Archive | May, 2010

Driving down George Street in 1904

27 May

This is worth looking at- brilliant footage shot from on the top of a tram going down George Street in 1904. It’s very recognizable and yet very foreign. Heaps of pedestrians, no cars.

A 1906 bird’s eye view of George St, Sydney NSW. Cameraman takes his life into his own hands in perilous trip. Whoopee! National Film and Sound Archive Collection: Title No 106667.


Biennale Arts Exhibition opens in Sydney and it’s the best ever!

22 May

StreetCorner Staff 13/05/2010

If you have never been to a Biennale or have never heard of it before, this year is the time to take a look and to marvel at a truly globally recognised festival.

So what is the Biennale? Well its Australia’s largest contemporary visual arts event started in 1973. The exhibition is held only every two years in leading art venues and public sites, and is renowned for showcasing the freshest and most innovative contemporary art from Australia and around the world.

It’s always contentious and always evokes plenty of views, which are what Arts about. Love it, hate it, don’t get it… who cares just get along and make your own mind up.

Last night was the opening night and a 1000 people were invited to Cockatoo Island by ferry [which was a major challenge] to a gala party.

When you walk onto the Island its amazing to be on a disused industrial space for starters and then you walk into the main hanger and above you is 9 cars in motion and lit up like fireworks.

It was memorising and beautiful, and like most people I was spell bound gazing up all night.

The Biennale theme this year is THE BEAUTY OF DISTANCE: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, the exhibition presents more than 440 works by 166 artists and collaborators from 36 countries, making it the largest exhibition ever staged by the Biennale of Sydney in its 37-year history.

Located in the middle of Sydney Harbour, Cockatoo Island has by turns been a convict prison and ship dockyard. It is a major venue for the 17th Biennale of Sydney, featuring 120 artworks by 55 artists – many creating new works with the unique space in mind.

The Museum of Contemporary Art continues its relationship with the Biennale of Sydney as a major venue partner and in 2010 has given over its galleries to the exhibition. There are 286 works by 93 artists presented over four floors at the MCA.

There is also works at the Royal Botanic Gardens, The Art Gallery of NSW, Artspace, Pier 2-3 and The Sydney Opera House.

So get along ITS FREE and it’s on for 3 months.



163 Castlereagh Street- Sydney lost some heritage today

17 May

The former Angus and Son coachbuilders building was demolished today to make way for the entry area for the new Grocon / ANZ  high-rise tower at 163 Castlereagh Street.

The building last week, now demolished.  The demolition hoardings were being erected.  The building was the showroom for ‘Angus and Son, Motor Cars Carriages and Buggies’. Angus and Son were an important carriage maker at the turn of the century- they disappeared with the introduction of the imported motor car. This Edwardian building was built at the end of their power. The five arched windows were originally above doorways. The top floor was a large naturally lit showroom.

Above- a rather sketchy image from the Angus and Son catalogue, circa 1902.

Angus and Son coachbuilders were established in the mid nineteenth century. The catalogue was produced some 57 years after their establishment at the end of the horse drawn era and at the beginning of the motorised transport. The catalogue was produced to illustrate their leading and favourite types of horse drawn vehicles.

The Angus and Son catalogue is a 40 page booklet, stapled in the centre with a cardboard cover. The cover bears the title ‘Principal Depot and Show Rooms’, a photograph of the facade of the building and the address ‘165-167 Castlereagh Street (between Park and Market Streets) Sydney’. The building on the cover features the wording ‘Angus and Son, Motor Cars Carriages and Buggies’.

The catalogue is illustrated with photographs and line drawings of the types of horsedrawn vehicles available for purchase from the company. The drawings are accompanied by notes on specific features, prices and materials.

The future elevation, showing the public entry area to the new 46story, 188m 163 Castlereagh St office tower.

Also to be demolished, the striking Brutalist Greater Union Pitt Centre (along with “corduroy concrete” facade).

