Balmain Houses

Balmain Houses

Benn + Penna Architecture
Sydney, Australia | View Map
Project Year
Private Houses
Tom Ferguson

Balmain Houses

Benn + Penna Architecture as Architects

The project involves significant alterations and additions to two existing Victorian-era workers cottages in the inner Sydney suburb of Balmain. Each of the properties are owned by different generations of the same family and our architectural response investigated the interconnectedness and independence of each of these families.

Architecturally the buildings are developed as a sequence of carefully unfolding scenes – much like miniaturised landscapes of traditional Chinese gardens. Throughout spaces are organised into a series of bending and tilting movements that carefully control privacy whilst remaining interconnected. A sense of continuity between spaces is further developed by a gradually evolving palette of materials that alternates the uses of timber. The result is a highly animated and adaptive range of experiences; from quite contemplative spaces to festive communal spaces, all contained within a singular ‘homebody’ that is capable of supporting the modern day complexities of a large family.

The importance of this development is that it achieves both an independence and interconnection between neighbouring properties, and as the number of shared households within our cities continue to decline, and whilst cities continue to densify, a successful balance in this relationship will become increasingly important to achieve.

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