Archive | Sydney Harbour RSS feed for this section

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.


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.


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…


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


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


Above- existing, from the air.


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


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


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


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!!



Latest on the Barangaroo Casino and Hotel

9 May


Image submitted by reader.

Just one image of the fourth entry in the design competition for the Barangaroo Casino and Hotel has been published. It is believed to be from an Australian design firm of international standing but the details are yet to be released.

The design has been embraced by Sydney architects as an accurate response to the history of the site and of the process so far. One Sydney architect said “The design has some strong anthropomorphic elements but it is hard to put my finger on the exact references”.

The proposed building is 72 storeys with a spectacular eight storey penthouse at the top of the stunning kinked cylindrical tower. The base is three triangular forms containing the casino, an ultra luxury spa and wellness centre that is rumoured to have a membership consisting solely of billionaire men, and a small theatre that may be open to the public for up to two matinee performances every year.

No parallels have yet been drawn to the Opera House but it seems the comparisons will be inevitable.


From the press:

Wilkinson Eyre down to final three in race for Barangaroo hotel tower
7 May, 2013 | By Richard Waite

Double Stirling Prize-winner Wilkinson Eyre has revealed its proposals in the competition to design a AUS $1 billion ‘resort’ tower in Sydney, Australia.


Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and international giant KPF are also vying for the 235m-tall hotel tower scheme which will house around 350 bedrooms, including 70 ‘opulent suites’ on the top floors as well as 100 luxury apartments, restaurants, shops a spa and casinos.

Shard-architect Renzo Piano, who was named on a four-strong shortlist in February, has since dropped out of the contest.


The six-star Crown Sydney building at Barangaroo has been billed as the ‘most iconic building to be constructed in Sydney since the Opera House’.

The victorious scheme will be built next to Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ contentious three-tower Barangaroo project for developer Lend Lease.

Construction work on the resort skyscraper has been set for 2014, subject to planning, with a scheduled opening date in 2018.

A winner will be named alter this month.


130510-02 130510-01 130510-04 130510-05


Barangaroo plans reveal nation's largest office building

17 Nov

Kelsey Munro SMH November 17, 2011.

THERE may be taller buildings in Australia, but with its vast footprint, the 49-storey C3 tower at Barangaroo is likely to be the country’s largest office building in terms of floorspace.

Developer Lend Lease’s detailed plans for the second and third major commercial towers at Barangaroo were placed on exhibition by the Department of Planning yesterday, providing the most accurate glimpse yet of the future for the $6 billion urban renewal project.

At 205 metres tall with 115,291 square metres of floorspace, the northernmost commercial tower, C3, will be the tallest building at Barangaroo; but there will still be eight taller buildings in Sydney including the Citigroup and Chifley buildings.

C5, the southern tower, will be 39 storeys. Modified plans for the 42-storey C4 commercial tower standing between the two were lodged earlier this month.

Designed by architects Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, the towers have large floorplates, curved contours and vividly coloured vertical shading panels on the facade designed to cut air conditioning requirements by up to 30 per cent.

Each tower will have fewer than 200 car spaces; with a total of 1200 bicycle spaces across the three towers as part of plans to minimise car trips and promote alternative transport.

The childcare centre, which was deleted from C4 plans, has been restored in C3, while the planned supermarket in the commercial precinct has been downsized to a ”fresh food market in the podium of C5”, a Lend Lease spokesman said.


A supermarket is likely to be part of the proposed residential towers to be built north of the commercial precinct, the spokesman said.

When complete, the three towers will provide almost 300,000 square metres of new office space in Sydney to house 24,000 workers; and 15,000 square metres of new retail floorspace at ground level.

Planning documents also proposed the use of ”responsive” digital landmarks beamed on to walls and building facades to help pedestrians navigate the new precinct. Completion of the three buildings, once approved, is scheduled for 2016.

Read more:

Glorious psychedelic cacophony for starters

16 Jun

AS an array of colours and shapes bounced off the roof of the Sydney Opera House after the opening of Vivid Sydney on Friday night, inside at the Opera Theatre English space rock ensemble Spiritualized was employing its own kind of light show to colour its creations.

Spiritualized was there to perform its third and most critically acclaimed album, Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space, a landmark in post Britpop psychedelia released in 1997. It’s an album that is by turn delicate, mournful, hypnotic and, in terms of creating a really intense racket, quite beautiful.

