Sliding doors on sliding doors in plywood sliding walls conceal projectors and a bar for a communications company in an existing warehouse.

Winning Post

A derelict warehouse received a two storey group of seven film and sound editing suites. The suites were separated from the existing floor to provide communication between levels.

The strong pattern graphically represents the cut up nature of editing - many bits make the whole.

Standard sized simple elements were put together in irregular ways.


Provision of an exhibition in a space where the walls could not be used for display warranted a bold independent insertion.

Sydney Harbour as a tabletop for observers to walk through was built with reverse photocopied landscape information transferred to the plywood top. Sites in question were identified in colour and their locale easily understood by proximity. The observer was able to stand in the Harbour to observe from a new perspective what was otherwise familiar.


Supermodels was an exhibition of 444 architectural models by Sydney architects ranging from small to large, rough to refined, literal to abstract, the prosaic to the utopian, and the unbuilt to the unbuildable.

The materiality of model making was continued in a plywood table top at eye level. All materials were fully recycled on disassembly. The exhibition was carbon neutral.

The exhibition showcased some of Sydney's most contemporary and adventurous design. Like the "directors cut", the model is often the only 3D manifestation of how the architect wanted the building to be built and quite often the only built form of an idea.


Rhythmically located cantilevered steel blades as a fence resolved the conflicting desire for visual privacy from the street by council yet maximum exposure for self-promotion of a car parking yard.

Bold iridescent lime green and pink signage either side of the blades took its inspiration from nearby Chinatown.


A competition entry for Anzac Parade in Canberra to commemorate nurses' involvement in wars. An extensive bronze seat saying "We too were there" symbolically provides support for those that sit on it, as well as acceptance of ceremonial wreathes. More seats as crosses throughout have inscriptions of how many people were cared for in each campaign. Surrounding trees are gifts from countries that nurses served in. All is left to weather.

Venice Pavilion


An entry for the Australian Pavilion in Venice. The rationale was:

Singular solid concrete pavilion = an island continent
Monolithic = presence & singularity of Uluru
Unique form = unique land, flora & fauna
Open-ended entry = land as vast endless beyond
Concrete left to accept weathering = old continent
Rough strong exterior with smooth precise interior = ocean around continent with unique biodiversity
Limited palette (concrete, glass, plaster) = unassuming demeanour
Art inside concrete building = unique achievement
Art on plasterboard walls = opals in kaolin
People in the offices on the canal = population on the coast
Natural light = abundance of sunlight
Roof as photo voltaic cells generating electricity to the grid (especially when the pavilion is closed) = repaying the multicultural diversity
Flexibility of exhibition space = democracy and accommodating easy-going nature


An extension to Campbelltown Arts Centre of a very simple rectangular gallery took it's design prompt from the out of sight gallery cavity walls that house support equipment for the art works. The cavity, instead of concealing, is revealed at it's back face to provide a double height space for signage signalling the gallery and changing exhibitions. Translucent multi-walled polycarbonate cladding provided thermal insulation as well as a means of amplifying massive bright signage.


An overriding translucent facade that floated over structure and openings for natural daylighting and ventilation provided a simple building for a competition entry for a new art museum, cafe and new entry to the campus.

Darren Knight Gallery

Simply detailed materials and lighting provided a neutral space for the display of contemporary art.



The ongoing creation of unique contemporary art never fails to amaze me. When you think it has all been done, new expressions arise. It is this art that inspires me the most.

What the MCA required was simple yet highly complex due to the existing building, early Colonial remains under the site and being located in a historic precinct. Apart from coherent circulation throughout, dedicated education spaces and flexible gallery spaces, the building had to be a contemporary signifier - a building recognisably a contemporary art museum. All these had to serve the art, as it is all about the art and its undistracted display.

Analysis of the solids and voids in the built form of Circular Quay, particularly the Rocks, shows roads running along the contours and narrow passages down between these roads. These provide pedestrian short cuts as well as vistas to the harbour. It is surprising how many there are. This device has been employed in the new building to reconcile the schism of entry levels from Circular Quay and George Street being on different levels. An internal 'street' has been formed to allow easy access and get people to a point from which the gallery experience would commence. Like the narrow passages, views and pedestrian traffic flow through the building.

From this 'street', a simple circulation system can be accessed. Although the new building is intentionally pushed up against the old building, the main circulation stair and lifts act as the separation between old and new. Traversing either, one encounters old and new, as well as views in and out.

The initial form generator was the white box. The MCA's practice is to create spaces that accommodate the art. They require very simple white box-like spaces that curators can reconfigure. The starting point for the design. The double height gallery on the prominent north-eastern corner is the clearest expression of this idea. Interior white walls and exterior bounding white GRC (glass reinforced cement) are separated from the rest of the building.

Other rooms were designated colours and placed according to function. Spaces between these rooms are for circulation and for views out and in.

