2019 Houses Awards: House in a Heritage Context – joint winner

Balmain Rock by Benn + Penna

Jury comment

Balmain Rock excels for its human scale, and for the warmth and tactile qualities that Benn and Penna Architecture has added to the tiny 1860s sandstone cottage.

The additions have been carved off an archetypical gabled shelter volume; light wells and balconies have been sculpted off the solid mass to great effect. The light is soft, and the juxtaposition of new and old materials is magical, paired with the warmth of the old sandstone and sandstock bricks and the calm and robust slate floor and concrete.

What is most satisfying is the respect that the additions offer to the original cottage. The new living spaces seem to gaze admiringly toward the old stones and intimate sharing of everyday living occurs around the linking courtyard. There is intergenerational admiration between the cottage and its offspring.

The skill, balance and solidity of this project will guarantee an enduring life for this renewed house.

The Award for House in a Heritage Context is supported by the Heritage Councils of Victoria and New South Wales.

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


Benn and Penna Architects
Surry Hills, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Project Team
Andrew Benn, Michelle Dunas, Sean Tran
Builder Newmark Constructions
Engineer PMI Engineers
Landscaping Selena Hannan Landscape Design
Site details
Category Residential buildings
Type Heritage, Houses, Residential
Project Details
Status Built



Published online: 26 Jul 2019
Words: Houses Awards Jury 2019
Images: Tom Ferguson


Houses, August 2019

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