Heritage items on the site

163 Castlereagh Street's new “pedestrian street”

17 May

Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT) was awarded this landmark project following a ‘Design Excellence Competition’. In recognition of the specificity of the site and its inherent attributes, the design comprises a carefully articulated assembly of elements (groundplane, streetwalls, tower elements and landscape) to create a unique architectural form. The development gathers a significant sequence of refurbished heritage buildings, public open space and streetscapes into a cohesive environment. It incorporates an iconic roof feature that will capture and break light to provide a dramatic addition and everchanging expression to the city skyline. A key component is the enhancement of the public domain and provision of a new “pedestrian street” which will provide a valuable mid-block city link and connections to address the wider city environs.
This 5 Green Star sustainable 42-storey development provides in excess of 72,000sqm of premium grade office space, retail and basement car parking, and accordingly will be an important addition to the CBD.

The Pitt Street entry to the new “pedestrian street”

The Castlereagh side, showing the incorporation of heritage buildings.

Entering the site from the Castlereagh side.

The transition of levels in the interior space.

Images copyright-

The latest big thing- Grocon's 163 Castlereagh St

17 May

Work has just started on the demolition and excavation of the new 163 Castlereagh St tower to be built by Grocon (demolition Metropolitan).
The office tower will be 46story, 188m and will have an interesting public area at ground level. A number of heritage buildings are being refurbished for the site and one is being demolished (Angus and Son, as we speak).

The proposed Pitt Street facade. Architects for the project are Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT).

ANZ aims high in Martin Place exodus
Robert Harley and Ben Wilmot. Copyright AFR 25.09.08

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group is planning to move its Sydney headquarters off
Martin Place and into a new $900 million tower to be built by Sydney private developer John Boyd
Properties and aggressive UK construction giant Laing O’Rourke in the city’s mid-town precinct.
The ANZ, which is developing a huge campus-style headquarters in Melbourne’s Docklands, has
been examining the options for a shift from its ageing 20 Martin Place headquarters for several

The ANZ is believed to have given in principal approval yesterday to the shift from Martin Place to
163 Castlereagh Street, though neither the bank nor the developers would comment.

The move will reinforce the banking industry’s exit from Martin Place. And it is a coup for John Boyd
Properties and Laing O’Rourke at a time when the global financial crisis has curtailed the leasing
activity of many major corporations.

The 163 Castlereagh Street site covers almost half a hectare of older city buildings opposite the new
Sydney Hilton and close to Town Hall Station in a fast improving sector of the city.

The Boyd proposal for a three-sided, 44-storey tower with a lettable area of 57,000 square metres is
one of the largest in Sydney. The developer will target a five-star Green Star environmental rating,
but the building would have the capacity to move to six-star.

ANZ is expected to lease around 27,000 sq m in the tower, which could be completed by the end of

The bank’s move into the tower will also be crucial in the slow Sydney development market.
Relatively few financial services companies are looking for space in the wake of the market

In recent years, a number of the ANZ’s rivals have moved away from Martin Place.
Westpac shifted its headquarters from 60 Martin Place in Sydney to the purpose-built Westpac Place
in Sydney’s Kent Street.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has no plans to shift its headquarters from 48 Martin Place but
it will relinquish leased properties around the city after precommitting to the $560 million Darling
Walk development at Darling Harbour, being developed in a 50:50 joint venture with the Lend

Lease-managed Australian Prime Property Fund and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s Australian
arm, Harina. CBA has already taken about 51,000 sq m in Tower One of the Darling Park complex.
Laing O’Rourke started operating in Australia in 2004 and expanded with the purchase of
construction and services company Barclay Mowlem in 2006. It has since picked up major office
projects in Brisbane from Dexus Property Group and APH Capital Partners, as well infrastructure work
such as the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway, but the Sydney tower will be one of its most ambitious

Laing O’Rourke’s recently established Explore Development Funds Management is expected to
partner with Mr Boyd’s private group in developing the project in the first major deal to emerge from
the business.

Explore manages a closed-end, opportunistic development fund that is designed to work with the
group’s existing property development business and leverage third-party capital into development

Explore’s commitment is likely to assist in putting together a financing package – a key element in the
tower proceeding.

The progress of the Boyd site is being closely watched by the group’s rivals.


· The 163 Castlereagh Street site covers almost half a hectare.
· The plan is to build a 44-storey tower with a lettable area of 57,000 square metres.


Australia's "best" architecture- 2009 awards.

15 May

Here we have a collection of the same old tired 60s-70s forms going to the same old bunch of people. Enjoy!

