We create high-functioning showcase commercial and residential projects, taking the forward-looking, innovative character of modern, minimal Japanese architecture as inspiration.

Our buildings both win awards and make clients money.

That used to be sufficient, but now we can go one better, feeding vastly better information to those making such investments in modern-age buildings straight from the minds of those who will commission and use their spaces.

Given the availability of universal access to internet-connected occupier intelligence, too little of it is finding its way into the briefing of spaces which could work better for those who live and work in them.

Yet, by fixing this problem, we can transform better knowledge of user needs into demonstrable product improvements to help our clients win and keep new customers.

We have an eye to making this work in the configuration and design of future high-density inner-city residential living, based on enhancing that which has gone before, and adapting Japanese innovations to local, Australian conditions.

We now have a template designed and under construction to demonstrate this in the KDV Sport accommodation block on the Queensland Gold Coast.

But, first things first, our architectural credentials.

Our design differentiator

Prior to founding Shiro, our design principal Hiromi Lauren enjoyed a highly successful 20-year career working for Harry Seidler and Associates, where she was an associate, and one of Harry’s favourites.

Then, her first building completed subsequently in her own right, the KDV Golf and Tennis Academy on Queensland’s Gold Coast, scored her and Shiro “a hole in one” when, in June 2017, it won the 2017 Queensland state award for commercial architecture.


KDV Golf and Tennis Academy, earlier image of front elevation looking slightly east at sunrise, taken on a builder's phone camera.

Above: KDV Golf and Tennis Academy, Carrara, Gold Coast, Queensland

In its January-February 2018 edition, Architecture Australia magazine gave it generous coverage, and there is a link to that feature article here.

After winning the Queensland award, Hiromi’s first media interview was also published here in the Australian Design Review.

But, when working for Harry Seidler, Hiromi had already proven her ability to create unexpected financial benefits for developers.


Our commercial differentiator: Delivering design-driven windfalls for commercial multi-residential developers

At Seider’s, Hiromi earnt Harry’s esteem not least by doing just precisely this, securing her developer client an unforeseen bonus of more than $5 million when she designed an unexpected extra unit into each of 11 of 16 floors of the North Apartments building in Sydney’s Goulburn Street.

Being extremely skilled and disciplined with tight spaces is baked into her practices as a product of her Japanese architectural background and the pressures of having repeatedly had to prove her space-economising abilities to Japan’s banker-investors when working there during its economic-growth “bubble” years.


North Apartments, Goulburn Street, Sydney


North Apartments, Goulburn Street, Sydney


Likewise, on a current apartment-development project in southern Sydney comprising a requirement for 60 units, her design has yielded an extra four, bringing its total to 64 units.


Shiro exists to create attention-grabbing spaces to feel good about

On the KDV Golf and Tennis Academy’s completion, we were given feedback independently by groups representing each of two prestigious visiting Queensland property developers that the design characteristics that bathe its interior so generously in natural light made the project “feel good.”

Its striking appearance aside, this was also a notably inexpensive building, built on time and to budget.

We are now working for our client, KDV Sport, on its follow-up project, its student accommodation block, designed to house top-flight international sporting students in an environment that simply must follow this same “feel good” rule.


Presenting and producing new and better ways of living and working

With its form and functionality, the KDV Sport accommodation facility’s design demonstrates a model environment for any development needing to incorporate amenities shared by groups with common requirements alongside private, individual living spaces.

And because our design of high-ticket sports living quarters has given us experience in hospitality, sport and leisure, we wish to extend this expertise in collaborations that advance the development of such shared facilities in new ways of living.

Such design extends most naturally to welcoming residential spaces that facilitate retirement, aged and village living, build to rent and coliving, but also coworking and modern, creative workspaces. In any of these, their users must feel at their most comfortable and productive best. We believe there may even be a place in the world for “boarding houses for rich people.”

Working with those who wish to capture better the knowledge of users by using state of the art briefing practices will enable us further to design and deliver yet more optimal new places in which to live and work.


