We design award-winning, advanced commercial spaces to “feel good” about

We create high-functioning commercial and residential projects, taking the simple, innovative character of modern Japanese architecture as inspiration, and building with great attention to detail, budget and time.

In this spirit, native Japanese design principal Hiromi Lauren’s first substantial completed independent project, the KDV Golf and Tennis Academy on Queensland’s Gold Coast, scored Shiro Architects “a hole in one” when, in June 2017, it won the 2017 Queensland state award for commercial architecture.

The Academy was first published here in the international online journal of architecture ArchDaily, and there is a link here to Hiromi’s first media interview, published since in the Australian Design Review.

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

On the Academy’s completion, we were given feedback independently by groups representing each of two prestigious visiting Queensland property developers that the project “felt good.”

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.


We can deliver windfalls for developers

We can sometimes deliver striking financial gains to clients, and in this we can prove our claims.

Shiro founder Hiromi Lauren formerly worked for 20 years at Harry Seidler and Associates, where she was an associate, and one of Harry’s favourites.

She earnt Harry’s esteem, making him feel extremely good, by securing her developer client an unexpected windfall of more than $5 million when she designed an unexpected extra unit into each of 11 floors of the North Apartments building in Sydney’s Goulburn Street.

Baked into Hiromi’s practices as a product of her Japanese architectural background is an extreme skill, discipline and ability to think afresh the opportunity of tight spaces.


Our “knowledge architecture” presents a commercial property solution in response to the challenge of pervasive digitisation confronting every business

Although many companies struggle with digitisation, in property, it presents owners, investors, developers and operators with an entirely new opportunity.

It can strengthen their understanding of, and relationships with, known groups of customers to enable them to deliver wholly new and novel bundles of products and services.

Hard engineering data aside, the greatest opportunity exists most forcefully in the digital-social world of the knowledge economy, in its soft spaces, of knowledge and learning.

As such, the greatest scope for improvement for all commercial property owners presents itself to those which provide space to a natural “knowledge community.”

This is a group with shared interests in the future health of the circumstances under which which it is accommodated.

Combined with insights about the specific applications to which a space is put, in, say, the commercial office accommodation leased by a business, by individual coworkers, or in providing a service such as retirement housing, what the group knows comes to define its knowledge community.


Your space users already hold what you most need to know

Naturally, any group of users that occupies a space for a particular purpose builds a body of knowledge and views about it.

Now, private online social networks provide the means to design and provide more accurately for them by tapping into their collective knowledge.

(We write more about the significant impacts for collective learning in our parallel organisational learning initiative Cloud Citizen, here.)

And, increasingly, it may be found that such communities have less interest in the property itself than they have in receiving appropriate bundles of property with differentiating services.

Without making an effort to understand such insights and sentiments, the knowledge held by user groups may, at substantial potential cost, simply never reveal itself to the property’s owners.

But the social tools enable us to jump this hurdle.

Moreover, if we probe well and sensitively, we can be sure that premises and services can be configured to become to be much more tightly wedded to what is needed, if not yet known, about actual usage and emerging customer use and requirement.

Uncovering and tracking user insight and demand to deliver more appropriate products and services to an identified audience changes the game for providers.

It makes the work of development and reconfiguration something no longer based on random luck or simple designer taste and instinct, but one which can be thoroughly iterated, tested, documented and managed.

And once it can be tapped and understood as a clear set of instructions, the knowledge it yields can transform forever the operations of the provider.


Our knowledge architecture proposition is built on education, research and experience

The internet has a compounding habit of creating new ways of unbundling what exists and rebundling it as something new.

As a consequence, as in other industries, in property, we are now in a world of relentless innovation, adaptation and transformation.

In this world, effective digital transformation dictates that every operator acquires new capabilities and learning, as in any community, effectively acquired and disseminated knowledge is the route to all breakthrough.

In this, our job is to focus on the soft stuff and the knowledge gulf between owners and occupiers to get better user information to develop superior built products and services.

Tapping and making sense of this knowledge is something we understand, as digitally driven organisational learning and change lies at the heart of Shiro director Graham Lauren’s academic studies for his MBA (Technology) from UNSW.

The necessary method and practices of iteration, solution-seeking and sense-making required by collaboratively generated knowledge creation are part of his study.

But the preparation, sense-making, organisation and presentation of knowledge they require are also central to his professional editorial experience as a former employee of the Australian Financial Review newspaper group at Fairfax Media in Sydney.

Hence, organising knowledge using online tools to drive change is something to which he has given a great deal of thought for over 10 years. It is also something in which he can demonstrate experience, earnt by using workplace social technology to document collaborative software development operations at a Big Four Australian bank.


Profitable transformation begins within

Our knowledge architecture proposition can deliver unique and unprecedented insights into customer needs that align your interests with theirs.

Using our knowledge methodologies, the spaces we design will not just look good, but meet users’ aspirations and hitherto unspoken requirements, evolving your knowledge of them consistently and dependably.

Through the stronger, more durable and enduring relationships you develop with your customers, you will adjust with them to construct a deeper, more engaging business model.

More importantly, the knowledge you develop will change forever the way your business looks at the world to increase its ability to learn, think, adapt and innovate ahead of rivals.


We value working with clients with passion

We exist to partner clients passionate about discovering and bringing to reality the designs they wish to see in the world. In our concept development, we are zealous and refuse to be constrained by precedent and what may be thought possible, and what isn’t.


Young in years, rich in design pedigree

Founded in 2014, Shiro Architects is still a young Sydney architecture and design practice. However, although we never set out specifically to design houses, around the time of our Queensland state award, we were also invited to submit three of our as-yet unbuilt residences for possible inclusion in Australia’s most popular TV show on residential architecture, Grand Designs Australia.

Before that, when Shiro was just 18 months old, we were awarded acclaim for “design excellence” when invited to contest a limited-entrant, three-party, invitation-only competition on a landmark residential site in Parramatta, NSW, hosted by Parramatta City Council.

Such accolades make us cautious but optimistic that somehow in some way we may be doing something right.


Recognition, pre-Shiro

In her Seidler years, Hiromi worked closely with both Harry Seidler and Meriton owner Harry Triguboff on the design of the George Street, Sydney, Meriton Tower. On its Meriton Apartments web site, the company clearly felt good enough to give her contribution the plaudit you can find in the sidebar to this page.


New directions

Besides making better use of their space, we aim always to deliver our clients beautiful, practical and, where appropriate, commercially focused buildings.

Our work is now diversifying from its initial base, with our design of the current KDV student accommodation building, taking us into designing spaces for both hospitality and education.

As our business and our workload grows, nothing changes.

Whatever their use, we exist to design increasingly productive commercial, residential, hospitality and workspaces to feel good about.