The Abbey, Johnston Street, Annandale by Design 5 – Architects
Heritage: National Award
Australian Institute of Architects
The jury found The Abbey in Annandale, Sydney to be an extraordinary achievement of restoration and sympathetic addition. This project has brought back to life one of Australia’s most idiosyncratic late-nineteenth-century houses, the former home of eccentric Sydney architect-builder John Young. The house also had a colourful recent past as home for more than forty years to Dr Geoffrey Davis, member of the Sydney bohemian movement The Push, and hence it was the dramatic location for legendary wild parties in the 1960s and 1970s. The lavish and romantic Victorian Free Gothic style house, completed in 1882, includes a tower with gargoyles, a conservatory/ chapel, servants’ quarters and stables. The elaborate medieval- inspired internal decorative scheme, which includes stencil work, extensive and elaborate use of Minton tiles, handpainted panels of medieval stories and of indigenous Australian birdlife, and original Gothic-inspired built-in furniture, is a marvel to behold. Its restoration is of national significance. This project is an exemplar of the way in which heritage, technical and construction experts can collaborate to conserve a significant local landmark. The Abbey is also a testament to the clients’ dedication and commitment to preserving the past. As required, all additions and alterations were sensitive and sympathetic, taking design cues from the original residence. Complemented by the clients’ subsequent development and nurturing of a beautiful garden, The Abbey has been transformed from a dilapidated ruin to a gorgeous contemporary family home.