The value of a view is questioned. With expansive views available, the temptation would be a glass facade to not miss a glimpse. Instead, the gaps between the boxes are carefully placed to give different rooms different views.

Analysis of the old Maritime Services Board building revealed that it is a composition of forms (or boxes) that are arranged in a conventional and symmetrical fashion. This idea has been reinterpreted in the new addition whereby the boxes are similarly big scale yet assembled in the opposite fashion, ie asymmetrical, to express the MCA's desire for inclusivity.

I have always been fascinated with the dialogue between opposites and in this case solid and void, finite and infinite. Most of my work deals with this. Such gaps provide views out for orientation, interest and relief.

Scale was a very important consideration in the design. The western side of George Street is a very coherent wall of predominantly Georgian and Victorian buildings. But as the eastern side is a mix of later period architecture (including the MCA) and open space, a contemporary gesture did not seem out of place - especially by contrast to the historic western side of the street. I like contrast. Especially when it comes to heritage. A highly contemporary building up against a historic building highlights the heritage and there is no confusion about what is historically important. Trying to fit in or copying period styles would have been vandalism to the original heritage fabric.

Surrounded by the massive scale of the expanse of Circular Quay, the arching span of the Bridge, the huge simplicity of the Opera House, ridiculous Luna Park face and the skyward competition of the towers of the CBD, what could be put next to the strength of the MSB building? As Professor Tom Henegan noted on seeing the design, "What do you put next to a gorilla - another gorilla." The extension had to be strong.

Large scale gestures have been used to articulate the external shape. Considering that the building is seen from all angles including above, an architectural expression that had no front, back nor top was paramount.

Foreseeing that the design could change during the design process, a facade system was developed whereby change could be easily be accommodated and the building's appearance not compromised. The asymmetrical array of boxes and their colours remained strong yet flexible.

GRC cladding panels were used due to the massive sizes they could be fabricated in (9x3m with a 1.5m return) and their ability to be cast in three dimensional forms out of a material only 12mm thick. GRC had the unique quality that it could fold over from the vertical facade to form roofs and ceilings. One cladding material could be used for most of the building - walls, ceilings and roof were one.

Generally materials retain their integrity by resisting being finished in surface coatings. Plasterboard is the exception as it is continually transformed by the MCA. Local materials are used wherever possible. While wanting to have its own language commensurate with the large scale gestures in Circular Quay, the earth colours are both from the surrounds and contrast the surrounds. So the building does not get lost in the surrounds, the contrast of these colours has been turned up full and is in uninterrupted expanses. Brown, white and black are the bookends of the colours with three greys in between. The interior is predominantly white as the neutral background to the art.

Being in a position to inspire others, the MCA's environmentally sustainable design initiatives have gone considerably beyond statutory requirements. The key initiative is a seawater exchange system that reduces emissions and running costs for air conditioning (which is essential for the conservation of the art) by one third.

I look forward to seeing the wonderful contemporary art that will fill the spaces and the way the galleries will be reconfigured by artists and curaters. I anticipate the great parties that will be had with the great views on hand and the fulfilled children and adults who will be inspired by the classes in the education spaces. I welcome the weathering of the building as it settles into the site.


A 1957 heritage listed chapel was transformed into a gallery for the display of contemporary design & craft.

Careful insertions for the change of use retained the heritage.

The addition of a series of double height straight walls connected by curved walls set up a respectful yet contrasting dialogue with the original powerful circular geometry.


A sandstone under-house space of a heritage bungalow was excavated to make way for living spaces. With plenty of thermal mass, the space performs very well in summer and in winter is supplemented with a solar powered hydronic slab heating. A previously excavated space for a demolished warehouse to the rear made way for an underground garage, pool and games room/guest accommodation above.


An adventurous client inquired about the possibility of adding a level to a free standing two storey terrace house to provide her a generous bedroom, ensuite and dressing room with expansive views of industrial docks and city skyline - all to be simple, elegant and uplifting.

To avoid council rejection and loss of privacy to neighbours, windows were strategically placed - usually high up under the ceiling. Abstract views from within capture adjacent eucalypts, passing weather, the skyline of the pinnacle of Balmain, Anzac Bridge and most importantly the city beyond. Joinery items merge to form a whole.


A site with opposite conditions - sunlight, wind protection, privacy and level lush garden to the north; and shade, cooling breezes, exposure to storms, distant views to the Pacific Ocean over the steep sloping site to the south required these conditions to be experienced by all rooms. An open plan allowed views, breezes and sun/shade through at all times. Simple spaces and materials allowed the best appreciation of the exterior and the owners' extensive art and furniture collection.

Coal Point

A steeply sloping site on a lake lent itself to eight long telescope-like boxes to maximise views and privacy while retaining the native vegetation.


A derelict 1903 warehouse offered all prompts for conversion to a residence and studio.

The challenge was to create uplifting contemporary space yet not compromise the unique building fabric. Insertions were carefully considered to avoid restricting possibilities for future owners and inhabitants.

