Datchett Street, Balmain East

An incredible example of new meeting old, peacefully and beautifully, yet boldly. The revitalised original sandstone cottage sits warmly at the front of the block, with the incredible, off-form concrete, two storey, new pavillion sitting boldy at the rear. The two are delicately joined with a passageway and internal courtyard, nestled in the historic precinct of Balmain East.


Project Architect:
Benn + Penna Architecture

The new concrete building form is conceived as an altered duplication of the existing sandstone cottage, that playfully mimic’s its traditional roof geometries while emphasising a sense of solidity and permanence through the use of complementary new materials.

The Rock House has become a highly decorated home in 2018 and 2019, so far being awarded two building and three architectural awards. It was the winner of a Master Builders Association Excellence in Housing award 2018, with the judges commenting this home is ‘A masterclass in building by a young builder. Exceptional work.’ This led to Mark and Newmark being awarded the National Young Builder of the Year award – the highest honour and achievement for a builder under 40 in Australia.


The complex sequencing of this build was critically important, with the vast extent of high detail, off-form, concrete required; there was no margin for error. Every pour had to be carefully considered and planned in advance. Before undertaking the first pour we had to know how it would all come together; no surprises. Even the traffic access had to be factored in to how much we would aim to pour in a single day. If we got caught out the consequences would be detrimental to the finished result.

The joy this brought out in our team was something to behold. Being able to use their depth and decades of experience to bring it all together.

Building better

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