Sydney's most Instagrammable buildings

Design guru and comedian Tim Ross selects his favourite buildings in Sydney, the kind of photogenic landmarks that will make your Instagram feed sing.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Jan 2022 -
min read

The Sydney skyline boasts works by some of the world’s best-known architects, and here, design guru and comedian Tim Ross selects his favourite eye-catching buildings that are sure to get your Instagram feed sparkling.


Rose Seidler House, Wahroonga

“Completed in 1950, Rose Seidler House was the first Australian residence designed by Harry Seidler, one of the country’s finest architects. Known as ‘the most talked-about house in Sydney’ during the 1950s, the home is an elevated cubiform with glass walls affording views of neighbouring Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. It’s a true integration of art, architecture and technology.”

The house is a wonder both inside and out, with many original furnishings, and it functions these days as a living museum. It’s usually open to visitors, and is accessible via public transport on Sydney’s Upper North Shore.

Rose Seidler House at Sydney Living Museums in Wahroonga, Sydney North

Rose Seidler House, Sydney North - Credit: Nicholas Watt - Sydney Living Museums

25 Martin Place, CBD

This is another work by Harry Seidler, whose iconic buildings – including Blues Point Tower, Australia Square Tower and Horizon Apartments – punctuate the Sydney skyline.

25 Martin Place – formerly The MLC Centre – fronts onto Martin Place, and is unique in that it provides a large amount of public open space at ground level, a rarity in built-up CBDs. Seidler once wrote: ‘Useful and inviting open areas for the enjoyment of people have always been the essence of life in cities throughout the ages.’

“Stop in for a drink at the underground CTA Business Club. Its décor has been untouched since the 1970s.”

25 Martin Place

25 Martin Place - Credit: MLC Centre

Indigo Slam, Chippendale

“When art collector and philanthropist Judith Neilson commissioned William Smart of Smart Design Studio to design her home, the brief was for a ‘sculpture to be lived in’. Completed in 2016, Indigo Slam is an extraordinary work of functional art.

“It now has a new neighbour, too: Phoenix Central Park by Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects, a space in which architecture and interior design, as well as the visual and performing arts, enhance one another for an immersive total experience – a Gesamtkunstwerk (German for a total work of art). The building won the highest honour at the 2016 NSW Architecture Awards.”

Indigo Slam in Chippendale, Inner Sydney

Indigo Slam, Chippendale

UTS Dr Chau Chak Wing, Ultimo

“Just a short walk from Indigo Slam on Broadway is the University of Technology’s Dr Chau Chak Wing Building by Frank Gehry, the [Canadian-born American] architect who is best known for the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. Completed in 2015, the sandstone-coloured curved brickwork, all laid by hand, is a nod to Sydney’s architectural heritage. Gehry’s first Australian build is affectionately known as ‘the brown paper bag’.”

Students walking through The Goods Line - a pedestrian pathway and public space that connects Ultimo with Darling Harbour

Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, University of Technology Sydney

The Gazebo, Elizabeth Bay

“Up the road and beyond Bob Woodward’s El Alamein Fountain at Kings Cross – a huge dandelion of water above a series of four terraced pools – is The Gazebo, designed in the International style, and completed in 1969. Once a hotel famous for accommodating celebrities and rock bands, it’s now luxury apartments. Close by is the curved, mosaic-tiled façade at 5-9 Roslyn Street, designed by Durbach Block. Awarded the Harry Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture, the building houses a restaurant, nightclub and architects’ offices.”

The Gazebo, Elizabeth Bay

The Gazebo, Elizabeth Bay

AMP Building, CBD

The AMP Building by Peddle Thorp & Walker architects at Circular Quay is another one of Sydney’s “Living Museums”.

“Finished in 1962, this International-style, curved beauty was the first building in Sydney to break the city’s 46m height limit, imposed from 1912. Glass walls afford spectacular views across the harbour. Look for the Tom Bass sculpture depicting the Goddess of Plenty watching over a family on the western façade.” 

Aerial of buildings in CBD

Aerial of buildings in CBD - Credit: 25 Martin Place

Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point

What better place to finish this tour of architectural wonders than the building that is undoubtedly Sydney’s – and indeed Australia’s – most famous: the Sydney Opera House. Walk up those expansive stairs like some 10 million visitors do each year, and have your camera ready to capture the endless angles and backdrops available at this iconic site.

“The Sydney Opera House is truly one of the finest buildings in Australia,” says Ross. “It’s our calling card to the world, our symbol of modernity. Great architecture for everyone to enjoy.”

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