Archive | October, 2010

Westfield Sydney is Open- Sydney's CBD puts on the glitz

28 Oct

Paul Tatnell  October 28, 2010
It cost $1.2 billion to build, caused traffic chaos and only half of the shops are trading, but Westfield opened its glitzy new superstore in Sydney’s CBD today.

The Pitt Street complex is still being finished, but more than 100 shoppers were lining up this morning to get a first look.

Before long, thousands more walked through the doors.

The seven-storey complex includes a number of high-end fashion and dining options.

Clover Moore (in wheelchair!!) and Steven Lowy at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Clover made reference to the contentious bridges, and referred to Westfield “having its way” with the city council.

Most businesses this morning were putting the final touches to their stores.

But the European fashion shop that appeared to be causing the most shopper interest, Zara, remained closed.

Westfield chief executive Steven Lowy said the complex was opening six months ahead of schedule, with the company keen to catch the Christmas market.

He believed Westfield would complement rival stores David Jones and Myer.

Shopper reaction was mostly positive following the opening.

Jane, from Newcastle, said the layout and design were impressive.

“I like it, it looks very beautiful and has lots of new [shop] ideas,” she said.

“I like the number of different shops too, and [swimwear shop] Tigerlily was great.”

Waterloo resident Helen agreed the centre was exciting, but was eagerly awaiting the opening of Zara.

“I like the lounge area, and I’m really looking forward to Zara too,” she said.

Nick, a Surry Hills resident and city worker, said the new complex “was almost too glitzy”.

“We were just saying it appeared to be a bit bright, a bit too glitzy, but there is an impressive range of shops of good calibre,” he said.

“But, yeah, it was probably needed, everything was looking a bit tired.”

Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore welcomed the investment in the city, calling the complex “beautiful”.


Westfield Sydney- Don't panic, boys, but we're due to open in three days

25 Oct

Tim Barlass SMH October 24, 2010

‘‘All under control’’ … workers at the Westfield City site during the week. Westfield Australia managing director Robert Jordan says the centre is on target to open on Thursday.

Photo: Anthony Johnson

A 1000-STRONG army of tradespeople is working around the clock to complete the $1.2 billion Westfield Sydney complex in Pitt Street.

The retail heart of Sydney is due to emerge from its cocoon of scaffolding and dust, after two years of construction, at 9.30am on Thursday.

But last week, when The Sun-Herald photographed the site, not one of the 130 shops had a name on its frontage, any stock or even shelves to put it on.

Westfield Australia managing director Robert Jordan seemed relaxed about the timetable.

”I am sleeping just fine,” he said.

”I have seen the progress over the last few weeks and it is all under control. Trust me.”

The site has thrown up some challenges. Construction has gone on under the watchful eyes of Myer and David Jones on either side, without compromising the stability of the 50-metre Sydney Tower rising above the site.

But it’s no ordinary shopping centre. In June, it was rated the ninth most expensive retail space in the world, up there with Fifth Avenue and the Champs-Elysees. The retail strip, which is expecting a huge boost in the number of shoppers once Westfield opens, commands an average rent of $6000 a square metre a year. The 130 retailers in stage one of the opening include Gucci, Hugo Boss, Stuart Weitzman and some brands that are new in Sydney: Gap, Mulberry and DKNY Jeans.

Shoppers will be encouraged to dine, with outlets such as the gourmet burger shop Charlie & Co, to be opened by Becasse chef Justin North. Jason McVicar, general manager of stores operations at David Jones, which has five pedestrian links to Westfield, said the complex would help make the CBD an international destination.

”Some great international retailers will offer another part to the mix for the people of Sydney.”


Sydney Statues: Project!

20 Oct

Sydney Statues Project

01- Queen Victoria – Queens Square – Designed by Linda Jackson

02- Prince Albert – Macquarie Street – Designed by Jonathan James as inspired by Jenny Kee and Peter Tulley

03- Captain Cook – Hyde Park South – Designed by Ken Done, Bronwyn Bancroft and Eloise Rapp with Michelle McCosker

04- Queen Victoria – Queen Victoria Building Plaza, George & Druitt Streets – Designed by Rachael Cassar, Liane Rossler with Michelle McCosker

05- Il Porcellino – Sydney Hospital, Macquarie Street – Zoe Mahony

06- Shakespeare Memorial – Shakespeare Place – Susie Rugg with Spoke & Spool

07- Edward VII – Macquarie & Bridge Streets – Bronwyn Bancroft with Michelle McCosker

08- William Bede Dalley – Hyde Park North – Bianca Faye with Michelle McCosker

Sydney Statues: Project!
18 September 2010

Ken Done has re-interpreted Captain Cook, Linda Jackson has re-dressed Queen Victoria, renowned Indigenous artist Bronwyn Bancroft has revitalized Edward VII, Jenny Kee has inspired a renewed Prince Albert and Dinosaur Designs’ Liane Rossler has re-awakened a second Queen Victoria sculpture.

