Tempe House & Studio. 

Award winning architectural additions to a listed sandstone cottage and detached garden studio in Tempe in Sydney's inner-west.

The site was once a quarry and the existing sandstone cottage 'Markinch' is one of several listed cottage on the street built by the same stone mason in the early 20th Century.

Design strategies were derived from a pragmatic mapping of site conditions, potential inside/outside relationships, adjacent building alignments and heritage restraints, coupled with our desire to add a bold and ecologically responsive layer. 

Insensitive additions were removed, the bricks re-purposed as a series of deep courtyard steps that elongate the courtyard and make stronger the connection between house and yard. Internal spaces were reorganised, realigning the living spaces to the morning sun and the courtyard. Two new pavilions, one attached for living, the other a detached studio talk to one another across the garden. The formal and material departure of these pavilions from the existing is in response to solar access and the prevailing north-easterly breeze.

The bathroom is imagined as a bathhouse or Japanese onsen. Hardwood sliding screens frame a private portion of the garden, blurring the threshold between inside and out. The black slate tiles and carefully detailed threshold reinforce this idea of the bathhouse / garden refuge.


We considered the original cottage as a place of contemporary residence free of any kind of romantic attitude to what was, nor a negative attitude to what is. The general approach was not to attempt retrieval of the original so it’s frozen, but to allow history to continue at a slowed pace and so our interventions are geared to render the original core-bungalow as a setting for private and public contemplation. This is an approach evidenced in projects by European architects Scarpa, Zumthor, Utzon, Fenn and Souto de Moura which seek to explore the fine line between restoration and re-fabrication.

Our approach was to keep what is valuable about the original house without compromise, whilst adding a new layer that responds intelligently to climatic concerns and to the particularities of site; that respects the materiality, character and scale of the original dwelling and the street whilst adding a modest, carefully detailed and articulated contemporary addition that acts in complimentary opposition or counterpoint to its host. In this way, the project hopes to relate in a meaningful not a superficial way. It does not mimic; it interprets and modifies around a set of simple and sound design principles and does so with material and construction integrity.


Winner, 2013 Marrickville Medal
Commendation, 2015 AIA NSW Architecture Awards - Small Project Architecture
Shortlisted, 2015 AIA NSW Architecture Awards - Alterations & Additions

Sustainable Design Features:

-hydronic in-slab heating coupled to a gas-boosted solar hot water system
-passive solar design (deep winter sun penetration whilst at the same time shielding the mid-summer sun)
-secure high-level north-easterly cross-ventilation (so you can cross-ventilate without compromising security) 
-recycled and salvaged masonry
-rainwater collection for re-use
-materials were chosen for their durability, integrity and thermal properties
-Class 1 Australian timbers from renewable sources
-high levels of insulation
-energy efficient appliances and water saving devices
-led lighting

Publications: Monument + House & Garden + SMH Domain + Sydney Morning HeraldArchitecture Australia + Lunchbox Architect
Awards: Commendation, AIA NSW Architecture Awards (2015)  + Marrickville Medal (2013)
Staff: Eoghan Lewis & Kim Lange
Builder: JAI Constructions
Structural Engineer: SDA Structures
Doors & Windows: Acacia Joinery
Images: Roger D'Souza (the good ones) & Eoghan Lewis