Profile

Benn & Penna is a multi award winning architecture studio that offers a personal and collaborative approach to our services. We specialise in residential alterations, new houses and small commercial projects that are creatively tailored to client needs.

Our studios elemental and uncluttered approach to design forges spaces with a refined sense of ease and clarity that sets our work apart. We have a passion for design, art and the environment, inspiring buildings that have a natural elegance and authenticity.

Our residential designs are articulated to subtly enhance the domestic experience, creating environments that are calm, responsive and inspire well-being. Our inherent appreciation for sustainable design means our buildings carefully respond to the seasons, blending inside and out with an abundance of natural light and ventilation, and materials selected for low environmental impact and longevity. Experience has shown us that careful management of resources is a key catalyst of our creative approach.

We believe in a highly consultative approach to architecture, ensuring our projects carefully respond to our clients needs. This collaborative process carries through to our approach in working with consultants and builders to successfully navigate planning approvals and deliver reliable construction outcomes.

Approach

Our process is rigorous and iterative, resulting in the highest quality design, continually improved as the project progresses. Through the design process, we use a number of tools to communicate our thinking, including 3D visualisations, model-making, diagrams and hand sketches. We see architecture as a process of continual progress towards mastery, thriving on challenges such as difficult sites, complex briefs and planning restrictions.

Benn & Penna is led by Director Andrew Benn who works with an experienced team of professionals in their Pyrmont office, along with an alternative home office in Sydney’s northern beaches. Core staff members include Rachel Allsop and Sean Tran who are each involved across the offices entire portfolio of work.

As an architect, Andrew draws his inspiration not just from architecture, but also from the abstract paintings of Fred Williams and Mark Rothko, and from ceramicist Gwyn Hanssen Pigott’s soft, sculptural forms. His architectural inspirations include the local heroes of Jorn Utzon and Hugh Buhrich, along with the serene lines and calm, solid foundations of the internationally recognised architects John Pawson and Eduardo Souto de Moura.

Working with the support of his team, Andrew is able to apply his own architectural sensibilities to each project, subtly balancing form, proportion and materials, whilst intimately incorporating the needs of his clients.

Awards|Publications

Our practice is brimming with ideas and energy and has been regularly acknowledged as a leader within our industry; winning multiple design awards whilst gaining broad recognition within the wider community.

In 2014 & 2020 the practice was honoured with NSW Architecture Awards in the residential categories, whilst in 2019 it was honoured with a NSW Architecture Commendation for heritage – each being one of the highest accolades possible for architecture in NSW.

In 2015 the practice was commended by Houses Magazine as one of Australia’s emerging architectural practices, whilst our work continues to be widely recognised, including exhibited at the 2014 Sydney Architecture Festival and regularly published in numerous books and magazines.

Demonstrating his high standing among his peers, in 2016 Andrew was selected as one of three jury members for the NSW Architects Awards, whilst in 2021 he was again selected as a jury member but elevated to the role of jury chair. Andrew has also regularly featured in Inside-Out magazine as the magazines expert architect providing advice to home owners. The magazine has a readership of over 190,000 people.

Our Team


Andrew Benn

B.Arch UNSW (hons 1)

Andrew Benn is a NSW registered architect and the Director of Benn + Penna Architecture. Andrew graduated from UNSW in 2001 with first class honours, and after numerous years working within some of the most highly regarded architectural offices in Australia and abroad, including the renowned Dutch office of UN Studio in Amsterdam, and the Sydney offices of Engelen Moore and BVN, he began his own practice in 2012.

From an early age, Andrew had an appreciation for both urban and natural environments, spending his childhood between Sydney’s Balmain, a working farm in the Hunter Valley, and his family’s holiday house in Pittwater. These experiences helped instil a love of natural beauty, the Australian countryside and coastline, combined with a fascination of dense urban environments and a particular interest in the simplicity and beauty of Australia’s early colonial architecture.

NSW Architect Registration Number: 8381


Rachel Allsop

M.Arch USYD

Rachel completed her undergraduate studies in Architecture in New Zealand. After moving permanently to Australia she graduated from the University of Sydney with a Masters of Architecture in 2010.

Prior to joining Benn + Penna, Rachel worked for over seven years at Vitale Architecture and Design. Rachel has a particularly strong eye for detail, with a holistic approach in combining architecture and interior design. Through her career Rachel has guided a wide range of highly detailed residential projects through all stages of building procurement, having a sound understanding of the design, documentation and communication required to complete projects.

NSW Architect Registration Number: 9681


Sean Tran

M.Arch UNSW (distinction)

Sean is a long term member of Benn + Penna, initially joining as a student in 2013. Sean graduated from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies in 2010 and a Masters of Architecture in 2014.

Sean’s talents in architecture have been recognised through receipt of the Australian Institute of Architects ‘Graduate of the Year’ award, and the University’s ‘Program Director’s Prize’ for the most outstanding graduate in the Bachelor of Architecture program.

Prior to joining Benn + Penna, Sean worked for BVN and Tribe Studio Architects. Through working within these practices, as well as Benn + Penna, Sean has gained experience in a wide range of public, cultural, commercial and domestic projects.


Ana Subotic

B.Des (Hons) UNSW M.Arch USyd

Ana is a NSW registered architect at Benn + Penna. Ana graduated from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies in 2012 and a Masters of Architecture from the University of Sydney in 2017.

With an inquisitive mind and broad range of interests in architecture, she has been awarded several commendations and scholarships; including the Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship and the University of Sydney Hezlet Bequest.

Prior to joining Benn & Penna, Ana worked for multiple highly regarded Sydney architectural practices, including Grimshaw Architects, SSD Studio and Aileen Sage Architects. Over the years she has gained experience working across a wide range of scales and project types, including educational, cultural, residential and multi-residential projects, as well as large scale master-planning studies.

NSW Architect Registration Number: 11365


Tyla Venish

B.Arch UNSW (Distinction)

Tyla is an architectural assistant at Benn + Penna Architects. Tyla graduated from the University of New South Wales in 2020 with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies, and is currently studying her Masters of Architecture at the University of New South Wales.

Prior to joining Benn & Penna, Tyla worked for a residential builder in Sydney for two years; Arc Projects. This experience working for a builder instilled a fascination for the junction between design and construction, and the capabilities of material specification to shine through in architectural designs.

Outside of work, Tyla has enjoyed taking the opportunity to study abroad, studying International Construction in China in 2018, and 'Street Life Studies' in Cambodia in 2020 through university scholarships.