Eight of the city’s most recognised public art statues are getting a makeover for a new audience by 12 iconic and contemporary Australian artists, as part of Sydney Statues: Project!

With Sydney as a canvas, this innovative project is part of the City of Sydney’s ninth annual public arts festival Art & About Sydney 2010, which celebrates the power of creativity in unexpected spaces.

Through their creations, artists will be re-interpreting traditional sculptures, allowing people to rediscover the statues themselves. This creative multi arts project will renew interest in the City’s sculptures and their history.

“I’m very pleased to have been asked to be part of this project.  It’s creative, bright and a lot of fun, just what Sydney should stand for,” said renowned artist Ken Done.

Creative Director Michelle McCosker and The Occasional Collective have collaborated with established and emerging artists and textile designers to re-interpret these traditional statues with new clothing and accessories. The outfits are full of symbols which draw attention to the social, cultural and political history associated with these public art sculptures.

“There are so many stories to tell in this exciting project,” said Ms McCosker. “The lives of the people depicted, what Sydney was like when they were installed, and the artists who created them. There are also lots of references to Sydney’s colourful art/clothing movement of the 70’s and 80’s which has inspired the project,” said Ms McCosker.

Working in collaboration with The History Council of NSW, Heritage NSW, International Conservation Services and the City of Sydney Heritage and History Teams, Sydney Statues: Project! is using art to reinterpret history and engage a contemporary audience.

“The History Council would like to congratulate the artists who have taken part in this exciting venture. One of our key aims is to raise awareness of history and this project is an innovative and exciting way of doing that,” said Mark Dunn, President History Council of NSW.

“Through consultation with the History Council of NSW, Heritage NSW, International Conservation Services and the City of Sydney Heritage and History Teams, the project team are reinterpreting these statues while remaining respectful to their history and heritage. We look forward to the public engagement and discussion on the role of memorials and statues in shaping public understanding about the past,” added Mr Dunn.

Be sure to visit the following public art statues which are being made over by celebrated Australian artists as part of Sydney Statues: Project!

Sydney suffering 'short building syndrome' say planners who call for higher towers

20 Oct

By Vikki Campion, Daily Telegraph  September 29, 2010

Sydney towers don’t measure up
Sydney “needs to be taller like other capitals”
Small buildings “affects global relevance”

The Gold Coast’s Q1 apartment building is the world’s tallest residential tower at 323m.

ARCHITECTS and planners want higher towers at the Barangaroo redevelopment to prevent Sydney from becoming a short city. Sydney has only one of the 10 tallest buildings in Australia – beaten by Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Perth to 10th place – with the 18-year-old Chifley tower up to 25 storeys shorter than its rivals.

Sydney’s Chifley Tower is the ninth tallest building in Australia at 244m

Small-building syndrome has led to calls for the height of buildings at Barangaroo – which were slashed by 53m to 235m – to be reinstated.

Calls for taller towers at Barangaroo have divided Sydney, with at least 100 of the 202 submissions on the development against view-blocking towers.
Master planner Lord Richard Rogers said plans for the harbourside had to be bold to position Sydney among the truly great cities of the world.

“I’ve been visiting Sydney for 25 years and I know this is a confident city with an extraordinary future. It should not be held back from achieving greatness,” he said.

Conrad Grah of Pyrmont called for Barangaroo to be enhanced more with taller and bolder towers that state “Sydney is still the place”, while Basil Lee of St Leonards said “heights pale in comparison to Melbourne”.

“My only regret is that it is not bigger and more iconic than it already is,” Andrew Li of Cherrybrook said.

“[Opponents’] wishes are selfish, a true reflection of the sad NIMBYism that holds our city back.”

At least 100 submissions against Barangaroo came from residents complaining views would be lost.

“We will go from living in a village to being hemmed in at all sides by an overgrown concrete jungle,” Jonathon Rubinsztein said.

Former NSW Government architect Chris Johnston said NIMBYs were addicted to Sydney’s colonial past and its sandstone Parisian character.

“The only way Sydney is going to remain globally relevant is to go up,” he said. “There is a growing number of urban people who like the energy of the city. People who protest are not connected to the vitality of urban cities.”

Building heights in the CBD are pegged at about 60 storeys, just 7m higher than MLC Tower.

Sydney’s tallest structure Centrepoint Tower, at 305m tall, would not be allowed today – its observation tower will forever be the highest viewpoint in the city.

