Beautiful, Sustainable Building Design


This compact granny flat sits atop an elegant garage on a discreet laneway on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. A tightly manipulated building envelope ensured Council compliance on a tight site.

This home, and its simply presentation to the street disguise the elegance and comfort that is so often missing in these pieces of gentle densification.

The floating home calls for a simple aesthetic, blank side walls are clad in dark standing seam to match the roof while the more visible long elevations are a blackbutt cladding treated to age over time.

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Project Details

The garage below is made from a split face concrete block, both beautiful and practical at the same time. The contrast between the simplicity and heaviness of the base and the floating top works well. This building will definitely settle well into its new home over the first few years.

The industrial checkerplate staircase provides for a dramatic entry with sky views before arriving on the shielded entry deck.

The home is third certified passivhaus in Sydney (see the first one here). The timber/aluminium windows and door with their double glazing are part of a well insulated airtight building envelope. The heat recovery ventilation system ensures fresh air 24/7  although the doors can often be found open a gorgeous autumn day.

Extensive use of timber is both a more sustainable option and comforting in the compact space. The treetop views afforded by the elevated position give this granny flat a sense of space that belies its true size.

At the 2020 Building Designers Association of Australia National Design Awards, PassivLaneway was awarded the Chris Reardon Memorial Award for residential sustainable buildings and the Hyne Timber Industry Partner Award. See our other award winning projects here.

Hear directly from the clients (and get a tour):

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Landscape Architect: Elke Haege Thorvaldson

Builder: IMAC Developments

Photography by Kayle Barton


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