NGJA has been invited to design two buildings in the exciting Block 1, Section 60, Kingsborough precinct. 

'Warehouse' is a building inspired by the raw industrial spaces that artists and the bohemian set have long ago converted to housing in the ex industrial areas of major cities. We have created spaces ripe for creation, with large factory windows, high ceilings and plumbing and service points at the ready. Buy one module or two, one stacked above another and then create your dream apartment-  We have also created a tranquil internal courtyard flanked by a metal gantry and common-style inspired escape stairs.

'Shophouse' is a building inspired by Paris and the Haussmann style apartment buildings of this great city. The first two floors are shop house apartments with ground level home offices fronting onto a landscaped urban piazza ( Central) . Live and work in the same space. The building is designed in a glamorous gold colour with a deconstructed bubble moment related to the piazza to create over scale balconies for the mid level apartments. This elegant building is topped with two storey mansard apartments tucked into the sloping roof to give that great feeling of knowing that you are in the top of a building looking out at the beautiful world. 

 For details refer to

Park Hill Terraces by Nathan Judd

Our exploration of the terrace typology in Bruce is about to hit the market, located on Thynne Street in Bruce. With Nik, the developer, we have really elevated the approach typically taken to this type of housing.

We have developed an approach that delivers compact terrace housing that takes a nod from the high ceilings, expressed structural walls, timber lined ceilings and  integrated fitout typical of the classic 70's NCDC Canberra model.

We have employed a split floor level teamed with a  mid floor plate courtyard that brings a high ceiling to the living area, sunlight and air and an exciting life to the project. 

Independent group are starting to market these in the next weeks


Secondary Dreams Made BIG!!! by Nathan Judd

An exploration of the Secondary Dwelling typology, Sawtooth House embodies all that is possible as a standalone addition to an existing house in O'Connor.

Sneaking in at 90m2, with two bedrooms, generous living/dining space and internal bathing courtyard, it also includes a covered outdoor dining space as well as intimate connections to garden views.

Sawtooth House is currently under construction by our clients Dickie & Julia.

Check out and follow their amazing blow by blow account of the ups and downs of construction here


(they normally post updates each Thursday/Friday).

We can't wait to see the finished result!


YAMAROSHI by Nathan Judd

Our new mixed use commercial project 'Yamaroshi' has launched,

We have worked to create a rich urban project with laneway and courtyard spaces. This will create opportunities for new retail experiences, and foster a new residential community where people will actually have the opportunity to get to know each other.

This development will create a finer grain of retail spaces at both ground and first floor,  offering a home for local and independent Canberra businesses to grow and thrive.

The apartments are designed for those who want a true inner city urban experience with a focus on integrated interiors, cross flow ventilation and neighbourly interaction. The secret garden courtyard will be the first of its type in Canberra.

Documentation by Nathan Judd

We have been wrapping up the tender documentation for one of our big projects over the last few days. 

We are developing ways of communicating that are clear and fast to understand for those involved. 

Al from the office has been providing simple scheduling and combining this with exploded axonometric views to readily describe our projects. By providing the contractors with this simple visual language, it allows others to more readily engage with our projects. We are also building in check material quantity figures to make everyone's job easier.

At the moment, information is still generally communicated on drawings and in 2d format in the building industry. This seems so antiquated when we live in the digital age.

Over the coming years the interface between design software systems and manufacturing is really going to transform the way we build. There will be plenty of opportunity for design ideas that would be considered impossible today.

Obviously we also liked playing with lego as kids...



First images released of our latest fitout project -  DISTRICT GYM - have arrived.

It will be located in the new Ori building in Braddon ( which we had a little something to do with ).  We have really enjoyed working with Ruben to create an environment for a new fitness  community on Lonsdale Street.

Ruben has launched this week with a special foundation membership drive - if interested go to his link -


ORI by Nathan Judd

We have just wrapped up Ori and entered her in this years Institute of Architecture awards.

Ori is a six storey contemporary mixed use commercial building in the rapidly evolving Braddon context. The building integrates apartments and two levels of bespoke commercial spaces housing a dynamic community of traders including clothing, ice cream, homewares, barbers, architects, photographers, cafes and soon to be whole foods, restaurants, gym and yoga studio.

Ori responds to the post light industrial context of Braddon and offers both a re-exploration and reintroduction of the latent high street and arcade languages as well as presenting a developed sculptural and contemporary identity to the street.

