Tzannes is an Australian studio for architecture, urban and integrated design based in Sydney. The practice’s creative thinking and innovative, sustainable and enduring architecture has established our reputation as a leader in the field.
Our work is about specific responses to every client and every project, not about preconceived ideas, style or approach. We consider each brief an opportunity to apply architectural skill, creativity and innovation to solve our client’s design problems, but also to delight and to inspire.
Tzannes’ distinction is our ability to work across all scales and project types. The breadth of our skills and experience, the profile of our talent and technology enable us to service significant projects with the efficiency and confidence of a large practice. At the same time we are known for passion, curiosity, attention to detail and close personal relationships with our clients on commissions that are of great emotional value but modest in scale.
Our clients and consultants appreciate the firm’s collaborative nature, intellectual rigour and an ethical approach. At Tzannes, these same values are fostered by the way we work as a team in an open floor studio with a shared design culture, an open exchange of ideas and an ethical employment system.
Our design is research-based. We develop innovative and precise solutions that balance the (often competing) objectives of the approving authorities with those of our clients. Tzannes build on a detailed understanding of the client’s brief and ambition, as well as the environmental, economic, planning and urban design contexts. We use a range of design techniques and analytical tools to bring the project to life. All aspects of the design are integrated from the outset, providing the client with the best possible outcome and transparent control over time and cost.
Over the past three decades our work has been recognised by our clients and awarded by the profession on public and private projects as varied as homes and apartments, hospitality and education to major urban and commercial precincts, public spaces and street furniture.
An integrated approach to environmentally responsible architecture is essential part of the Tzannes design culture. We consider sustainability as the only way to produce enduring buildings and thriving communities that deliver positive social and environmental outcomes.
Environmental performance is understood holistically at Tzannes, for the full life cycle of the project, with each building directly responding to its specific natural, social and economic circumstances.
Every project Tzannes undertake has a collaborative design process as its foundation.. And it is the directors of the practice who lead and promote this approach. We are known for working as a team across all projects, thereby avoiding silo-type thinking and encouraging ideas and solutions to come from unexpected lines of inquiry. This methodology extends to the entire studio: the team meets regularly for joint project reviews; key stage assessment panels; professional development and guest speaker sessions; or to simply talk and share new thinking.
BSc (Arch) BArch (Sydney)
MS Arch + UD Columbia (Hon)
AIA (Hon) MRAIC (Hon) FNZIA FAIB LFRAIA
Alec is the founding director of Tzannes. He established the firm’s distinctive design philosophy and collaborative work practices with a record of design excellence across a wide range of projects. Alec has also served the community in a number of other roles including as National President of the Australian Institute of Architects (2006-7) and as Professor of Practice and Dean of UNSW Built Environment (2008-15). He retains an ongoing relationship with UNSW as an Emeritus Professor undertaking research and occasional teaching roles, contributing to the firm’s commitment to thought leadership in design and architecture practice.
“Our aim is to uplift the human spirit through our architecture. We are interested in the design and delivery of enduring architecture of substance – advancing the discipline of architecture as a city-making proposition in the process of fulfilling our client’s briefs. Our design philosophy means that we address each brief with distinctive and relevant propositions, creating artefacts in the process that have an appreciating value in every respect – culturally and materially.”
M.Des.Sc (Sustainable Des)
B.Arch (Hons 1) B.Sc (Arch)
Jonathan has been a director at Tzannes since 1999. Throughout that time, he has made a significant contribution to the strategic planning of the practice – seeing through a transformation towards a greater diversity of project types and architectural approaches. Jonathan is particularly adept in the delivery of technically and operationally challenging projects with complex approval demands.
Environmentally Sustainable Development is an integral part of Jonathan’s skill set and approach to design and life. He drives both the practice’s sustainability agenda and provides the technical knowledge to meet these ambitions.
