Carter Williamson Architects

Punch Park Amenities

Balmain, 2019

2019 NSW Architecture Awards, Small Projects – Commendation
2019 Australian Institute of Architecture, Small Projects – Shortlist

Design Team:
Shaun Carter
Stephanie Chiu

Landscape: Melissa Wilson Landscape Architect
Engineer: Cardno
Photographer: Brett Boardman


Punch Park Amenities services multiple facets of Punch Park, from tennis players, young children and parents using the playground, to early morning dog walkers. As such, Punch Park Amenities is a small and public building designed to service the multi-faceted residents and visitors to the park.

White sliding gates on three sides of Punch Park Amenities open up the multiple entries of the building to the different users of the park. These gates are functional, allowing the block to be locked up overnight as they are strong and robust enough to take the rigors of being a public building. Notionally, these gates are ephemeral, sliding smoothly across the exterior of the building, allowing Punch Park Amenities to sit as a pavilion, mediating between park and tennis courts. This unique spatial planning approach diffuses disruption of park users, allowing as many permutations ease of access to the amenities no matter from which way the building is approached.

In materiality and colour, Punch Park Amenities is as inviting as possible, clad in Australian federation style weatherboards, a further nod to the buildings deeply Australian history. In exterior, Punch Park Amenities stark white colourway is smooth and inviting, complimented by the pale pink interior, a calming environment complimenting the pure exterior. This combination of colour and materiality is clearly reflected in the heritage homes of Balmain, ensuring Punch Park Amenities not only pays respect to its formerly historic working-class suburb, but blends into the Australian environment.

Public amenities are often plagued by an intense lack of natural light, creating dark, dank environments. We strove to create the opposite, placing a south-facing light cannon to capture natural morning light, drawing it into the space, illuminated off the pastel pink tiles.

The psychological approach of designing a public building also played a large role in the design. Punch Park’s colourway draws on traditional modernist principles of hygiene and purity, which in turn creates a calm and safe environment. In appearance, whilst Punch Park Amenities is a starkly contemporary building, through its form and materiality it pays respect to Balmain, even to an extent paying homage to neighbouring heritage homes.

Featuring a twin communal washbasin outside the toilet, this addition perfectly complements the park, allowing anyone to use it. We sourced the washbasin from a nearby, now-defunct drycleaner, the stone basin an example of the approach of adaptive re-use which marques Punch Park Amenities as an example of considered, sustainable design.

Adjacent to the building sits a large corrugated water tank, collecting rainwater from the roof of both Punch Park Amenities and the nearby tennis stands simultaneously. This water is then used to water nearby gardens and flush the toilet in Punch Park Amenities.

Punch Park Amenities is an example of how a project with a limited brief and budget can benefit from good design to deliver the broadest public benefit possible.