The Balmain House site, which is located on the north-eastern end of the Balmain peninsula, terraces down from the street to meet the harbour. It has extensive views over Goat Island towards the Harbour Bridge.

The existing Victorian villa, constructed in 1883, was of modest but elegant proportions. It had been designed with the main façade facing the harbour and the street was effectively the back of house.

The concept was to provide a process of discovery through the site. A discreet street entry connects into the original central hallway that offers glimpses of the view. A new central stair provides a staged decent that moves down and out into the modern living pavilion. The extending further into the site and terminating in a viewing deck overlooking the extraordinary harbour views.

The pavilion’s narrow plan provides access to the northern sun and excellent cross ventilation. It gains a sense of scale, filtered light and indoor/outdoor connection from the adjacent lawn and feature eucalyptus. With a slender yet robust off-form concrete frame, it sinks into the site toward the water. This provides extra height to the dining and living area and a sense of opening toward the view whilst maintaining its low external profile.

The strength and simplicity of the concrete form reflects against the warmth of the timber, the bark of the eucalypt tree, the sparkle of the water and grounds itself into the site against the ever-changing context of Sydney Harbour.

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