Until 1967, the tallest construction in Sydney was the Harbour Bridge, which is 134m high.
Read more:


It’s a two-minute ride to the top of the recently completed Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at 828m the world’s tallest building / AFP

Petronas was edged out by Taipei 101 in Taiwan, soaring to 509m. For $NT400 (about $14), the 89th floor offers views right across the city to the mountains / Flickr user (Debug)

In 1976 the Canadians opened Toronto’s CN Tower. At 553m, it dominates the skyline and attracts about two million visitors annually / Flickr user Paulo.Barcellos

In 1889, it was the turn of the 317m Eiffel Tower. Ascent to the topmost third floor costs E13 (about $20) and evening is the best time to visit, with fewer people about and a more romantic atmosphere / Reuters

The Great Pyramid of Giza reigned as the tallest structure on Earth for more than 4000 years / Reuters

The Great Pyramid of Giza lost its supremacy to Lincoln Cathedral in the UK. You can ascend its 160m tower to get a glimpse of how awesome this building must have seemed to medieval onlookers / supplied

Head to America next because the Washington Monument became the titleholder in 1884. It’s free but involves some laborious security checks and long lines / AP

Towards the end of the century, a shift in economic daring saw the Malaysians open their 452m Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Though shorter than CN Tower, these were considered the world’s tallest buildings, rather than structure, thanks to their continuous floors / AP

When the Chrysler Building opened in New York in 1929 it topped the Eiffel Tower by 2m. This is the only building in the world’s tallest list to have no observation floor / AP

Not much more than a month later than the Chryseler Building’s opening, the nearby Empire State Building became the world’s tallest building at 443m / AP

Across the straits in mainland China, Shanghai World Financial Centre may only be the third-tallest building in the world but, at 477m, its 100th-floor observation deck is the world’s loftiest / AP

New city apartments to have balconies under Sydney Council's draft development control plan

20 Oct

All new city apartments will have a balcony under Sydney Council’s draft development control plan, one of hundreds of regulations that appeal to residents but which developers have claimed could curb affordable housing supply and result in unattractive, uniform buildings.

The 562-page draft development control plan, which the council endorsed on Monday night, amalgamates 62 separate planning policies into one document and would govern everything from apartment blocks to fence heights and home extensions.

The plan requires 75 per cent of new apartments to have balconies and the remaining 25 per cent to have smaller Juliet-style balconies, a provision the council said would increase private open space and sunlight, and allow for staggering to reduce the “stacked balcony” effect.

The plan also dictates that balconies must be 10sq m, or a 25sq m courtyard for lower levels, have a northern aspect where practicable, and be directly accessible from the living area.

This is all good news for new city apartment dwellers such as Matthew Bywater, 38, and Elizabeth Ta, 33, who wouldn’t have bought their Pyrmont apartment a year ago if it wasn’t for the large balcony with its stunning Darling Harbour views.

They wanted to move from their house in Burwood that had become too large for them, to the city, where they could be close to the business they run in Ultimo, 4Promote. But they still wanted some outdoor space.

“We looked at an apartment in the block across the road and rejected it because the balcony was too small,” Ms Ta said. “We eat dinner out on our balcony every night when the weather’s nice, and entertain regularly.”

But not all city balconies are usable or pleasant: much depends on their design and placement, as well as the location of the building. A bricked-in balcony that looks onto a busy road and decrepit buildings is not the ideal entertaining area enjoyed by Mr Bywater and Ms Ta. There are also issues with noise and privacy.

In his address to the Urban Development Institute of Australia National Congress, former prime minister Paul Keating poured scorn on Sydney’s “gormless”, depressing apartment blocks with their empty balconies.

“People are more interested in the aesthetic composition of the facade than they are in the mostly unused, quasi-amenity of a veranda that offers some free floor space by virtue of a gaping concession in the planning system. And those verandas inevitable give rise to those charmless ice tray facades,” Mr Keating said.

Developers have claimed the plan is a case of over-regulation which would not only result in unattractive buildings, but also push up prices, stifle housing supply and drive developers out of Sydney.

“We think it’s just more impost on the development business,” one developer said. “Like many things that come out of the council, they assume there’s an infinite capacity for a developer to wear the costs of what they dream up, but it will affect our ability to provide affordable apartments and still make a profit.

“If we can’t do it in Sydney, we’ll go elsewhere.”

Aaron Gadiel, CEO of Urban Taskforce, said the plan is the most complex DCP Sydney’s ever seen and would take the level of regulation to “a new proscriptive level”.

“It’s vital that we get more compact, pedestrian friendly, apartment-style development in Sydney,” he said. “But when developers sit down with complex documents like this, plus all the other rules and regulations, it really makes you consider whether it is worth jumping all the gauntlets.

“This DCP could be a fatal blow to the housing supply to the city of Sydney, and it will be the residents of Sydney who will suffer.”

According to Mr Gadiel, the best way to achieve aesthetically pleasing developments is to get quality architects on board and give them freedom to innovate. “There is a danger of monochrome uniformity through this kind of over-regulation, which prevents imagination being exercised,” he said.

The DCP will be exhibited for public and industry comment before it is implemented.