Video Feature

The Balmain Rock House – An Exploration in Light, Space & History

East Balmain

Kintaro Studios

The Local Project presents The Balmain Rock House by Benn + Penna and Newmark Constructions – a true architectural exploration into the elements of light and space, and the ability of both to alter history.

From a design perspective this project is the story of the restoration of a heritage sandstone cottage and the addition of a new concrete pavilion to an existing property located in the Sydney suburb of East Balmain. But when one digs a little deeper they discover the distinctive human element that makes this story so unique.

“The most enjoyable aspect of this profession is to see the impact it can have on someone’s life – it’s truly exhilarating”, states project architect Andrew Benn of Benn + Penna. Throughout the course of the project Andrew worked in collaboration with client and builder to bring a shared vision of contemporary inner-west living to fruition. All parties worked with perfect synergy in order to merge the traditional and new age architectural stylings together with the efficiency that has made this home a beacon of minimalist Sydney architecture.

When the clients first purchased the home they were immediately drawn to the old fashioned charm of the dilapidated sandstone cottage. They had always planned to move to the suburb of East Balmain at some point in their life and were excited to engage Benn + Penna and Newmark Constructions to task them with the mission of creating a home they truly did justice to their beautiful new surroundings.

The architectural design of the East Balmain House creates a unique sense of understated contemporary luxury through the subtle treatment of light and space, the use of quality natural materials and a modest colour palette that contributes to the minimalist aesthetic of the home. Whilst Andrew Benn and the team from Benn + Penna can take plaudits for the design of this simply breathtaking home, one cannot underestimate the role Newmark Constructions played in the overall process.

The condensed nature of the site made this a particularly challenging build for Mark Newman and his team from Newmark Constructions. Their efforts to build a home that produced a soft and warm feeling for the occupants were recognised officially in 2018 when the home received an award in the Master Builders Excellence in Housing awards, along with Newmark taking out the young builder of the year award.

“It’s a huge risk when you build”, explains Vanessa Rock, client and owner of the East Balmain House. “It’s your dreams, your aspirations and a huge amount of money. It’s essential to communicate effectively with architect and builder and we think we were given more than we ever would have expected”.

On the surface the Balmain Rock House is a beautiful restoration and additions project brought to life by a dedicated team of architects and builders. The stunning contemporary design leaves a lasting impression on all who view it but it is the relationship that has formed between architect, builder and client that has left a similarly long lasting impression on all those involved in the project. The Local Project welcomes viewers to explore the narrative of the East Balmain House as narrated by the team who turned a vision into spectacular reality.

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