Positioned in the Sydney’;s Balmain Heritage Conservation Region, this project consists of the alteration of and addition to the existing semi-detached houses. These Victorian-time workers cottages have been significantly transformed to suit the new owners’; brief for a house and office space at the very same time. The solution identified by architects Benn+Penna is a sequence of very carefully unfolding scenes, organized in such a way as to handle privacy whilst remaining interconnected. The result is a twin property with brick facades and cedar cladding and screens. The brick walls are a heritage feature that needed to be preserved, even though the cedar addition brings that touch of architectural sophistication. Apart from that, the cedar screens filter the light and insure the desired level of privacy both in the rooms and in the modest courtyard terraces. The two houses mirror every other in terms of layout. The corner portion of the residence has an extra space on the ground floor, utilised as workplace space. The elevated ground floor is symmetrical, with open program kitchen and living room opening on a courtyard terrace. An additional area on the street side is used as bedroom or operating space, based on the certain wants. The upper floor is a rectangular box that has been added to the existing structure and has the very same function of bedroom/workplace space.
The two homes are divided my a communal central wall, that is continued outdoors, separating thus the two modest courtyards. This wall is in red brick, like all the external walls of the property- element of the heritage of the neighborhood.
From the open-plan kitchen and living area level, an open staircase leads up to the private part of the property, used as bedroom or workplace space.
In order to make the most of the reduced space, a lot of custom furnishings has been created specifically for the residence, from shelves, to desks and constructed-in storage.
The level of light and privacy on the top floor is regulated thanks to the wood screens that can be open or kept closed.