Importantly for Canberra the project explores the latency of the first floor and its relationship to the urban street. The introduction of the balcony at first floor creates a new urban domain that informs the vibrancy of the street, offers the benefit of passive and active surveillance, and provides a stage set for a secondary elevated address for commercial activities.This project brings to Canberra a new model of mixed use vitality.

NiBu by Nathan Judd

Luton has started marketing our NiBu project, via expressions of interest today in the print version of In the City -  This project, is part of the redevelopment of North Lonsdale St, including Palko, that we have undertaken in association with Hinton.

NiBu is a carefully designed mixed use building incorporating bars, cafes and bespoke apartments.

Seal Rocks Shack featured in Houses magazine by Nathan Judd

If you are looking for a read over the long weekend please check out the new Houses issue, it features our Seal Rocks Shack project. The family, myself included, did a spot of amateur modelling for the shoot. The house is really sweet to stay in and it was one of those dream projects with a great client and great builder! I kept a surfboard onsite for the duration, so those site visits could be combined with a few sessions out Treachery and Lighthouse. Thanks to Brett Boardman, as always, for his considered photography.

micro living mega lifestyle by Nathan Judd

The next wave of affordable accommodation in Canberra and elsewhere in Australia needs to be - micro-units -  which are designed for a new demographic that no longer aspires to, or needs, large living areas or the ‘things’ that clutter space and restrict mobility.  Free of excessive rents or purchase price and with access to the amenity and community that city living offers, micro-units respond brilliantly to contemporary urban and fiscal environments and promote personal and community well-being.

There is a global trend in niche housing for people who aspire to equal access to the benefits of an active city lifestyle without the hefty price tag.  Micro-living has roots In Asia, where expectations of personal living space run secondary to city amenity.  In Europe, apartment micro-living has historically been the norm reflecting the value placed on urban density, the public realm and community over the private dwelling.  America too is embracing the trend as affordable housing in dense urban areas becomes a priority for governments.

We have developed several micro-unit proposals over the last year to test the opportunities that this type of housing could bring to Canberra. What we have found is they are a eminently flexible housing form, can be adaptable and accessible, offer opportunities for modular construction and could integrate well into otherwise conventional developments.

The attached imagery was developed for a recent entry in the NEAT - New Experimental Housing Typology competition. This scheme explored the opportunity for a narrow site to  offers studio and loft apartments positioned in a set of independent buildings linked by bridged walkways and a rooftop garden.  Small can be smart.  Good design rather than size delivered a rich spatial experience. The micro-units provide an enjoyable living experience with a feeling of light and space.  Owners want to spend time in their micro home and invite friends over.  The interiors are flexible, funky and clever delivering functionality without sacrificing form.

Prestigious modular expression maximised the orientation and street frontage.  Timber lined walls and soffits and battening were employed to give warmth to interiors and add interest to the façade.  Access to units is via secure rear circulation with upper levels accessible by lift and adaptable units available. Front entries from the street and dispersed resident and visitor carparking create a pleasant and inviting streetscape. 

Professional costing advice points to Micro-units offering the Canberra community a new type of housing at a price point of around $220,000 a Micro-unit. Although this likely cost is a fantastic breakthrough, it is really that Micro-units are proving that affordable lifestyle in otherwise unaffordable city areas is achievable and can encourage well-being and social interaction. For a diverse slice of the Canberra community, particularly childless singles and couples of any age, micro-units will offer the opportunity to buy or rent an affordable urban home with the city and all its amenity at their doorstep. When this comes to pass it will infuse out city with a new vitality!

A Stop at Station Place by Nathan Judd

Light rail will transform Canberra over the next decades.

Our recent entry  for an ideas competition took the opportunity to explore how light rail can transform the way we create new urban precincts in this city - we chose to explore the opportunities of a total redevelopment of the entire block between Dickson and Northbourne avenue.

We employed the Light rail as an instrument to bisect the site to create a 'smart industry' commercial edge to Dickson and an apartment village beside Northbourne avenue.  By defining a new urban corridor through the site  - aptly named Station Street - we would be able to generate exciting activity and a new gateway development for Canberra.

Our scheme explores how the new light rail stops can be employed to create new urban squares - ‘Station Place’ - linking passengers and residents to Cape St at the eastern edge and to a new bus interchange located within the Northbourne median.  A ribbon canopy leads passengers to their destinations, providing incidental shelter by day and a place of wonder at night.

a pedestrian precinct

This new urban fabric could develop into a fine grain residential community independent of the car, with only service vehicles accessing the site.  The precinct would offer an intuitive transport experience with easy connections for foot, bike, bus and rail.

