- About SAW -
The content of our walking tours is historically informed, our context contemporary. If a work of architecture or art addresses the world in a sustainable way, we draw attention to it. If it provokes, we take note. Like detectives gathering evidence in an unfamiliar landscape we tell the stories and explain the concepts behind the concrete shells, glass skirts and sandstone facades that define Sydney.
Tours we've done in other cities left us cold. You know the kind I mean; cheap suit, little badge, politically correct, pitched to the lowest common denominator, full of the same old facts and figures and driven by the same old tourist sites. But no insight. And they assume you're stupid. The architecture tours are even worse. Dry conversations full of dates, facts and figures like some join the dots. We prefer tours that offer a particular point of view, that look at the city through a particular lens.
We are friends and we are architects and designers and we love cities. Especially this city. We spend much of our spare time roaming the streets, looking for signs of life – those small pockets of resistance where a city's inner machinations can be seen volcano-like bubbling through its crust.
SAW guides are city experts. Our lens is architecture, public art and design. Our urban conversations revolve around the ideas and concepts, the political events, personalities, cultural and social attitudes that pull and push at Sydney like its tides. Through its architecture Sydney's story unfolds.
GA
SAW is a member of the Guiding Architects Network. We are a group of architects and architectural critics that organise tours across 34 cities around the world.
- SAW Guides -
EOGHAN.
Eoghan Lewis is the principal architect of Eoghan Lewis Architects and founder of Sydney Architecture Walks. He also plays a lot of tennis, rides his bike to work and writes.
For him, SAW is an extension of teaching and a chance to ramble on about the things he loves. He reckons cities are society's greatest cultural expression, and a city's architecture is there to be clambered over and talked (walked) about. He tries hard to cultivate a bohemian look [if anyone knows what that is please email us] & is often caught staring out of windows and muttering to himself I wonder what Utzon would do – most embarassing for anyone present.
HUGO.
Hugo Moline loves Sydney for its arrogant wild beauty and the complicated, saggy and broken things below the surface and around the edge. Through his practice Milkcrate Urbanism, Hugo designs and builds little pieces of city: housing cooperatives, adaptable street furniture, hand-made maps, personalised vehicles, suburban games, conversational infrastructure, and so on. Hugo is co-author of the beautiful yellow ductwork periscopes in Skittle Lane.
Hugo enjoys noticing trees growing in brickwork cracks, reading what people write on train seats and watching the rivers of bats at dusk.
SIMEON.
Apart from being an avid architect, designer & urban designer, Simeon King is a cityist. He loves cities and their spaces, especially Sydney's. Simeon worked on the Sydney 2030 plan over recent years and at City Projects leading up to the Olympic Games and knows pretty much everything worth knowing about the city – especially the juicy stuff. He has travelled to cities far and wide – wearing out a couple of pairs of shoes in the process, walking the walk.
Simeon is director of Lifesize and Anagram. in 2009 Eoghan and Simeon were named as two of Sydney's 100 Creative Catalysts by the City of Sydney. "honouring and exposing 100 inspirational and innovative Sydneysiders who have made a unique contribution to the city’s creative culture".
- Newspaper & Magazine Reviews -
InDesign Live Walking the Talk with Eoghan Lewis
Alice Blackwood | 12 April 2012
a series of "quiet conversations about the city". The language of these narratives is simple and inclusive, but the ideas are rich and resonant.

Sydney Morning Herald Spokes and Specs
JAmes Robertson | March 31, 2012

a tangential and fascinating tour that explores how ideas, money and history have shaped the city's bricks and mortar.

Habitus Living SAW Bike Tours
NICKY LOBO | July 2011

fantastic bike tours
taking in some of the city’s most intriguing, often hidden,
architectural experiences
.

