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 studio's 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 Stratford and Sean Tran who are each involved across the offices 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 the practice was honoured with a NSW Architecture Award for its Balmain Houses – one of the highest accolades possible for architecture in NSW, whilst our Southern Highlands House and Glebe Red House were more recently shortlisted in the NSW Architecture Awards. In 2018 our Glebe Red House and Balmain Rock House each won Master Builder Awards in their respective categories - being the highest accolade possible within the NSW construction industry.

In 2015 the practice was shortlisted by Houses Magazine as one of Australia’s emerging architectural practices, whilst our work continues to be widely published including exhibitions at the 2014 Sydney Architecture Festival, along with numerous books and magazines, and recently on Channel 7’s Better Homes & Gardens.

Demonstrating his high standing among his peers, in 2016 Andrew was selected as a Juror member for the Australian Institute of Architects Awards. Andrew also regularly features 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 Stratford

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 and 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. Throughout 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 a project. Rachel drew on this complete project knowledge to gain NSW Registration as an Architect in 2013.


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.


Pouwel Wind

M.Arch UNSW (distinction)

Pouwel studied at the University of New South Wales graduating with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies in 2010 and a Masters of Architecture in 2013. Prior to joining Benn & Penna, Pouwel worked for other highly regarded Sydney architectural practices including BVN, Akin Atelier and Marston Architects. Working in these different offices he has been involved in a wide range of projects of different scales and typologies eventually shifting his focus to more intricately scale residential projects.

Pouwel enjoys all stages of the design process and the challenges involved, from concept development through to working closely with the builder on site to deliver a detailed project.


Tany Tan

B.Arch UNSW

Tany is an architectural assistant at Benn & Penna Architects. She is also currently studying and teaching at the University of New South Wales, learning from the older generation while mentoring future architects with her passion for design.

Prior to working at Benn & Penna, Tany has gained experience working at several leading architectural practices, including Neeson Murcutt Architects and Marston Architects, and has been heavily involved in the design and development of various private and public projects.

In her spare time, Tany aspires to inspire and be inspired by the world around her. She enjoys creating with her paint brush and sewing needle as well as being involved in extracurricular events about art and architecture.