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buildings news in sydney, new south wales, australia

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Bridge building see more

A great 2007 doco is on ABC iView, until June 14th, on the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Design plagiarism, kidnap attempts, fascists on horses, bank robbing… it’s exhausting.

06.06.11 in buildings 


I missed this, where do we access thi snow?

by Carol on 19 June 11 ·#

Here: http://shop.abc.net.au/browse/product.asp?productid=744048

by peter on 20 June 11 ·#

page listing related:   in  Australia   New South Wales   Sydney  

Lift to view see more open website in same window

OK, so you’ve paid $32M for a site in Point Piper, but it’s not on the sea side of the road, and its pretty damn steep. First thing to do is clear the existing historic mansion. Next, build a new one. Then build a Bat Cave, but swap the bat poles for a bat lift.

Et voila, Wayne Manor.



05.01.11 in buildings weird-wonderful


$152M on trucks and lifts see more open website in same window

opera house trucks

NSW Premier Kristina Keneally yesterday announced that new tunnels for trucks would be constructed under the Sydney Opera House forecourt, and new lifts to service them. The aim is to prevent further tangles between tourists and heavy traffic in front of the building – there is an incident once every five days on average.

“The work that we are announcing today … will remove those heavy vehicles from the forecourt, it will make this building what [architect Jorn Utzon] imaged [sic] that it would be.” ( ABC )

That’s wishful thinking. The renovations required to complete Utzon’s interior designs are currently estimated at $800M. The opera house doesn’t expect this any time soon, and is just trying to get its hand on $50M to update ageing stage machinery.

Nevermind, the punters are more interested in the food:

07.06.10 in buildings 

Architect / protaganist: Sydney Opera House


Isn’t this an expensive price to pay to fixup the Opera House? Perhaps the Government should get a second opinion and a second quote…

by Eli on 15 June 10 ·#

Where does the estimate of $800M come from? There are a lot of estimates floating around for the full upgrade of the Opera Theatre but this exceeds any I have heard.

by Philip Nobis on 1 July 10 ·#

page listing related:   in  Australia   New South Wales   Sydney  

Opera House's bad vibe see more

Otto Bartning

Philippe Mora has written a meandering long piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, accusing Jorn Utzon of plagiarism, for not name-checking Otto Bartning’s 1922 Sternkirche design . He then notes that Utzon’s mentor was Alvar Aalto, a “straight-out Nazi collaborator”. Speaking of which, Gropius and van der Rohe were apparently into “Nazi modernism” for a while too. Then there is Utzon’s own Nazi-induced love of South American ruins:

“Architecture for the masses was a Nazi theme. Speer made references to making buildings that would be good-looking ruins. Speer thus invented a theory of Ruin Value . Utzon later parroted this in a postcard to his assistant, Bill Wheatland: “Went to Yucatan. The ruins are wonderful so why worry. Sydney Opera House becomes a ruin one day.” It is reasonable to speculate that Utzon champion and Opera house competition judge Eero Saarinen, a World War II veteran of the US Office of Strategic Services (which later became the CIA), no doubt fully aware of the Nazi aspects, briefed Utzon on what was politically correct at the time to disclose or not.”

“So it is not surprising that Utzon never mentioned any of this complex history back in 1957 or later.”


Anyway, just to be on the safe side, when you design something, credit everyone in your library except the Nazis.

SMH reports Mora article as news
Aalto’s trip to Wannsee
Albert Speer and the Fascist Theory of Ruins

14.03.10 in buildings 


wot an erudite fcuker. must have wore out his fingers ringing up his dad’s old architect and his brothers development consultant doing the research 2. explains why the morars vandalised j+s reeds pre heide holiday house at haspendale. j. mcglashin musta been a nazi using those german windas so it wos deserved?

by hairdresser on 14 March 10 ·#

East Darling Harbour 2010 see more open website in same window

east darling harbour

Looks like Mr Keating got what he was after. The winning EOI to design and build Barangaroo Stage 1 (East Darling Harbour) goes to Lend Lease (for $6B). It looks a lot like we thought it would, with the Hill Thalis scheme fading into the background as megatowers strut out into the harbour, adding another 15% in leasable area to the previous scheme. The distinctive 1.2 km line along the western edge of the East Darling Harbour site is relegated to history as a make believe natural coastline takes its place.

Phillip Thalis, on Fairfax Video is furious. “This is Sydney at its worst, at its most typical… they’ve sold out the public interest.”

The EOIs were ranked using the following evaluation criteria:
Design 35%, Financial Return and Risk 35%, Sustainability 10%, Delivery and Planning 10%, Marketing and Promotions 5%, Capability 5%.