The Australian Skyscrapers and Secret Gardens
Catherine Marshall | June 25-26 2011

It's all about the Sydney Opera House, flaunting itself on the harbour-front like an A-lister. Behind it is a crowd of extras, but there's a conversation happening between Utzon's masterpiece and the city's more vertiginous structures, and it's beautifully decoded
Timeout Take a two-wheeled architectural safari and the city will never look the same again
Darryn King | August 2011
The conversations around these sites are fascinating, mercifully theory-free and specially catered to the group. It’s the sort of thing that just might change the way you see and appreciate Sydney.
Sydney Morning Herald Walk on the Tiled Side
Kylie Davis | June 6-7, 2009
Lewis fits the stereotype of a passionate student of architecture: thin, wild haired, long elegant hands that emphasise points and an artistic turn of phrase that shows deep thought, strong research and reverence, balanced with humour.
The Sydney Architecture Walks are the urban equivalent of stopping to smell the roses or, rather, stopping to notice the fine detail on the parquetry and run our hands over the terracotta. Artworks, previously invisible aginst the hubbub of the city suddenly come into focus. It has changed how I feel about my adopted hometown - revealed a depth I never thought it had and shown me the link between architecture and cultural expression.


Cartoville Sydney
Florence Lagrange-Leader | January 2009
De géniales "conversations architecturales": un must!

Sydney Morning Herald Sydney's Best Walking Tours | Lisa Dabscheck | October 27, 2007
If the style is a touch undergrad, the substance is more PhD. Lewis effortlessly compresses two centuries of history, geography, sociology, architecture and art into two hours - while giving the impression he’s simply sharing a few off-the-cuff anecdotes. The result is like taking a stroll in the CBD with a clever friend.
Lewis leverages enough intellectual weight and industry asides to satisfy the pointy heads - while giving the design illiterate concepts we can understand.

 
The Sun Herald What Cultural Cringe? Sydney has an Architectural Wonder to Rival the Best
Simon Webster | July 9, 2006
History, politics, philosophy - his quiet, compelling commentary covers lots of ground featuring heores (Joern Utzon, creator of the Opera House), and villains (former premier Robert Askin, who wanted to demolish The Rocks and extend the Cahill Expressway to Centennial Park, half of which would have turned into carpark)

The Sydney Morning Herald A Sorbet for the Jaded Urban Palate
Elizabeth Farrelly | September 24, 2002
A refreshing exercise for the jaded urban palate is to flip into foreigner mode and walk our city streets as if they were exotic. Sydney Architecture Walks (SAW), the brainchild of architects Eoghan Lewis and Simeon King, is just such a sorbet, offering a handful of downtown routes. Lewis and King make intelligent, articulate and energetic guides, offering insights into architecture's non-visible world of unbuilt designs, political tensions and historical twists. Here's a chance to remember how vivid and exciting Sydney can seem. Recommended, three hats [out of three!].

The Australian Every Storey a Picture
Kate Hamilton | November 2, 2001
Lewis' passion for the art and life of the city structures breathes through his language. He describes the buildings in terms of their energies - the structures are "quiet", "honest", and they are "clad in a zinc skin" or "glass skirt". Their designers are poets, mathematicians, magicians. This piece of urban theatre... a 2 1/2 hour walking narrative taking in the city's design icons... is perhaps the most innovative of Australia's architecture tours.

- Punters -
Fernando Romero | Founder of the Laboratory Of Architecture
Thank you for all your kindness and for the most magnificent tour I had ever had at the Opera House.

 
Elodie & Miguel Angel | Miel Arquitectos and BAW | Barcelona
Thank you very much for your amazing talk-walk (SAW1 - SYDNEY), Elodie and I are still assimilating the huge information you gave us this morning. Your explanation about the five main ideas of Utzon's work (we expect to hear about the 2 left on Saturday!) have made us think about our designing way... the conscious and the unconscious.

The BARCELONA ARCHITECTURE WALKS are inspired by the SYDNEY ARCHITECTURE WALKS, directed by EOGHAN LEWIS, with his narrative intelligence and ironic brilliancy he shows Sydney’s city to ”aesthetes, literati, flaneurs and locals who loves familiar terrain from a different point of view”. 
 
To Eoghan from Alex. Thank you for opening up Utzon to the general public.

 
Liam flood & Vanessa Farrer

We had an absolutely brilliant day on our guided tour. We thought we knew a lot about these buildings we were going to see. However the guide opened our eyes to a insider knowledge of these buildings and the city and history of Sydney itself that no books or brochures could inform you so eleglently.
Even if you have no interest in architecture the guided tour is about how we live.
A must for everyone we think.
We cannot praise it enough.