“Architecture should be authentic. Connection to culture and ‘belonging’ to a specific place and time allows architecture to enrich the built environment and develop our social context. We strive for an authentic expression of the best that we can be, a place of enduring beauty that does not pollute nor exploit, with solid legible design intent carried cohesively throughout the process”
B.Arch (Hons 1) UNSW
Mladen has been a director of Tzannes since 2006. With an academic background in architecture and law from universities in Australia and overseas, Mladen has developed a particularly clear-minded, strategic approach to design, its communication and delivery.
He has contributed to the development of the idea of a coherent architecture within the practice, where the conception of the project is ingrained in each detail, producing architecture of singular quality. Mladen has also led the transformation of our approach to design communication and has been instrumental in leading the ongoing development of the practice’s graphic language and visual identity.
“We think of architecture as both science and art. It needs to be grounded in rigorous technical analysis, employing almost a forensic way of arriving at a solution, yet great design is so much more. It erases the boundaries between the technical, functional, intuitive and artistic. When these distinctions can no longer be made we find exceptional architecture, and that is our ambition.”
B.Arch (Hons 1) B.Sc (Arch)
Ben Green has been a director of Tzannes since 2013. Ben’s international experience was instrumental to the broadening of the practice’s studio culture, its visual and written communications and its design agenda. His project and practice leadership is based on deep understanding of the contemporary architectural discourse and his keen interest in the contextual and technical aspects of each project and its urban condition. Ben leads on the research, integration and development of the practices CAD systems and its technologies for visual communication.
“We believe great architecture is grounded in its use and that it is this usefulness which underpins architecture’s relevance and social value. We find great creative potential in the specific relationship between each project’s place, use and fabrication. Our design process is one of close, open minded scrutiny and each project is a singular expression of its essential issues. Each design strives for authenticity, as distinct from fad or fashion, is timeless in its representation and considerate of its impact.”
B.Arch (Hons 1)
Chi has been a director of Tzannes since 2016. Prior to joining the studio in 2003 she gained valuable experience working at various size Sydney practices and at Lend Lease. During her time at Tzannes Chi has been responsible for a diverse range of projects and has established a reputation for her architecture with deep design integrity, structured management approach and proficient technical delivery. She has led in the implementation of these skills in our studio’s approach and management of projects.
As a director, Chi is a strong advocate for employment equality. She leads in developing Tzannes’ proactive employment practices to enable each and every employee to realise their full potential.
“Architecture at its core is understanding how people occupy spaces, how these spaces contribute to the human experience and how this experience may evolve through time. Whether it be a piece of furniture or an urban precinct, design at every scale should enhance and encourage a dialogue. Our approach aims for an architecture that is beautifully crafted, technically functional and has relevance to what we do and how we live, both today and into the future.”
One Team. Many Individuals.
We are proud of our studio and the work it produces. We have a knowledgeable, passionate and hard-working team of architects and designers who have distinctive skills and experiences to bring to any project.
Alec Tzannes 4174
Jonathan Evans 6613
Mladen Prnjatovic 7468
Ben Green 7066
Chi Melhem 7754
Tzannes offers a dynamic and stimulating studio environment for talented students, graduates, architects and designers from related disciplines. Our projects are diverse, and include residential, commercial, hospitality, education, product and furniture design.
We actively encourage collaboration in our open-plan studio – an environment where it is not unusual to share, challenge and foster all sorts of ideas between all teams; from students to directors and everyone in between. Meeting tables, presentation areas, libraries and lunch spaces, office-wide design review panels, lectures and workshops further contribute to the development of a co-operative and knowledge-based work culture within the firm. Tzannes employs the latest CAD technology and design software.
We offer a great place to work, built on a strong, ethical and flexible employment culture and strengthened by good conditions, ongoing reviews, mentoring and support. While we pride ourselves on efficiency and productivity, we recognise our staff’s commitment by renumerating or providing time in lieu for overtime work hours. We are always looking for exceptional people to join our team – send a cover letter with your CV and portfolio (max 5 MB) to our firstname.lastname@example.org