Balmain Cottage

2015 Wan Country / Balmain, NSW

2015 Smeg Venice Biennale Tour Competition – Winner

We have been lucky enough to have designed alterations and additions to a number of heritage listed buildings over the years. This modest late Victorian sandstone cottage on the Balmain peninsula is one of the finer ones. It was built by a master mariner, ship owner, and mayor Captain John Greenway Punch about 1890 of stone quarried from the site, to replace an earlier dwelling that had burnt down.

Our work is limited to the rear portions of the dwelling and consists of new living areas over two levels; the lower, sunk partially into the sandstone bedrock, opens on the east facing garden, the upper takes advantage of leafy district, inner harbour, and city skyline views, and will give our clients a sense of being in the garden. It incorporates sandstone elements of the original dwelling and later additions, yet is largely of lightweight construction as a counterpoint the solidity of the original.

We were pleased to see it being built by some very fine builders, dedicated to their craft. The challenging excavation beneath the existing cottage and into the sandstone bedrock was nimbly and expertly handled.



Project Team

Sam Crawford, Claire McCaughan, Chelsea Harper, Ken Warr


SQ Projects


Structural Engineer – Northrop
Quantity Surveyor – QS Plus
Hydraulic – ITM Design
Heritage – Weir Phillips Architects and Heritage Consultants
Colour – Dig Design & Colour
Landscape – Spirit Level
Land Surveyor – Stutchbury Jaques
Lighting – LPA
AV – New Fidelity


Lucy Rimmer and David Maes (SQ Projects)