The intensively used park area is dominated by an oval covered in a framework that bears some resemblance to Gehry’s Priztker Park in Chicago.


Gehry in Chicago

Lastly, a typical view away from the water.
back street

Gotta say, while I don’t have much time for the new Barangaroo, those renders are pretty incredible. Wonder how much they were? The movie file is bloody huge, beware.

Hon. Paul Keating, chair of the Design Excellence Review Panel (centre)

Just found this at ADR .

Richard Rogers on his masterplan for Lend Lease: “The composed architectural massing of Barangaroo’s contemporary and inclusive buildings will be juxtaposed with the adjacent natural headland and Northern Cove. The natural landscape of Sydney Harbour will be complemented by these dynamic and sculptural forms on the city’s western corner, and together with the public waterfront places and promenade will all form a new landmark for the city.”

Phillip Thalis has questioned the State Government’s claim that 50% of Barangaroo will remain “public”. Barangaroo advisor Chris Johnstone has returned fire by calling Thalis’ idea of defined public space “almost naive” and “simplistic”. The SMH then writes, “And by rigidly defining public space, public areas such as cafe seating, hotel foyers and even supermarkets were excluded.” As you’d hope? It’s hard to tell whether the SMH attributes these last comments to Chris Johnstone, or has extrapolated away from them. Is the Barangaroo Authorty including retail floor area in its public space calculations? At the moment it is hard to tell – detailed plans are not available. Be bloody cheeky if they were.

One of the reasons the (traditionally defined) public space has decreased so much is that it is being carted off in trucks to who knows where, so that water can reclaim the site. Maybe they could try calling the new areas of water public space too.
I got that wrong. According to Thalis, that is exactly what they are doing already – its called “water public domain”.

23.12.09 in buildings 


Looky looky here – An architect who can;t draw, an x-prime minister who can’t see past himself, and a pointless premier with no mind. Only in Sydney.

by luke on 13 January 10 ·#

also a very mexican scenario.
St. Killed Her Triangle for instance.
Crown Land, (public land some would say), but with “tricky” conditions that it was argued defined use….as…. Shopping Mall…. = public space, the answer from architects who only draw?, an X Planning Minister who couldn’t plan?, and an X mayor who could see past himself by looking backwards.

by hairdresser on 15 January 10 ·#

Super Colossal stumbled across an old un-published book by MVRDV. Uncanny resemblances.

by peter on 14 March 10 ·#

Hillman House see more

Findlay Avenue

The letter writers are noisy in Sydney’s Northern burbs right now, protesting that an interior designer should be able to alter her own home’s interior. Willoughby council doesn’t agree, as the 1947 Hillman House is a relatively intact Henry Epstein with built in furniture by Paul Kafka. It is listed as a local heritage “item”.

“I can’t be expected to live like people did 50 years ago, stuck in a tiny little kitchen like a housewife from the 60s.” Jennie Clarke, the interior designer, says she asked council before she bought it if she could alter the veneered innards, and was informed that she could. Someone else has already had a go, according to a DocoMomo report on the house, which tells us that all of Kafka’s built-in furniture was removed in recent years, “under cover of darkness”. This is incorrect, only the loose furniture was removed. ICOMOS describes just how much built-in furniture there is…

“Epstein designed an extensive range of built-in furniture for the house which Kafka carried out with extreme skill. Kafka’s June 1950 invoice to the Hillmans records furniture for virtually every room of the house, including beds, wardrobes, bookshelves, a cocktail cabinet, table and chairs. His work blurred the distinction between furniture and architecture in that he also made the staircase, wallpanelling, windowsills, and a mantelpiece.”

In its July determination, council wrote, “The removal of further Kafka furniture will adversely affect the significance of the heritage item to the extent that the custom designed interiors are no longer apparent. The fundamental change in the planning of discreet yet related rooms into a free flowing plan, while Modernist, is not characteristic of this Epstein house. As such, the removal of built-in Kafka furniture and its surrounding walls cannot be supported.”

DocoMomo profile of Hillman House
ICOMOS on Sydney Migrant Architects
Willoughby Council determination July 2009
Paul Kafka at the Powerhouse

40 Findlay Avenue

19.12.09 in buildings heritage


Frank Gehry wows UTS see more open website in same window

In case you hadn’t heard, UTS recently announced Californian celebrity architect Frank Gehry as the architect for the new Faculty of Business building in Ultimo. They’re obviously not trying to make friends with the local architectural fratenity. UTS are delighted and sound as if they’ve won the jackpot. The 80 year old legend, who has just been in town on a flying visit, declined to comment due to a tummy bug.