01. The Robyn Boyd award for residential house architecture … Freshwater House, Harbord, NSW, designed by Chenchow Little Architects. Photo: John Gollings

02. National architecture award for residential house architecture … Zac’s House, Sorrento, Victoria, designed by Neeson Murcutt Architects. Photo: Brett Boardman

03. National architecture award for residential house architecture … Whale Beach House, Whale Beach, NSW, designed by Neeson Murcutt Architects. Photo: Brett Boardman

04. National commendation for residential house architecture … Arm End House, Opossum Bay, Tasmania, designed by Stuart Tanner Architects. Photo: Brett Boardman

05. The Frederick Romberg award for residential architecture (multiple housing) … Balencea Apartments, St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, VIC, designed by Wood Marsh Architecture in association with Sunland Design. Photo: Peter Bennetts

06. The national commendation for residential architecture (multiple housing) … Apartments in Cottesloe, WA, designed by Blane Brackenridge. Photo: Robert Frith

07. National award for small project architecture … Polygreen, Northcote, VIC, designed by Bellemo and Cat. Photo: Peter Hyatt

08. The Harry Seidler award for commercial architecture … The ivy hotel, Sydney, NSW, designed by Woods Bagot in collaboration with Merivale Group and Hecker Phelan and Guthrie. It also received a national award for urban design. Photo: Trevor Mein

09. National award for commercial architecture … Sussan and Sportgirl’s headquarters, Cremorne, VIC, designed by Durbach Block Architects. Photo: Patrick Bingham Hall

10. National award for commercial architecture … Bendigo Bank headquarters, Bendigo, VIC, designed by BVN Architecture and Gray Puksand. It also received a commendation for sustainable architecture. Photo: John Gollings

11. National commendation for commercial architecture … Warry Street Studio, Fortitude Valley, QLD, designed by HASSELL. Photo: Dianna Snape


Plan to close Sydney's George Street to traffic

8 May

PAUL TATNELL , May 6, 2010. SMH

Radical plans have been developed to close parts of one of Sydney’s busiest streets to cars and buses.

ABC Radio is reporting that City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore wants to make more of the CBD open only to pedestrians by banning vehicles from parts of George Street.

The ABC reported that details to make the city pedestrian friendly were contained in a draft memorandum of understanding between the NSW government and the council.

The mayor told ABC that the plan, which also includes light rail, was conceived in consultation with Danish urban design expert Professor Jan Gehl.

The idea to close off the busy road is included in Professor Gehl’s 2030 sustainability plan vision.

“[Professor Gehl] proposed that George Street could be the main boulevard linking Circular Quay, Town Hall and Central,” she said.

“[He said] it could be pedestrian friendly, it could have light rail and it could make it a much more pleasant experience for the over 600,000 people who are in our city each day.”

Cr Moore said today that only 15 per cent of visitors to the CBD arrived by car.

“Historically our city has prioritised cars over people and pedestrians are forced to crowd on to footpaths, put up with noisy and polluting traffic and wait to cross the road. This doesn’t help anybody – the financial sector, workers, residents, visitors or retailers,” she said.

“This plan is really about promoting the city and promoting the life of the city and it’s similar to what other cities like New York are doing around the world.”

The document obtained by the ABC said the NSW Transport Minister warned that banning cars from George Street “will create congestion at key choke points, particularly in peak hour”.

City of Sydney councillor Shayne Mallard said it was his understanding George Street would be closed between Bathurst Street and Circular Quay.

Cr Mallard, a Liberal Party member, said that councillors had not seen the document the ABC was quoting this morning.

“I am a supporter of excluding private vehicles [from George Street]. I signed up to the 2030 vision which Jan Gehl helped develop … and I believe it will enhance the CBD,” he said.

“Obviously there is, by memory, about 2000 private car spaces on George Street, which will have to be managed. The other big issue is the buses. If you ban private vehicles but have thousands of buses, it isn’t going to be successful.”

Cr Mallard said it was crucial any plan to close Sydney streets was matched with agreements to build light rail infrastructure.

He also expressed surprise at the timing of today’s revelations, saying the council had failed to convince several Labor premiers previously to sign up to the road closures.

“I just think it’s interesting that this government, which is in its death knell, now has a future vision for the city centre,” he said.

Cr Mallard said businesses would suffer “short-term pain” for “long-term gains” once George Street was closed.

A spokesman for NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell said the opposition would seek more details on the closures before it could comment on this morning’s revelations.

