Chris Elliott was born in Wollongong, a city on a narrow strip of land between a mountain escarpment and the ocean, south of Sydney. He grew up surfing in the shadow of the Port Kembla steelworks, Wollongong’s “dark, satanic mills”. The drama of the natural environment and man-made structures has engendered both a love of nature and sensitivity to the impact of human habitation.
He graduated with honours in Architecture at the University of NSW and studied at the Architectural Association, UK. He worked for various architectural offices in Europe and Sydney and in 1992 established his own practice. He has taught at UNSW and UTS and guest lectures widely. Elliott has been an examiner for the AIA Board of Architects for many years.
Several design competitions were the vehicle to explore his interest in architectural theory and the growth of cities. In 1995 he won “Visions for Green Square” a national ideas competition for the revitalisation of a 240 ha site encompassing several industrial suburbs in Sydney’s south – at the time it was Australia’s largest proposed urban re-development. He won 3rd prize in an international ideas competition “Re-Public” Park for the Brickpit adjacent to the Sydney Olympics site. In 1997 he was one of five finalists in the international competition for Federation Square in Melbourne.
His own house, Seacliff House, won two Sydney Design Awards 2013, was shortlisted in the World Interior News Awards and the World Architecture Festival Awards, won a Commendation from the AIA and won the Waverley Design Award. It featured in the television series ‘Great Australian Sandcastles’ in 2013.