Discarded terracotta roof tiles salvaged from a demolished site were ingeniously reused to build the facade of the new Luigi Rosselli office in Surry Hills, Sydney.

Architect Luigi Rosselli engaged his son Raffaello Rosselli, also an architect with an independent practice, to design his architectural firm’s new Surry Hills office.

The striking facade has been drawing attention for its unique look and there is a lot of curiosity about the material used on the facade.

Describing the terracotta roof tiles as a ubiquitous Sydney material, Raffaello Rosselli said that the tiles were recycled and he got them for free. The tiles came from a demolished residential site and were headed to landfill. The tiles have been stacked in different triangular concertinas to effectively screen the glazing of a west-facing, eight-metre wide frontage. In addition to keeping the interiors cool, the tiles allow a gentle breeze inside.

Raffaello Rosselli says he was inspired by the idea of a ‘brise soleil’ (sun-breaker screen) applied by Le Corbusier on some of his projects. The tiles were also suitable for the site because they matched the masonry material of the neighbouring warehouse.

The building’s facade bends inwards to accommodate the branches of a paperbark tree. Some of the design highlights of the office building also include a stairway partially tiled in a tread made of marble chips, which has been developed into a product by Rosselli studio with a tile company that now manufactures it in China; and a keyhole-shaped window visible on the top floor, which was a custom-designed reject from a residential project.