Selected Projects

Balmain House

Originally a worker’s cottage, Balmain House was designed to provide simple, functional, generous, private and light-filled living spaces for a young family, within the spatial constraints of a small inner-city block.

Located on an elevated rock platform, Balmain House presented design challenges from the outset. As a leftover triangle of a larger subdivision, the irregular site boundaries required careful consideration of height and volume to maximise design integrity – privacy, light and views – with minimal interruption to its neighbouring properties.


  • Intergrain Timber Vision Awards – Commendation Award, 2013
  • NSW Australian Institute of Architects Awards Architecture Award, 2013
  • National Australian Institute of Architects Awards – Commendation Award, 2013
  • Timber Design Award, 2013

Working with the space’s opportunities and constraints, the design centres around natural push and pull requirements of the exterior envelope. Carefully shaped to preserve neighbouring views, the upstairs spaces open the house to sunlight and natural ventilation, with sweeping vistas of the garden, surrounding village area and the Anzac Bridge.

Conceived as a walled garden, Balmain House features planted pockets and porous downstairs living areas, creating masterful dialogue between the interior and exterior domains of the house. Maximum light and elevation, achieved through clever sculptural design, complimented by natural ventilation systems and a simple, textural palette define the house.

“Nothing is random or complicated for its own sake. It’s about responding to the constraints and opportunities of the site” – Conrad Johnston.