 
LynnE Kendal | Sydney Womens  International  Club

THANK YOU for a fabulous, fabulous architectural talk yesterday, the ladies were spell bound, I've never heard them so quite.  Your explanation / story about Utzon and the Opera house was simply wonderful.    
I've had so much positive feedback, here are a few comments:
-Just a note to say how much I enjoyed today. What a terrific, informative and entertaining presentation by our young architect. Great choice on your part!
- Thank you very much for your effort to let me join the walk.
It was rather sad story behind to the most representative building of Australia.
Still it was such wonderful morning and I enjoyed very much.
-Thank you Lynne, that was a fabulous tour today; what a passionate and knowledgeable man!
-Fabulous tour Lynne – thank you!

 
Michael Zaretsky, Assistant Prof of Architecture, University of Cincinnatti
I am writing to thank you for the brilliant time I had on the Utzon walk on Saturday. In my 8 years living in Sydney, the walk was the single most intellectually stimulating, entertaining, and rewarding experience I've had!

 
Phil Amos | Sydney
Having been on many architecture tours in Australia over the last seven weeks, I can definitively say that you are in a league of your own. You rock!

 
Pamela Bennett | Sydney
Just wanted to say what a great SAW tour I experienced today – lovely narrative with unexpected and gorgeous insights to my city. Thank you, I’ll be back with my friends.

 
Florence Lagrange-Leader | Author of French Cartoville guide book "Sydney"
I will never forget the two visits ("SYDNEY", "UTZON") with you, so interesting and thrilling: thankyou so much! The text I wrote on the Opera was inspired by what I learnt with you.

 
Sumi Natarajan | London
Carlo & I were among the privileged few who walked with you (SAW 1) on Wednesday the 13th January 2010. You were, well, how can I put this ?  We both liked the way you think - your passion for architecture and Sydney, your enthusiasm, your way of talking, your sense of humour, your patience in answering questions, your love and admiration for Utzon, your amazing way of making others see Sydney and its wonderful buildings through your eyes, your ability to make the buildings come alive - it was like listening to architectural poetry. We couldn't get enough of it and couldn't stop talking about you & SAW.

 
David Robertson | Victoria
I went on your UTZON Opera House tour in August 2005. I think pound for pound, it was the best tour I have ever been on and I've been on tonnnes. The tour was so comprehensive that it went for around 3 and a bit hours. The coffee afterwards added a really nice touch to the tour.

 
Dr. Yvonne Perczuk | Sydneysider
We wanted to congratulate you on the remarkable UTZON architecture walk we experienced a few weeks ago. As we are both architecture novices, the walk was an absolute revelation. The guide's enthusiasm was infectious, his depth of knowledge impressive and his wit and humour were a bonus. Keep up the truly inspiring work!

 
Michael Basso
I was on today's SAW02 UTZON walk. I just wanted to write a short note to say how great it was and how much I enjoyed it. The walk was interesting, well-organised and suitably paced. The walk leader was entertaining, extremely well-informed, passionate and a great story teller. I will be recommending the walk to others and look forward to completing the other walks myself.

 
Dr Graham Meltzer | Architecture Professor, Queensland University of Technology
The guide employed an impressive knowledge and understanding of these projects to speak engagingly and with passion. He was able to capture the spirit of the projects and talk to subtle matters of symbolism and design intent as well as more obvious aspects of technology and construction.


 
Michael Rudko | Architecture graduate from Adelaide
Thanks again for the walk today (February 2006). I think it was by far the most intense tour I've ever experienced which is great (I would say tour de force but that would be far too cheesy); I feel like I just sat through a whole semester course in Johnson, Utzon and Piano

 
Pam Best | Perth
I'm writing to express my thanks x 10 for the wonderful architecture tour I did today (October 2005) to the Opera House. I was bowled over by the depth of knowledge displayed and the passion with which it was all delivered. It was so good no one seemed to want to let our young architect go at the end of the tour.

 
Rachael Lee
Good morning. Comments on the architecture walks: SYDNEY was excellent, HARBOURINGS was fantastic, UTZON was superb! Thanks for a fun and enlightening time.