New structure was simple, expressed and easily constructed. Materials demonstrate their inherent qualities and lack of cosmetic finishes.

The owner, client, architect and builder (with Drew Heath) were the same person.

Fishing Point

A tight commercially driven project of 11 dwellings designed and oriented to make the most of northern sun and views.

Queens Park

Creating uplifting, useful, comfortable and sustainable contemporary spaces for a young family of four that could easily change over time was the driver for the design.

Off the open public concourse of halls, kitchen, living and dining rooms, rooms are designed for multiple future uses as the family evolves. All have unique qualities that optimise their location and aspect. The diversity of items stored, both on display and out of sight, have produced unique joinery units.

The upper level is naturally lit through openings in the recycled plywood ceiling via an insulated translucent fibreglass roof giving even light throughout the day for creative tasks.

For a family committed to environmentally sustainability, five rainwater tanks collect water for garden use, windows are constantly adjusted to direct air over thick internal masonry walls for heating and cooling, water is solar heated, power is 100% green power, the pool is heated by solar, five worm farms and a composter use precious kitchen scraps to feed the vegetable garden.

Dense native plantings to the south provide a privacy buffer to the street while attracting native birds. An exotic garden to the north provides scented flowering trees, fruit and vegetables.

Queens Park Studio

The task was to add storage space, provide privacy, minimise overshadowing, and provide enclosure and a focal point for the private open space and living rooms of the dwelling - all in a contemporary, sculptural, functional and unfamiliar fashion.

The direct use of material and structure of the existing garage was extrapolated to include the use of recycled materials - plywood & lights from Supermodels, stair framing from the existing hardwood trussed garage roof, fibreglass roofing from the main dwelling's construction, polycarbonate sheeting from a former office fitout.

Cypress pine cladding was chosen for its economy, durability, sustainability, ability to weather silver and for its abundance of knots. Concrete lifted the timber stair off a wet floor.

A traditional form was unacceptable to the client. Analysis of the surrounding lanescapes revealed a domain that council had forgotten. All similar recent additions had baulked at the contemporary. This provided a rich opportunity for dialogue through contrast.


An existing house has been converted to make the most of sunlight, shade and natural ventilation amid the dense urban pattern of Woollahra. The interior space was extended for easy access to a landscaped outdoor area. A full height joinery unit contrasts this openness. Irregular shaped doors house appliances and a variety of functions while making a singular overall composition.

A northerly aspect provides sunshading in summer and deep penetrating winter sunlight to heat the concrete slab for re-radiation at night.

A storage unit of 3mm black steel intentionally disappears to reveal the personality of its owner that can be pieced together by surveying the collection of records, CD's and books.

New York

Products, mirrors and careful articulation of form made the most of awkward services intrusions and a very small retail space.

The architecture took second stage to the products.


Products, mirrors and careful articulation of form made the most of awkward services intrusions and a very small retail space.

The architecture took second stage to the products.


Welcome to the Architect Marshall website.

The website has been designed and developed by the team at Box Communications [BoxTM]. It utilises state-of-the-art technology ensuring that the website is not only experiential but versatile in its cross platform and device compatablitly.

There are many new projects on the site. Be sure to have a look at CAC. We are especially proud of the recently completed MCA in Galleries.

We now have a News page to regularly keep you updated. Let us know if you want to be informed when the site is updated. We welcome comments.

Sam Marshall


Website designed and developed by Box Communications

Photographs by Patrick Bingham-Hall
Darlinghurst 13.

Photographs by Brett Boardman:
Balmain 1-3; Darlinghurst 1, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14; MCA 1-24, 26-31; Queens Park 3-8, 11.

Photographs by Gaelle Le Boulicaut:
Bronte 1-4.

Photographs by Jennifer Soo:
CAC 1-8; Annandale1-11.

The rest by Sam Marshall.


AIA Commendation for Public Building for MCA 2013
Agenda International Design & Communication Awards for Best Signage for MCA 2013
Communication Arts Typography Annual Awards (USA) Award of Excellence for Signage with Dot Dash 2013
Communication Arts Typography Annual Awards (USA) Award of Excellence for Level Identification with Dot Dash 2013
Australian Interior Design Awards shortlisted for MCA 2013
Montessori Inspiring Thought Award 2010
Byera Hadley Traveling Scholarship 2003
Marrickville Medal 2003
Dulux Colour Award for Best Residential Interior 2001
RAIA President's Award for Recycled Buildings for Darlinghurst warehouse 2000
RAIA Wilkinson Award for Darlinghurst warehouse 2000
RAIA Heritage Conservation Award for Darlinghurst warehouse 2000
RAIA Premier's Award for "Harbourings" at Museum of Sydney 1997
RAIA Merit Award for Woollahra residence 1997
Two Commendations for East Circular Quay Ideas Competition 1992


honest materials
able to be recycled
easily constructible
respectful of heritage
environmentally sustainable
optimum use of sun, wind, rain