The Fenwick Building

East Balmain, NSW

On the eastern headland of Balmain peninsula, the historic Fenwick Tugboat Store has been transformed for Inner West Council to revitalise the harbour foreshore. The importance of the 1880’s building as part of the working harbour is acknowledged throughout the this extensive restoration and adaptation project.

The building is now open to the public in its new guise as a cafe and gallery space. A dramatic new stair reconnects the two floors and brings light into the depths of the space, with a cleverly concealed commercial kitchen hidden in the undercroft behind the building. A new lift placed at a discrete distance from the original building creates connections to the adjacent foreshore park and ferry wharf. The building also provides new public amenities to serve both the cafe and gallery patrons and the general public.

The transformation of the Fenwick building takes an approach that respects and enhances the appreciation of the original building while creating the opportunity for the public to experience and appreciate a unique part of the harbour's working history.

2019 National Trust Award for Adaptive Reuse

Photography: Michael Nicholson