The eighties called and they want their buildings back….!

5 Mar

I was walking through Darling Harbour last week and was shocked to see the Sydney Exhibtion Centre drifting, masts broken, like the Marie Celeste through a sea of rubble. I had heard that their deomlition was being bandied around, but I was amazed to see that the Harbour Authority would have the gall to go ahead with it.

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The Marie Celeste, mast in majestic full sail, was found wandering the sea empty of souls….

I have no problems with the demolition, personally. As a bit of a Marxist, I believe that buildings should be useful and serve the people. These buildings were the linchpin of the whole original 1988 Darling Harbour development, but they did not anticipate the populist success that DH would become. These site require buildings that are accessible and inviting, chock full of retail and entertainment possibilities (how the masses love this kind of thing) that can be entered on-grade. I hope that the new Hassell schemes allow for this.

The original Sydney Convention Centre and Sydney Exhibtion Centre were built in 1987 on the former Darling Harbour Railway Goods Yard.

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Above- the site as I first knew it in 1984, when DH was an honest “working harbour” (actually the most important port in Australia for a long time…

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Above- the forlorn masts of the old Cox Richardson Exhibition Centre sticking up, devoid of surrounding buildings, as they slip beneath the waves.

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Above- the Phillip Cox Exhibition Centre in happier times. It was always something of a white elephant.

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Above- existing, from the air.

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Above- proposed, from the air. DH is fast becoming the centre of Sydney.

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Above- John Andrews‘s Convention Centre. He likens, understandably from his point of view, its demolition to an act of vandalism.

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Above- the proposed replacement by Hassell. Looks like more fun at least.

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Above- and finally, know we know why they pulled out the perfectly functional Sydney Monorail. In the way of progress! What a grim day for the eighties!!

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