PC milestone reached at our latest heritage conversion in Sydney’s Sandstone precinct

Our restoration and refurbishment of the historic Department of Education Building in Sydney’s Sandstone Precinct, soon to be unveiled as the 5-star Capella Sydney hotel, has reached practical completion.

We’ve reimagined the heritage-listed building on behalf of Pontiac Land Group, sensitively transforming the former government landmark into a luxury hotel for the Singapore-based Capella Hotel Group.


We’ve been working closely with Heritage NSW, the City of Sydney and Property NSW for over seven years to restore and reveal the original character of the protected building, converting it for a new use. With interior design by BAR Studio, the hotel showcases 192 guestrooms and suites, with a state-of-the-art wellness spa and pool, and publicly accessible areas on the ground floor including three food and beverage outlets, bespoke function rooms and marble-clad vestibules.

Originally built in two halves over a century ago, the north and south sections of the building have been consolidated through design, creating a unified building centring on a reinstated internal courtyard. Seamless on the outside, with all of the original sandstone facades restored, the legacy of the two halves can still be appreciated through clever architecture and internal artworks. Four additional floors have also been added to the building, taking it to 11 storeys, with a complementary modern extension that has been set back to respect the original building.

Michelle Evans, Architect at Make, says: “We’re proud to be involved in this once-in-a-generation project for the city. Opening the building up to the public was key to the design vision. On the ground floor, we designed the arrival sequence to play with scale and invite the public into the previously inaccessible building, taking guests from the beautifully restored heritage entrance at Farrer Place through to the double-height reception. The light-filled central courtyard marks the heart of the hotel and features a suspended kinetic artwork, a 7m-tall green wall and an expansive glass ceiling framing views of the sky above. Reimagining the courtyard has transformed this space into a unique and relaxing place to dine and gather, while evoking the openness of the original atrium.”


The former gallery space on level 6 has become a key design feature for the new hotel as a wellness suite, making the most of the original architectural features. The space is top-lit with copper-lined heritage roof lanterns that draw in daylight to the private treatment rooms and spa. The stunning 20m heated swimming pool is the centerpiece of the space, a feat of engineering and architecture alike, preserving and repurposing the gallery space as a unique wellbeing destination.

Simon Lincoln, Asia Pacific Director at Make, says: “The Capella Sydney project has been about designing a forward-looking benchmark for hotels and hospitality in Australia and around the world. We’re excited by Pontiac Land’s vision to open up the building while respecting and celebrating its heritage in an honest and imaginative way. From the overall massing down to the heritage details, the story of the building has been embraced by Capella Hotels and Resorts as they open it up to the public for the first time.”

Marc von Arnim, Capella Sydney’s General Manager, said: “The Capella brand is synonymous with luxury, excellence in the craft of hospitality and cultural immersion. Capella Sydney takes this to the next level through unparalleled heritage work, architecture and interior design, state-of-the-art wellness facilities and transformative guest experiences that go above and beyond the expected, underscored by world-class accommodation and dining.”

Capella Sydney will open its doors in March 2023.

View on Google Maps