2019 House Awards: House Alteration and Addition under 200m2

House in Darlinghurst by Tribe Studio

Jury comment

This project saw the transformation of a former electrical substation built in the 1930s, located in what was once a slum and red light district in Darlinghurst. The architect’s modest response to the context involved making a respectful intervention into the existing grungy industrial form. Behind the chiselled exterior is an elegantly sparse, compact, minimal and mono-chromatic interior.

This innovative house becomes a generous home by striving to filter natural light by day and becoming an illuminated glowing lantern by night. A gossamer stair within a narrow chasm connects the four levels of varying heights through an encrusted outer skin to a crisp, black-and-white sequence of functional inner volumes. Diverse patterns are produced through layered filigrees, veils and screens, providing a secure refuge for the occupants.

Venetian glass bricks, described by the architect as “a wild extravagance,” are wrapped around the spacious rooftop pool terrace, providing a shiny oasis within the urban collage. The final skyward gesture is the embrace of foliage from the neighbour’s mature gum tree, reminding us that the ambience of a protected and private backyard is possible even in the city.

Achieving excellence through the use of a restrained palette, this experimental project is a bold contribution to a challenging environment, with a refreshing depth of thoughtfulness and consideration.

The Award for House Alteration and Addition under 200m2 is supported by Asko.

See full image galleries of all the winning and shortlisted projects here.


Tribe Studio
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Project Team
Hannah Tribe, Miriam Green, Jeff Grant
Builder Daniel Girling-Butcher
Engineer SDA Structures
Site details
Location Sydney,  NSW,  Australia
Site type Suburban
Category Residential
Type New house, Residential
Project Details
Status Built



Published online: 26 Jul 2019
Words: Houses Awards Jury 2019
Images: Katherine Lu


Houses, August 2019

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