rena architects

Banks Street Residence

Modern extension to an 1880's timber cottage in North Sydney
2000 - 2004


The renovation of heritage listed buildings always poses a challenge and often requires a more careful and sensitive design touch. This project combines contemporary living with respect for the heritage fabric of the 120 year old whaling timber cottage. The scale and character of the design are made to fit well within the existing urban patterns of the historic neighbourhood. The proposed design consists of two new buildings with gable roofs following the form of the original house and matching its roof shape and color. The three buildings are separated from one another by garden areas with the old cottage and new pavilion linked by a glazed bridge. On the west side the living pavilion opens onto the main garden area facing the back lane where the third little ‘see-through’ building serves as a double carport with study and storage above.

The old cottage was carefully repaired and upgraded to maintain its historic integrity. A separate and modern living pavilion offers a comfortable environment for a young family. The design follows green design principles and the house opens to the sunny back garden. The simple open space with kitchen island at one end, large dining table in the middle and a sitting area at the other end is carefully designed and proportioned. Low eaves and cathedral ceilings make this space feel larger and more dramatic while the distinctive modern identity is expressed through simplicity of materials and details. The new living pavilion and old cottage are linked by a glazed bridge that spans a narrow rock garden, making a clear and symbolic transition zone between old and new.

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  © Rena Architects 2008 | Site by David Parsons