Ballast Point House by Fox Johnston

Location: Birchgrove, New South Wales, Australia

Area: 245 m2

Completed: 2019

Architecture: Emili Fox, Fox Johnston

Interiors: Fox Johnston

Builder: SQ Projects

Structural: SDA

Landscape: Dangar Barin Smith

Photography: Brett Boardman, Anson Smart


Australian Interior Design Awards 2020, Residential Design – Shortlist

Houses Awards 2020- Sustainability – Shortlist

Houses Awards 2020- New Houses over 200m2 – Shortlist

AIA NSW Architecture Awards 2020 – Residential Architecture Houses (New) – Shortlist

The Plan Award 2020 – Houses – Shortlist

Designed for multi-generational living, this courtyard house resolves a difficult 260sqm sandstone ridge site through creation of a podium base consisting of a garage and clever two-level, dual-key apartment suite over which rests a two-storey dwelling of light-filled spaces clustered around gardens and courtyards.

The material palette is robust and refined. The downstairs areas with recycled bricks either raw or painted, with exposed concrete floors and ceilings. Joinery through is a pale plywood, window and door frames are a blonde Accoya wood – sustainably sourced.

Upstairs, the softer palette sees wainscotted walls and a faceted ceiling painted a duck egg blue, with carpets of deep indigo.

“The house is designed to work in the hot summer months by closing it down during the day, and opening it up again once the temperature outside starts to fall.”Emili Fox

The house has been designed to encourage low-energy-use through the incorporation of sustainable design features such its reliance on thermal mass, orientation and the placement of courtyard gardens to allow natural light and ventilation for indoor air temperature control, and is also equipped to be 92% off-the-grid through the inclusion of solar panels & battery storage, rainwater harvesting, and greywater reuse. Ballast Point House works hard to draw together the needs of a demanding site and Client brief, and through consistent and seamless rigor has produced a design that answers the call for a dwelling that embodies the Client’s respect for family and nature.

Fox Johnston Architects

All images courtesy of Fox Johnston

Fox Johnston

Conrad Johnston – Director

Director. B.Sc(Arch), BArch(Hon)(USYD), AIA, BOA, Nominated Architect 8270

Conrad Johnston’s reputation for achieving high quality design outcomes has been integral to the success of Fox Johnston, named as one of the top “20 young practices in the World” (Wallpaper Magazine 2013).

With a depth of experience ranging from concept design, regulatory approval and then project delivery, Johnston brings a bold, finely honed design aesthetic to the studio, delivering meaningful, tactile projects that reach for a singular vision aligning all the elements into a cohesive whole.

Developed through his pursuit of the exceptional, Conrad’s leading site-specific design responses are underpinned by the people and story behind the concept. This design philosophy has informed all of Fox Johnston’s projects and has led to many awards and outstanding local and international recognition. 

“Our objective is to give our client a robust, integrated and superbly resolved solution that meets their brief, but also offers something they haven’t wholly expected.” Conrad Johnston


Level 1, 268A Devonshire Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

Phone+61 2 9211 2700


Fox Johnston


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