Calls for comment have been placed with Premier Kristina Keneally.

Sydney Business Chamber executive director Patricia Forsythe said greater pedestrian access could benefit city retailers but said the council must first consult the business community.

“There are significant issues for business that need to be resolved such as access to business by suppliers and couriers and access to workplaces by employees with disabilities, before this proposal proceeds,” she said.

“The business community is open-minded about proposals to change and improve the CBD experience but business needs more than air-brushed images of a car-free CBD.”

Closure could double number of shoppers: Gehl

The closure of George Street could double the number of shoppers in the CBD and stimulate the local economy, Professor Gehl said in Sydney today.

Professor Gehl said Sydney’s CBD is “people unfriendly” and “designed for automobiles” which “for 30 years have seen hardly any improvements”.

“The benefit [(of closing George Street] is twice as many customers,” he said.

“I was very surprised that only 40,000 pedestrians visit the CBD every day because any other city of this size would have 80,000 and why are there only 40,000? Well the footpaths are only three metres wide, and if you have wall-to-wall traffic next to you, which is very unpleasant, then you can’t expect more people to be there.

“On George Street there is such a racket of noise … whoever has been caught in traffic jams there in peak hours times knows it is not very pleasant to walk next to a traffic jam.”

Professor Gehl said Sydney, like many other cities around the world, had historically been focused on “keeping automobiles happy”.

But he said cities around the world were now embracing sustainability and healthy living, putting “people first” with car-friendly cities now “a thing of the past”.

New York, Vancouver, Copenhagen and Melbourne are major cities that have all closed busy city streets to cars with success.

Melbourne closed Swanston Street in its CBD to cars for years, with pedestrian numbers rising dramatically since parts of the road were made light rail only.

Without cars, Professor Gehl said, city centres become cleaner, quieter and attractive to shoppers and tourists.

“I have never been in the middle of the city [Sydney] when there are so many streets doing the same jobs. I would like them do to different jobs,” he said.

“[The proposed George Street closure] is not to take cars away, it is to improve conditions and to make it a much better main street, more of a promenade, to let people see the shops and to see what is going on.”


Reclaiming a city street by George 
Rhys Haynes From: The Daily Telegraph May 07, 2010

MORE than 600,000 pedestrians a day could reclaim the CBD in an ambitious plan to ban private cars from George St.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore yesterday made it clear that Sydney City Council was close to winning State Government support for the plan to make the centre of town a more pedestrian-friendly artery.

Private cars would be banned from George St between Bathurst and Market Sts and long term Ms Moore said she wanted to see George St closed all the way to Circular Quay.

The project will be considered by Cabinet next week and, if passed, a consultation process and trial would be put in place in the next two to three years, Ms Moore said.

NSW Premier Kristina Keneally said the plan was gaining momentum.

“We are finalising it right now and, once it is finalised, we will be able to release it,” she said yesterday.

City of Sydney councillor Shayne Mallard, a Liberal Party member, said councillors had not seen the final proposal but he supported the Sustainable Sydney 2030 Vision plan prepared by council two years ago.

“There is a lot of detail to be sorted out if this is to go ahead,” he said.

“We need to think about deliveries and couriers and access to private or office garages and how we are going to service the major hotels.

“We also have to make sure we don’t end up with too many buses on George St. I support the 2030 Vision project – there are 600,000 people on foot in the city every day and their engagement with the city will be greatly enhanced if this goes ahead.”

Pedestrian Council chairman Harold Scruby yesterday said the high cost of retail space in nearby Pitt St mall proved the plan would work.

“People don’t predominantly shop or do business in cars. Any city in the world that has put pedestrians first has flourished,” he said.

“We like the sound of it. We know the massive amount of pedestrian traffic they have up Pitt St and we’d like to see more of it,” said RM Williams worker Eric Williams.

Patricia Forsythe from the Sydney Chamber of Commerce said businesses would need to be consulted.

“There are significant issues for business that need to be resolved, such as access to business by suppliers and couriers and access to workplaces by employees with disabilities, before this proposal proceeds,” she said.

“The business community is open-minded about proposals to change and improve the CBD experience, but business needs more than air-brushed images of a car-free CBD.

“It’s important that we have a clear master plan that includes the management of cross-city traffic.”

The project would probably start with weekend trials to iron out major congestion issues, Ms Moore said.