Professor Ross Milbourne, Vice-Chancellor and President of UTS, waxes: “We sought out Frank Gehry because his work so brilliantly reflects the nexus between creativity and technology that embodies the innovative thinking so characteristic of UTS… This once in a lifetime opportunity offers the University a chance to build something extraordinary as part of our Campus Master Plan”. He was the only man for this “destination” building it appears.

The SMH tells us he was chosen thanks to his Stata Centre for MIT, recently listed on Fast Company’s Architectural Blooper list, due to that lawsuit beat up .

Stata centre by Frank Gehry

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chanc/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It must have taken some convincing for the bean counters at UTS to approve this. Their procurement policy states that any consultancy worth over $300,000 should go to an open tender. In a list of exceptional circumstances when a “sole source” may be employed, only one situation has any relevance: “Relating to unique items such as works of art”.

Perhaps it might be for marketing value more than artistic value? No word yet on the lucky documentation house that will have the task of interpreting Gehry’s complexities into a building.


11.12.09 in buildings 

Architect / protaganist: Gehry Partners


got to love sydney. could be good —- or could be bad but at least the town don’t wear boots.

by hairdresser on 12 December 09 ·#

seems reasonable – historically, Sydney needs to import ideas

by luke on 21 December 09 ·#

Clover Moore and the Cancer Centre see more open website in same window

click for larger

You’ve probably seen around the net news that the City of Sydney has submitted an “alternate” plan for the Garvan St Vincent’s Cancer Centre and UNSW Virology Centre in Darlinghurst, Sydney. This is an area familiar to most Sydneysiders as one happily littered with small houses and eateries. The CoS thinks the new buildings are too big and are advocating that they be made smaller by leaving out the UNSW Virology Centre and stepping back a lower Cancer Centre from the street frontages.

The BVN design for the Garvan Institute is admitedly massive for the site and locale. There are no available architectural renders for the Daryl Jackdon + Robin Dyke UNSW Virology Centre, though it looks pretty bloody big in the massing model further down.

BVN cancer centre
BVN render from Victoria Street – North.

BVN cancer centre
BVN render from Victoria Street – South.

Councils are normally hamstrung and hand-wringing in such situations, as the approval for major projects comes not from them but from the state government. Still it is unheard of (I may be wrong) for a council to submit an alternative proposal.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore has spoken out about the designs, saying they disobey a 2005 masterplan, are excessive, have too many carparks, and fail to meet sustainability benchmarks. The CoS submission states that the overshadowing diagrams “lack credibility”.

Massing montages of the West Street proposal for the UNSW Virology Centre follow.

City of Sydney submission cancer centre
Urbis + DJ massing model from West Street.

CoS submission - cancer centre
CoS’s prefered mass from Victoria Street.

View Larger Map
What’s there at the moment.

Looking at the apparently credibility-lacking shadow diagrams, I wonder how BVN could have made them any harder on themselves. Here is the June 21 9a.m. diagram, casting shadow over a cafe-strewn area currently bathed in morning sunlight.

BVN shadow diagram
BVN shadow diagram drawn 24th April, 2009.

The following is from the series that Clover believes lack credibility. The orange smudges represent new shadows, and are pretty thin on the ground. The sites slope to the East and there are other tall buildings in the vicinity, so it is hard to verify the diagrams. But why would they be faked?

urbis shadow diagram
Urbis shadow diagram for both buildings, June 21, 3p.m.

Arup’s ESD report for the BVN proposal ( PDF ) is dotted with escape phrases such as “will consider” and “will investigate”, but does (more or less) commit to being in the top 25% when gauged against the American Labs 21 benchmark. It doesn’t refer to any particular architectural innovations on the ESD front, but perhaps that is a big ask of a tightly-packed laboratory building.

Please comment below if you know anything more or have an opinion on this complex affair. Should St Vincents be allowed to gobble up Darlinghurst or should new buildings step down to a scale more in tune with the neighbourhood? Has Clover stepped out of bounds, or did someone need to? Should the architects just fill the envelope given to them, or question it?

