Curl Curl House is a study in efficiency to make a generous home with modest expense. It is a simple, open vessel for a surfing family. A prefabricated grid of steel portal frames economically defines the house. Within the compact planning are two courtyards and a double height living volume; bountiful moments that fill the interior with sea breezes and sunlight. Glazing is limited to the perimeter of these few openings. One courtyard is a north oriented room to the rear garden, the other is an external entry for washing off sandy feet and surfboards. The boundary walls and roof are uninterrupted planes of basic metal sheeting. Internal surfaces of concrete bricks and slabs have mass to moderate the internal temperature and durability to withstand the salt laden air and a battering from three rowdy young boys. Curl Curl house is robust backdrop and pragmatic framework to simplify life by the beach.

By Toby Breakspear, Tiffany Liew, 2016 – 2017 Completed. Photography by Clinton Weaver


A stacked duplex is converted into a single residence within the existing two-storey double-brick envelope. A series of careful cuts to the walls, floor and roof create a continuous flow of spaces from the entry and garden, up a stairwell filled with light from a large skylight above to the living areas on the upper floor, which look out over the landscape.

Each of the seven new openings in the building are treated differently. An expansive clear opening to the rear garden is created by replacing the existing bi-folding timber framing with a single piece of glass that slides out of view on an external steel track. A finely crafted steel staircase winds up through a spacious opening in the floor. A skylight over this void spills light throughout the house. Over the kitchen bench a large fixed glass window brings the nearby trees into the room, while a small square winding casement window over the stove draws fresh air. Finally, the original sunroom has been fitted with a series of mechanical steel pivot windows that dramatically open the corner of the room to the valley of Manly, Sydney Harbour and the Pacific Ocean.

By Toby Breakspear, in collaboration with Tomek Archer, 2013. Photography by Peter Bennetts.


Hill House’s existing skillion roofs intimately enclose an interior against the hillside and amplify the harbour presence from beyond. The renovation works enhance this spatial quality and sense of connectedness with the surrounds. Whilst only minor surgical demolition was needed to reorganise and join with the outdoors, Hill House is completely resurfaced with a natural palette. A durable exterior of concrete, stone and zinc will patina and blend with the landscape tones. The new materials revitalise the existing house and preserve the structure for many years to come. Through finely framed glazing, the harbour sights and colours spill indoors. The water’s soft blue reflections animate an interior of warm timber joinery, oak horizontal planes, crisp white vaulted volumes, and soft shear curtains.

A new concrete podium is added that anchors Hill House to the sandstone escarpment. Its horizontal form grounds the soaring roof planes above. The podium’s terraced levels and a generous staircase bring the pool and lower garden within easy reach of the raised interior. Carved within the concrete mass are a cellar, sauna, and entertaining room. The cliff-face’s sandstone surface is revealed with these cave-like rooms. Temperature is moderated by mass and earth. The podium roof is an expansive teak surface made seamless with inside. The low seating edge mimics a boat deck to feel the harbour without interruption.  Â

By Toby Breakspear, Tiffany Liew, Ciaran Acton, 2016-2020. Built by A.M. Custom Builders. Structural Engineering by Partridge.


The Earlwood House is currently under construction. The house is a stacking of two interconnected worlds; a ground floor for making and an elevated platform for living. More information coming soon.

By Toby Breakspear, Alberto Quizon, Andy Huang, Lucie Hlavsova. 2020 – current


The Aitken Avenue Apartments is currently under construction across from Aitken Reserve in Queenscliff. More information coming soon.

By Toby Breakspear, Ciaran Acton, John Kang, Matthew Argent, Lucie Hlavsova, Andy Huang, Alberto Quizon, 2017-Current.


Across a complete block of Kings Cross, seven fine-grain, brick buildings are carefully composed amongst the site’s eclectic heritage fabric and organised around a central courtyard. The buildings house a diverse mix of functions. Two pub venues bookend the site at prominent corners of Darlinghust Road, Sydney’s most famous nightlife strip. Small commercial tenancies, residential entrances and hotel venues add detail to a richly articulated street edge. The tall arched rooms of a grand hospital from the early 1900s are repurposed for a boutique hotel’s public bar and foyer. Above, on level two to eight, dual-aspect apartments enjoy outlooks to both the city skyline and the inner garden. The densely planted courtyard forms a micro-climate for relief from the bustling surrounds.Â

By Toby Breakspear, Matthew Argent, Ciaran Acton, John Kang, in collaboration with Fender Katsalidis, 2019

Invited City of Sydney Design Excellence Competition


The Ashmore Apartments organises three building around two garden courtyards and a new public laneway. A unifying rhythm of facade details that provide shade and privacy are presented to the street edges. Dispersed through the buildings are apartments, a childcare centre and retail spaces. Movement through the site’s public spaces is oriented for connectivity with the village centre. A rich tapestry of city living is encouraged with adjacencies between shops, dwellings, gardens, laneways and streets.Â

By Toby Breakspear, Tiffany Liew, in collaboration with Kann Finch (Executive Architect), 2017.

Invited City of Sydney Design Excellence Competition with Greenland Group


Rather than align with the street grid, a building is proposed with a herringbone plan that arranges 180 apartments on axis with iconic views of Sydney’s harbour, its bridge and opera house. Every apartment faces north, away from the neighbouring freeway traffic and towards the water; an orientation also ideal for capturing Sydney’s sun and sea breeze. Without compromise to structural efficiency, a staggered floor plate arrangement enables each apartment’s outdoor terrace to be a double height private room. A generosity and dynamism is given to the building’s facade, an edge made ideal for basking in the harbour spectacle.

By Toby Breakspear, Alberto Quizon, in collaboration with Kann Finch (Executive Architect), 2015.

Invited Design Competition, 2nd Place


The Echo building in Katoomba began life in 1912 as a printing house for local Blue Mountains newspaper. In the century following, the building had a colourful and varied existence until ending up as Civic Video store that was ultimately abandoned by 2017. It was at this time that Mountain Culture Beer Co was established as a craft beer brewing company. Owners Harriet and DJ discovered The Echo and saw it’s potential for their company’s brewpub. They imagined the place brining people together to enjoy their new beer. Breakspear Architects assisted Mountain Culture with transforming the dilapidated Echo. We aimed to re-discover the building’s lost charm when beginning its new life as a brewpub.

By Toby Breakspear, Tiffany Liew. For Mountain Culture Beer Co. 2017-2019 Completed. Photography by Mountain Culture and Broadsheet (Kitti Gould).


Springwood Library can become a serene lounge room for the Blue Mountains community; a room filled with books, fitted with approachable technology, framed by a robust structure and imbued with the presence of the surrounding bush. The existing library is a closed building, designed when libraries were hushed places for solitary reading. The renovation will create a more dynamic space that performs the modern library’s evolving role as a public place to meet, learn and interact.

By Toby Breakspear, Tiffany Liew, in collaboration with McGregor Coxall Landscape Architects, 2016.