Dulwich Hill Vaults by Benn + Penna

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    Benn + Penna design a rear concrete addition for a freestanding cottage in Sydney’s inner west as an exploration of light and scale. 

    Sydney architects Benn + Penna are known for their focus on robust materials and integrated indoor-outdoor living in their residential projects, as seen in Palm Beach Blue and Balmain Rock. In their latest project, an extension onto a worker’s cottage in Dulwich Hill, Benn + Penna have retained the existing home and introduced a new structure directly connected to the garden, raised by a series of delicate pilotis.

    It was crucial the new structure had a sensitive connection to the original building. The new roof connects to the existing home through similar terracotta tiles and the same hipped-roof geometry. Thin pilotis around the perimeter of the new extension subtly reference the Modernist era and evoke a subtle ‘hovering’ appearance off the ground. 

    Behind the traditional stained-glass door, an ornate hallway offers immediate vistas of the lush green garden. The bedrooms, bathrooms, and rumpus room are enclosed within the old home, while the new addition contains three distinct spaces; the kitchen and dining room, living room, and home office. Each of these spaces is distinguished by a truncated ceiling vault above it, giving the project its name and subtly marking the different zones without the interruption of solid walls.

    A neutral palette of concrete and white accentuates the airiness of the open new addition and high ceilings, grounded with earthy hues from the jute rug and timber kitchen cabinetry. The concrete continues into the outdoor entertaining zone, forming a streamlined cooking and seating area.

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    The study features the Spade Chair, designed by Faye Toogood.

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    Clad in soft sage mosaic tiles, the bathroom adds a muted accent of colour to the quiet home.

    Clad in soft sage mosaic tiles, the bathroom adds a muted accent of colour to the quiet home. A slot window embedded in the concrete wall promotes the indoor-outdoor connectedness felt throughout. 

    Composed of clean lines and simple forms, Benn + Penna’s Dulwich Hill Vaults sees a light-filled addition achieve a fluid connection with its garden. 

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