Contained Extrusion – Whitebay Traverse by Benn and Penna Architecture
In its highly visible location on a corner allotment, Whitebay Traverse is considered for both its addition to the interior experience of the home and of its influence on public domain. Benn and Penna Architecture carefully sculpts the new as an extension of the original sentiments, crafted through a crisp and contained resolve.
Located in heritage-rich Balmain, Whitebay Traverse sees the addition and alterations of an existing cottage form. Whilst the home is a place of introspection and focus, the visibility and connection to the streetscape formed a key aspect to the brief, seeing the addition sensitively conceived as a result. By expanding outward and upward, the home is given a new life, creating new connections with the surrounding natural elements and the rear landscaped garden space. With the front of the home remaining in place, the rear addition develops its own gravitational pull, where generous spaces connect outward and enable the occupants to gather. Benn and Penna Architecture balances a respect for the existing form and materiality in proposing the new, whilst elements of muted warmth add a welcomed texture in the process.
Spread over two levels, Whitebay Traverse is overlayed with a sense of order through the new addition. The combined living, dining and kitchen space sits neatly tucked into the lower level, opening with full-width operable façade elements that allow continued access out into the garden. Above, a newly sculpted master suite is located with an accompanying study and bunk room. The separation over levels also matches the passive and active nature of the spaces – allowing a natural grouping and hierarchy to form. The monochromatic and restrained palette intentionally creates a feeling of calm and retreat.
As the addition extends from the existing, the select brickwork is muted to match the original stone of the cottage. The hand working of the bricks connects back to a celebration of the handmade, whilst its order and exposed texture and rhythm offer more a tactile face. Patterns form as the sun interacts with the surface whilst the timber elements inserted above add further warmth; their position on the level above also creates a sense of separation from eye level and pedestrians as they pass by. Breaking down the overall otherwise completely masonry form, the timber plays a vital role in animating the façade. The movable screens allow the home to breathe and air flow through as needed.
Articulated from both within and from approach, Whitebay Traverse considers light, movement and connection. Benn and Penna Architecture has crafted a structure of generous proportions, unexpectedly creating a voluminous home by expanding a piece of history.