CHROFI – an architectural studio with strong listening skills and bespoke resolutions


Three words sum up John Choi’s approach to architectural design: relevance, collaboration and legacy.

John is a founding partner, alongside Tai Ropiha and Steven Fighera, of Sydney-based practice CHROFI, which enjoys a stellar reputation for its major urban projects.

CHROFI stepped into the international spotlight with its work in New York’s Times Square and has since put its name to many high-profile community projects in Australia, such as the Ian Potter National Conservatory, the award winning Maitland Riverlink, the Echo Point Visitor Information Centre and the Sutherland Entertainment Centre.

Heritage sensitivity blended with modern needs

Its refurbishment work on the iconic Surf Life Saving Club at Tamarama demonstrates CHROFI’s deft touch in the sphere of heritage architecture – this project is adapting a much-loved but tired building to the needs of the 21st century, improving its functionality and accessibility.

Multi unit dwellings and single homes also benefit from elegant and efficient treatment

John says that while urban renewal remains an ongoing passion at CHROFI, the practice also enjoys the challenge of designing multi-unit dwellings that are well-crafted, efficient and make the best of each site.

Recent commissions include the Mezzo apartment complex in Glebe and Twenty95 in Manly.

The practice applies the same holistic philosophy to its residential commissions, producing a number of elegant and yet highly efficient private homes where thermal comfort, natural lighting and low energy use are all paramount considerations.

A contemporary off-grid rural home in Hawke’s Nest illustrates the potential of prefabricated materials in a sensitive environment.

“Creating a well-designed environment with good thermal comfort and daylighting is a big part of our culture,” John says.

“These days we are also factoring the embedded energy of the materials and construction process we choose – which is why we are looking closely at new types of materials, prefabrication and design for assembly.”

Regardless of the project, whether residential or public, CHROFI is committed to a bespoke approach – listening intently to the needs of each client and delivering a solution that is aesthetically pleasing and also enhances the site.

“We are always looking for a design that is a good fit for the use and the place, but also offers longevity so there’s an enduring value to the community,” John says.

“It’s all about making the maximum use of the time and materials that we commit to each project.”