30.08.09 in buildings planning


As a non architect, I dislike the idea of councils or politicians commenting on work that is not designed for or paid for by them. Councils restrict new design enough- any more and there will be no innovation. We’ll end up with bland boxes that fulfill size criteria, and hide from their surroundings. But in Darlinghurst etc the surroundings are not that great- the “heritage” is really just old- so some change would be welcome?

by will on 31 August 09 ·#

The practice of councils doing their own work is more common than you would think. I was the Senior Urban Designer at the CoS for 3 years & when there are the resources to do this, councillors feel more empowered to push against proposals that are submitted by applicants. I’ve also had councils commission other architects to come up with alternatives for my own design work (Hunters Hill) which I find an even greater irregularity. There is a great deal of suspicion about the accuracy of design proposals especially when it comes to mass and sun-shading impacts. Sometimes its warranted but mostly its designed to give the politicians some leverage over the work & be seen to be actively meeting their constituents’ interests. What is discouraging is that the people making these critical assumptions are working to a reactive political framework rather than one that is design led.

by stove on 1 September 09 ·#

The first picture looks uncannily similar to the new Myer building at Melbourne Docklands. Then the second photo looks like it accidentally collided with Hosies Hotel. 1950s architects would be immensely satisfied that their somewhat ideas are being resurrected half a century later.

by Sean on 2 September 09 ·#

I think it is fine if council’s put up alternative proposals if it adds to the debate on a contentious development. In this case there was widespread community opposition to a massive building that materially impacted the adjoining urban environment. The proposal violated an earlier masterplan that the community had pushed for to get certainty over development forms – and which was presented to the community but was not submitted for approval with the State government. The end result is a hodge bodge of buildings with massive density, poor intergration with adjacent areas, and significant environmental impacts. The CoS proposal highlighted an alternative that needed to be articulated on behalf of the community given the tick a box approach to community consultation adopted by the applicant.

by Blake on 22 December 11 ·#

UTS docs posted see more open website in same window

The jury report for the UTS Broadway competition, won by DCM, is now available online.

Lacoste + Stevenson Architects and Six Degrees in association with Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke

Lacoste + Stevenson Architects and Six Degrees in association with Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke

2nd stage submission by Lacoste + Stevenson Architects and Six Degrees
in association with Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke

Tip: SKO’G

17.08.09 in buildings competitions


page listing related:   in  Australia   New South Wales   Sydney  

DCM UTS pics and plans see more open website in same window


05.08.09 in buildings 

Architect / protaganist: Denton Corker Marshall [DCM]


page listing related:   in  Australia   New South Wales   Sydney  

Shields and gills see more open website in same window

Ah.. here is a render of the DCM UTS Broadway building (see previous article ).
Can’t tell very much from this, but everyone the SMH spoke to says it’s very good.

Design jury chairman Graham Jahn: ‘It’s a surprising and artistic contribution. Over time it will be enigmatic and timeless,’’

UTS broadway DCM

Via johndemanicor @ twitter

01.08.09 in buildings 

Architect / protaganist: Denton Corker Marshall [DCM]


page listing related:   in  Australia   New South Wales   Sydney  

Scorched see more open website in same window

Does Google know something we don’t about the Supreme Court building in Sydney?

View Larger Map

01.08.09 in buildings weird-wonderful

Architect / protaganist: Supreme Court, Sydney


falling arches see more open website in same window

guilford bell at vaucluse

The Packers purchased a 1970s Guilford Bell house in The Vaucluse, Sydney, last month. For a rumoured $18M. The Sydney Morning Herald, along with the neighbours, reckon they will demolish and rebuild before setting up camp. Why? Well it’s so… 1970s. When the Woolhara Council proposed a heritage listing in 2006, the then owner’s valuer argued that it would lower the value of the property by $4M. Apparently the colonnade is very out of fashion.

Sale listing with photos

40 Wentworth Road
The Vaucluse

26.07.09 in buildings heritage


Sydney Opera House see more open website in same window

SOH – The Guardian (UK) had a major feature on Sydney’s Opera House last week, as part of it’s Great Modern Buildings series. It includes Utzon’s first interview after his departure from the project, and a short homage by Thomas Keneally.

20.10.07 in buildings 

Architect / protaganist: Jørn Utzon - Utzon Centre

comments closed

page listing related:   in  australia   new south wales   Sydney  

Opera House ups and downs see more open website in same window

30.06.07 – The Opera House has just made it onto the World Heritage List, so that’s good.

ABC 28.06.07

The SOH has also made the top 21 list of man-made structures – but is likely to be ‘evicted’ by telephone voting from the final Seven Wonders of the modern world! Not so good. If you want to cast your vote or see the shortlist, go here . The winners will be announced to great fanfare in Lisbon next week, with many faded luminaries in attendance – Chaka Khan even.

THE AGE 30.06.07

30.06.07 in buildings heritage

Architect / protaganist: Sydney Opera House

comments closed

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