Growing single-dwelling residential expertise

In residential, although we never set out specifically to design houses, at around the time as Hiromi won the Queensland architecture award, we were also invited to submit three of our house designs for inclusion in the television show Grand Designs Australia

This dramatic luxury home we currently have under construction on the Parramatta River waterfront, NSW, aside (which is being built for the family of a successful multi-residential developer), the other two were in Kellyville, NSW, and Gordon, NSW.

In the Parramatta River waterfront house video, we’ve taken a bit of licence with the background, but the illustration is otherwise faithful to what is being built.


Under construction: Parramatta River waterfront residence


Under construction: Kellyville house


A better briefing removes risk, improves returns and creates profitable new learning

Our briefing processes capitalise on universal internet social literacy as a state through which every property user can be encouraged to express a valid view of their property and accommodation needs via private social media.

This allows any design to be tested for user acceptance and appeal long before going on site.

Previously, it used to be hard, if not impossible, to capture and transform into usable qualitative information the knowledge and insights of those across any community.

In the wake of Facebook, however, everybody – from children to their grandparents – now knows how to use social media to write online, upload and share material and to make comments about those items uploaded by others.

Moreover, this capacity is now native, literally, to every to every socially internet literate property customer and user, and every employee in every business. 

It contains an unprecedented intellectual energy simply waiting to be activated in a business’s favour.

The activation device lies in mirroring, private, Facebook-like workplace technologies now available to every organisation. Once these are put to work, the capture of knowledge and insight that was once out of reach to management and designers is no longer beyond our grasp.

Bringing together the knowledge of those who will occupy a space with that of the team members who will produce it offers a more certain path to a better product.

From this, by working more closely with their users, organisations may learn better how to provide products that meet and anticipate the requirements of future occupants.

Those across any workplace may engage with these tools to contribute to, and to help shape the intelligence of, the organisation in which they work, based on what they know, believe and have experienced, or can be encouraged to learn independently and bring to it.

To fulfil this promise, however, such material still has to be organised. Yet, as those communications come written, this becomes an interrogative sense-making and editing task.

Through the collaborative editing process, the market-differentiating learning such summarised reports can stimulate will enable management to tap effectively into diverse perspectives and intelligence that was previously both unknown and unreachable.

Being a universal capability, internet social literacy defines every provider’s future property customer, and the emergence of social media literate buyers and users is already influencing everyone’s game.

Because our professional experience enables us to help you understand better than anyone what these customers need, we will provide the critical creative and intellectual capital to deliver innovative design solutions and a more favourable financial outcome.


Optimise returns on your property holdings for the long term

The best-fitting building you can invest in is the one that fits its tenants best over the long haul.

Whether for homes or workplaces, our unique capabilities can enable us to provide those best-fitting premises, and therefore, most likely, the best investment – one which can sustain positive user feeling, comfort and utility.

Property’s future will be built inside the minds of its customers, and by evolving over time with the needs of purchasers and users, our methods will help you understand how at each point in the development cycle to know better what they want, to provide the best return on your investment.

The array of knowledge-rich built environments will multiply because getting smarter is the only sustainable key to adding lasting value in commercial environments, and this is not necessarily a function of building more technology into a facility.

In short, we can marry superior building design with vastly improved user data and reports that over time can change the ways in which your business relates to and strengthens its bonds with its users.

And in this emerging world, through helping you understand better what your customers respond to, Shiro Architects’ award-winning design abilities and knowledge can help you find, attract and satisfy more of the customers your business really wants.


The how of turning better knowledge into better buildings

Shiro delivers its unique briefing services through its specialist sister organisational learning practice, The Learning Economy. 

Its focus is to turn the previously out of reach knowledge internet social literacy can reveal into reports managers and leaders can act on in making better operational and commercial decisions in the conduct of their businesses.

The Learning Economy is run by Shiro director Graham Lauren, and can be found here.