 
Marilyn Miller | Melbourne
Did the SAW2 UTZON walk today [May 2006] and it was fantastic. Got out of my sick bed (mostly because I’d prepaid) but soon forgot about myself as [the guides] passion and vast knowledge of Utzon’s work was pretty hard to resist. The walking was not too strenuous, so that was enjoyable too. I flew back to Melbourne, talking constantly about the ingenuity of the Opera House platform, its clever drainage system and the sails that are really clouds. Will certainly be recommending the walk to my friends and colleagues.

 
Melanie Galea | Sydneysider
I just wanted to pass on my thanks for such a fabulous tour yesterday. You presented the design principles and history with such enthusiasm and clarity; on a level that still felt accessible for someone with no design background. I will definitely be recommending it to friends.

 
Leon Buker | Sydneysider
Thanks for setting up SAW. I love the blend of architecture, history and politics.

 
Kim Philip | architecture student | New Zealand
It was particularly refreshing to hear an 'exposed' account (unlike other tours designed solely to glorify a city for the tourists). To a budding young architect such as myself, I gained most benefit from discovering the undercurrent and contextual issues that shaped the architectural responses, at a range of different scales. It enabled a first-timer to Sydney the ability to apply ideas to personal follies of exploration, and make informed interpretations of architectural idiosyncrasies. As I came to know about you, I intend to recommend that any of my architectural buddies who are planning on visiting Sydney do one of your walks.

 
Richard Carver | architect | New Zealand
Just wanted to say that we thoroughly enjoyed our UTZON tour Saturday 13th August. It was the highlight of a 3–day Sydney trip. Thanks very much to the young guide. His enthusiasm and excellent presentation were a definite highlight and he needs to be congratulated.

 
Rinske Geerlings | Final year architecture student | Netherlands
Must say I really enjoyed the tour yesterday! You collected the nice and comprehensible background information and also the spicy details on the stuff. You managed to let us share in your enthusiasm, which is quite something.

 
Samantha Goates | Textile designer | Scotland
I did your BRILLIANT UTZON talk a few weeks ago on the weekend.... been raving to anyone and everyone about it since you'll be pleased to know. Even suggested to the boss that we take all the interstate folk on your walks for our next conference....!!!!

 
Dr Janice Hirshorn | Texti
I participated in an excellent architectural walk on Wednesday February 9 2005. It was a pleasure to see selected buildings through the eyes of a young architect together with the other tour participants, most of whom were visitors from overseas. I was so relaxed at the end.

Tripadvisor reviews of Sydney Architecture Walks
 
NEWS #1
Groovy travel bloggers Grantourismo came on one of our tours and wrote a lovely piece.
NEWS #2
Our recent Pecha Kucha on the SAW project.
NEWS #3
A nice surprise - SAW founder Eoghan Lewis named as one of the Top Ten Forces and Faces in Australian Design. Thanks to DQ
NEWS #4
Timeout piece on our Bike Tour. Two-Wheeled Architectural Safari
NEWS #5
Interview in Timeout-Sydney
 
THE SAW STORY.
The Sydney Architecture Walks began in a flurry during the summer olympics of september 2000, when Eoghan Lewis, a young-ish bloke with questionable hair and tickets on himself, discovered that sydneysiders couldn't give a stuff about architecture & design, and were, surprisingly, much more interested in sport than buildings.
For three weeks he sat near the opera house steps, twice a day - every day, holding a pathetic little sign, waiting anxiously, hoping that someone might turn up for a walk. No one did. Not even his friends! (he found out that they were more interested in sport as well). he sat and he waited (for three bloody weeks) until one day, one person came on a walk. One person!
it was around about then that he realised he was pretty keen on sport as well.
So what began as a rambling join-the-dots between his favourite buildings evolved into a family of narrative-driven architectural conversations on foot and on bikes with a hack team - oops - crack team of apssionate young architect guides.
So get a good nights sleep, hang on tight and come along for the (walk) ride.
ENOUGH ABOUT US...

feedback is always really appreciated; on our tours, the city, this site and so on.

Email us at info@sydneyarchitecture.org with comments, questions, complaints or requests. If they're nice we might even respond.
Sydney Architecture Walks
Urban-tours for aesthetes, city-lovers and for locals who love familiar terrain from a different point of view.