The architect behind Australia’s next most expensive home

Notable architect Alexander Tzannes is in line to see a home he designed attract major attention, with it slated to become the most expensive home in Australia at an expected sale of over $200 million.

Alexander “Alec” Tzannes was commissioned 25 years ago to construct a home for Australian businessman and founder of Aussie Home Loans, John Symond, a property that has now been listed on the market for the first time since its construction.

“Mr Symond has informed me that he expects a sale well above $200 million,” Tzannes told Neos Kosmos as he reflected on the home he helped create.

Photo: John Gollings

The four-level house, known as Wingadel, sits on a massive waterfront block in the upmarket Sydney suburb of Point Piper, and took roughly eight years to complete.

The architect explained that his services were enlisted back in 1999 after his proposed designs were deemed the best of all the submissions.

“The commission was secured through well-run, independently conducted, design competitions – two in total with varying briefs. I was selected as the winner of these design competitions on both occasions.”

He noted that Symond did not cut any corners throughout the whole process, saying that “his objective was to achieve the highest standards of design at a level of detail appropriate for a fine home of substance as he envisaged in his imagination”.

Photo: John Gollings

The founding director of Tzannes Associates (an architecture and design practice) stated he was involved in the project from start to finish, leading a substantial multidisciplinary design team to help bring the vision to fruition.

“The brief was complex and highly technical in virtually every aspect of design and construction,” the architect with roots from Kythera said.

He reflected on some of the major challenges during the whole process, the chief one being getting planning approval, though it did resolve itself.

“The Woollahra Municipal Council saw merit in the non-conforming aspects of the proposal which meant that they were the approving authority and not the Land and Environment Court. (It was in a period prior to the creation of Planning Panels),” Tzannes said.

Photo: John Gollings

The final product saw the luxury home include a 98-metre harbour frontage and gun barrel views of the Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and city skyline, undercover parking for 20 cars, two commercial kitchens, a custom designed wine cellar than can hold up to 2,500 bottles, and a movie theatre that seats up to 22.

“I never expected that John (Symond) would have the courage and commitment required to deliver the design vision,” Tzannes said.

“He also appointed excellent builders guided by me – Infinity Constructions, led by Alan Yazbek which made the process of implementing the design far easier to manage.”

The sale of the property is expected to soar past the previous record of $130 million that was paid for another Point Piper property Uig Lodge by Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar, though Tzannes is not too focused on that.

“Records come and go – perhaps homes of this quality are a sign of the widening range of socio-economic circumstances in Australia today,” he said.

Photo: John Gollings

The architect admitted that the project holds a lot of significance in his career.

“It was a professional milestone – it is far more than a typical house given the standard of facilities within. It is as complex and interesting as design can be for an architect, in many respects,” Tzannes said.

“It is a very important part of my design portfolio and always will be.”

The Greek Australian, whose parents both migrated from Kythera to Australia (his father in 1920 and his mother in 1939), explained that he has studied Greek architecture throughout his life.

Alec Tzannes. Photo: Toby Burrows

“Greek architecture from many eras has an important if not vital role to play in my development as an architect and urban designer,” Tzannes said.

“To this day, I draw inspiration from ancient places and monuments as well as the work of Constantinos A. Doxiades and other contemporary Greek architects doing fine houses or major projects such as Agemar in Athens (designed by Rena Sakellaridou).”

Tzannes certainly has left his own legacy in his field as he now waits to see what the property he designed sells for, which has apparently already attracted global interest despite only just being listed.