Salbashian Architects: Redefining Sydney’s Urban Spaces

Salbashian Architects Redefining Sydney's Urban Spaces
Photo Courtesy: Raffaella Dice

By: Mae Cornes

Sydney’s architectural landscape is being redefined by Salbashian Architects, a firm driven by more than aesthetics. It focuses on spaces that enhance community connections, where anyone feels welcomed. Linette Salbashian leads this, whose design philosophy transforms urban living spaces into nurturing environments.

The Visionary Behind the Design

Salbashian founded her architectural firm two years ago, after more than a decade of industry experience focusing on residential projects and creating spaces with a sense of community. Her firm belief that architecture should drive social change and improve well-being is seen and felt in each of her firm’s projects.

“Architecture is more than just building structures; it’s about creating spaces that bring people together and enhance community interaction,” says Salbashian.

Linette’s vision is rooted in her childhood; she grew up in a close-knit community in the Middle East, where families living together and supporting each other is the norm. Losing her mother at a young age, Linette knew the essence of deep family ties as the women in her family came together to stand as mother figures. Many years later, she aims to do the same for her community.

Linette is a social impact lead in a North Shore community, where she works with local charities to find shelter for the homeless and domestic violence victims. She also invests in the next generation by lecturing in design thinking at Sydney University.

Transformative Apartment Projects and Their Challenges

Over the past couple of years, as the 2021 building regulations for apartments have tightened, Salbashian Architects has received building approvals from councils and certifiers for the design of several apartment projects, which resulted in building high quality spaces.

‘As important as the new regulations are, we aim to create spaces beyond functionality, turning them into places where memories are formed and communities flourish,” says Linette, ‘places that encourage serendipitous interactions, where friends and family who visit want to linger longer.’ 

While many appreciate Salbashian Architects’ high performing buildings approach, which ensures adequate ventilation, drainage and structure in the designs, it also encounters pushback, particularly from younger families with smaller budgets who own apartments and strata who worry about opening a can of worms when touching old building systems. Critics argue that placing more emphasis on higher performing buildings can lead to more efficient building use long term. In response, Salbashian emphasizes the enhanced value high performing buildings bring to properties, making them more attractive and sustainable over time.

“Some might argue that focusing on high performing buildings sacrifices efficiency, but we’ve observed that these areas greatly enhance a property’s long-term value and attractiveness,” Linette states. Despite doubts about its efficiency, her methods have attracted progressive urban developers and residents who focus on quality buildings designed for community and connection.

Linette pushes through, working with policymakers to help with the housing affordability crisis through government incentives and still achieve high performing buildings. 

Reflecting on Future Impacts

As cities grow, the importance of architecture in enhancing community well-being becomes critical. The work of Salbashian Architects shows how thoughtful design can lead to healthier, better-connected urban communities—a refuge needed in this fast-paced, post pandemic world. 

“Looking forward, community-focused urban development is essential. We are dedicated to exploring new architectural possibilities to improve personal and communal well-being,” Salbashian reflects.

Salbashian Architects redefines its role beyond just constructing spaces. The firm is establishing new norms in urban development, balancing architectural advancement with a profound focus on human connections. Linette Salbashian and her team’s influential work is a model for a more inclusive future for city residents.

Published by: Martin De Juan


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