Carter Williamson Architects

Truss House

Balmain, 2016.

2017 AIA Award for New Houses – Shortlist
2017 Houses Award for Heritage – Shortlist
2017 Inner West Council Award for Sustainable Buildings – Shortlist

Shaun Carter
Patrick Fitzgerald
Lisa Merkesteyn

Landscape: Melissa Wilson Landscape Architect
Engineer: Cantilever Consulting Engineers
Photographer: Brett Boardman


The Truss House is a new building embedded with a memory of the site’s former industrial past through the re-use of salvaged roof trusses. They create a new pitched skillion roof form, celebrating the exposed structure as an integral part of the character. The material palette nods to the existing timber mill building in its use of recycled brick walls, corrugated roof sheeting, concrete floors, and details,

Truss House playfully reinterprets the traditional terrace house. It unlocks spatial and structural capacity by revealing the traditional truss roof form internally and also a playful inversion at the rear to form a modern skillion profile. It programmatically places the public room to the front and the private areas upstairs.   

Truss House is sympathetic to its context, stepping down in height with the fall in the site and scaling down not only along its length but also as an element in the composition of Beattie St. The house is an important mediator in form and size between the adjacent Factory residence and the neighbouring residence on the site’s western boundary.

The form of the steel truss roof serves as an opportunity for high level windows along the length of the home, to allow diffuse light in and glimpses of passing clouds in the sky and tree tops, providing amenity whilst maintaining privacy. Rear windows are hooded with operable shutters to protect the glazing, to control light and to maintain privacy.

The living rooms of the house incorporate large windows and doors that open to embrace beautifully landscaped gardens and courtyards that provide a range of outdoor spaces to be enjoyed by occupants.

Truss House serves as an example of breathing new life into what would’ve been thrown out before its life-span. It is an idiosyncratic reinvention of the Antipodean terrace.