Royal Australasian College of Physicians Project | karmatecture
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  • RACP Project exterior
  • RACP Project 3D render office
  • RACP Project 3D render

Macquarie Street, Sydney

Commercial, Heritage
cobden parkes, commercial fitout, heritage buildings, heritage commercial, heritage renovations, john fairfax home, John Verge, john verge architect, listed item, macquarie street, nsw government architect, sandstone home
About This Project

Originally designed by the society architect John Verge for John Fairfax in 1832.


The building was bequeathed to the college as their headquarters. It houses not only their administration, but also their art and rare medical book library.


We designed new interior fit-out spaces, specified external finishes, and designed a multi-function rooftop space that takes full advantage of the views over the Royal Botanic Gardens and Sydney Harbour beyond.


As the building has national heritage significance, we were required to be extremely respectful of the original building. This meant that a lot of conventional approaches had to be forsaken so that we could retain the original building fabric in its undamaged state.


We had one wall on the upper floor that had many changes over the years so we were able to make a significant change to the external fabric there.


On our encouragement, a conservator was brought in to advise on the correct storage of the library collection.


Preserving Heritage, Embracing Innovation: Restoring John Verge’s Architectural Legacy

In the heart of Sydney’s historic Macquarie Street stands a testament to architectural excellence—an iconic building designed by esteemed society architect, John Verge, for John Fairfax in 1832. Steeped in history and bearing the marks of time, this architectural masterpiece has now found new purpose as the headquarters of a The Australasian College of Physicians.

Beyond serving as an administrative hub, this building houses a treasure of an extensive art collection and an antiquarian medical library collection.

With due consideration for the past and an eye towards the future, we worked wit the College to reimagine the office spaces, celebration spaces and upgraded archival storage. The most public component is a multi-function space that opens onto the rooftop and  offers panoramic views of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Sydney Harbour.

As custodians of a national heritage site, we were tasked with the delicate balance of preserving the building’s integrity while introducing necessary updates for contemporary use. Conventional approaches were forsaken in favor of innovative solutions that retained the original fabric in its undamaged state.

In recognition of the importance of safeguarding the precious library collection housed within we enlisted the expertise of a conservator who advised on the correct storage and care protocols.