aspirations for the project.


Furniture: BAR Studio custom designs, B&B Italia, Living Divani, Poliform. Lighting: BAR Studio custom designs, Mark Douglass (McRae Bar), Restoration Hardware, ArkLED, KLS Lighting, Vistosi ‘Tubes’ light fitting, Nemo Crown Plana Linea chandelier. Finishes: Elite bathware, Onyx, JMT Leather, Tianjin Sunhill fabrics, Mostly BAR Studio custom designed carpets, Carpets manufactured by Brintons (Function rooms, corridors & Presidential Suite), Royal Thai (Guestrooms carpets, Maya Romanoff, Pierre Frey and Phillip Jeffries (Presidential Suite wallcoverings), Maharam and Maya Romanoff (Guestroom wallcoverings). Fittings & Fixtures: Brodware.


Photography: Timothy Kaye