A series of pocket parks of varied character and scale would provide relief and interest throughout the year - playing on Canberra’s seasonal changes.  The ground plane can be informed by a garden city idea integrating private and shared landscaped areas that relate to the new Station Street pedestrian and rail spine.

Light rail could be transformative for Canberra, but only if we have the courage to boldly reimagine our urban fabric to tune into this new paradigm. 

Sawtooth House by Nathan Judd

In 2013 the ACT government brought in an initiative to allow a secondary dwelling of up to 75 sqm on a single residential house block, this on the basis that it met the Adaptable housing code, class C provisions.

This is going to have some really interesting outcomes in terms of affordability, housing flexibility and the creation of smaller dwellings in all Canberra suburbs. These new dwellings, which cannot be sold separately, will overtime create a stock of long term rental housing.

Taking full advantage of these new opportunities our practice is currently creating a beautiful concise two bedroom house with engaged outdoor living spaces, that respond to these new constraints in an informed and delightful manner.

The new house is in O'Connor, Canberra. It is a suburb that has always reminded me of the Midwest of the United States, trees in their Autumn flush touching across the wide streets, deep verges and rambling houses. That the suburb feels this way is down to Walter Burley Griffin's Chicago background and the influence of the 'Prairie School' upon him.

This new two bedroom house succeeds because the space is used in a clever way by necessity- the 75 sqm maximum size dictates that excess is banished and priorities are carefully weighed. Design always thrives on constraints- the clever solution, the overlapping of space, the integration of storage and volume

Some key ideas include, an external bath and shower in an enclosed courtyard open to the sky, a saw tooth warehouse style roof that brings north light deep into the spaces to create a sense of volume and height and an outdoor room that includes an outdoor kitchen.

Currently in the design phase, we can't wait to see the project built!

Silver Surfer by Nathan Judd

Mona Vale, a summer Sunday, 1977, the EH station wagon was packed, the expectant mum in the passenger seat, the mint 7’0’’ gun was tied to the roof racks with nylon cord, the hint of frangipani on the evening breeze.

7 hours later pulling into the moonscape of bitumen car park of irremediably solid orange brick flats, the morning awaited- crisp white shirt, plaid pants, 9 – 4:59 public service decades commenced.

A vision of how this degraded gun found its way into my hands via the Canberra institution that was Revolve. The board bears the scars of south coast rock shelves, and following ignominious retirement to the garage, paint from a childhood pantomime and disregarded in a spring clean.


Despite its spongy rails, dinged and stressed deck  and dirty silver enamel etc, the flyers and fineness of the rails caught my eye. Home it awaited my wife’s nail polish remover (acetone) , revealing a highlighter yellow deck and providence mid nose- a slowly revealed, designed and shaped by Terry Fitzgerald, Hot Buttered!


Terry’s boards represented the cutting edge of big and small wave high performance surfing, art meets design, evolution revolution. Fitzgerald, via Morning of Earth fame, is captured surfing fast and styling like a bullfighter off the bottom at Pipe, Sunset- his board designs and inventiveness had international  influence.


A truism that any board that survived the era wasn’t any good, pointed to this being a reasonable example as it had survived but only just. A refurbishment now planned - retain the patina of history, remove the silver enamel, replace the carbog, new rovings for the wobbly fin drilled to take the first of the legrope cords.   A new gloss coat to seal it all up. Soon she’ll feel the water, the line in on the curl and the speed of an open face. Watch this space.

It's Simple by Nathan Judd

"All they wanted from us designers was a model of what something was supposed to look like on the outside and then engineers would make it as cheap as possible. I was about to quit.” writes Jonathon Ive, head of Apples design department, about the climate before Steve Jobs returned as Apple CEO in 1997. 

“Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers.” Jonathon Ive

What struck me about the article is just how contemporary architecture and city making is suffering without a Steve Jobs. Just as our societies crave sophisticated spaces, vibrancy, differentiation, beauty…. Architects struggle against the blunt limitations imposed through the planning apparatus, building procurement models and property industry conservatism.

The conundrum is that when the built environment benefits from the simplicity, integrity and sophisticated work of ‘the designer’, the results are treasured, Utzon’s Opera house, Gehry’s Guggenheim, Niemeyer’s, Brasilia, Lab Architecture’s Federation Square and Roger’s/Piano/Franchini’s Pompidou Centre are just a few examples. The default conservative settings are really letting us all down.



 Perhaps the world has yet more to learn from Steve Job’s ‘other way’.