Main man Jason Pierce prefers the enigmatic approach to stage performance.

He sat down for the entire show, off to one side with his music stand, a microphone and an electric guitar.

For this gig he had plenty of collaborators to help him recreate his best work, including an eight-piece choir (in appropriate smocks), a similarly sized string section and six horn players, most of whom were recruited in Sydney.

That was in addition to the rock nucleus of bass, drums, two guitarists, a percussionist and a keyboards player. You felt it might be loud. And so it was.

Initially, as they launched into the title song as an opener, it was hard to tell if the guitar feedback was a technical fault or part of the set, but as the show progressed it became clear that every dynamic shift and nuance, even the severest barrage of white noise, was deliberate.

Pierce’s songs often have a dirge-like repetitiveness, either in the sense of stripped-back melancholy or in the way the instrumentation builds slowly around one theme until it becomes a ball of static directed straight at your eardrums.

These attacks were the best parts of this performance, even if the decibel level did have some unsuspecting festivalgoers stuffing bits of paper into their ears by the end of the fifth song, Stay with Me.

The highlight was the closing, 17-minute psychedelic groove of Cop Shoot Cop. This glorious cacophony featured the entire ensemble. The combination of heavy percussive rumble with strings, horns and guitars going full tilt and the strobe lighting used to illuminate it made it as thrillingly intense as a fairground ride you never want to get off.

Quieter moments such as the gospel-tinged Come Together and Broken Heart allowed the subtleties being played by the strings and horns to push through. Elsewhere they were contributing to the whole without being distinct.

With the album done, they came back on for Out of Sight, a standout from Spiritualized’s first album Let it Come Down.

Its more restrained, poppy groove was a comedown, but pleasantly so after the onslaught before it. You’d want an act to open your festival that lived up to the title Vivid Live. Spiritualized did that with ease.


400,000 attend the biggest ever Vivid Sydney


NSW Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner, has declared Vivid Sydney 2011 a record success, with sell-out music concerts, huge crowds experiencing over 40 light installations and packed creative ideas sessions.

Vivid Sydney cemented its popularity, as over 400,000 attendees from Sydney, Australia and the rest of the world experienced events around Circular Quay from the Sydney Opera House to The Rocks. From jets of flame shooting out of Campbells Cove at FireDance to world exclusive concert performances by artists, including The Cure at Sydney Opera House and events for creative industry professionals, the festival offered something for everyone. Vivid Sydney catered for families, young people, seniors, creatives, tourists and everyone in between.

Vivid Sydney is a ground breaking event model. The spectacular festival not only provided entertainment for the public and attracted visitors, but also proved to be an excellent platform for creative industry events. There is no doubt the international spotlight was shining on Sydney over the past 18 nights, that showcased our creative industries credentials to the world.

Vivid Sydney executive producer, Ignatius Jones, said the success of the 2011 festival was a credit to the passion and talent of the creative teams involved in the event. Reminiscing the dazzling display of sound and lights Jones added, “it’s been a fantastic journey this year and an absolute pleasure to work with Events NSW who have a strong vision to create a festival that puts Sydney on the map globally as the creative hub of the Asia Pacific. Events NSW estimate Vivid Sydney will generate up to $10 million in economic benefit for the State.

“We knew this year’s festival would be popular, but we were blown away at seeing such huge crowds down at the festival, night after night enjoying colourful jellyfish swimming across the Sydney Opera House sails, painting digital light graffiti on the Museum of Contemporary Art and watching the awe inspiring 3D projections on Customs House” said Jones.

Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House and the Vivid Sydney music program, featured over 30 ticketed events, including a number of Sydney and world exclusive performances from artists such as The Cure, Bat for Lashes, Cut Copy and Spiritualized. Over 35,000 tickets were sold, in addition to 4,500 tickets to interstate and overseas visitors, which generated a $2.34 million gross box office. This makes it the most successful Vivid LIVE yet for Sydney Opera House. As an astonishing achievement, around 59 per cent of the tickets were sold to a new audience.


Barangaroo C4 is shrinking – city tower is cut down to size

7 Mar

Vikki Campion From: The Daily Telegraph February 11, 2011

BARANGAROO is shrinking.

Critics slammed the latest office tower to hit NSW Planning desks, a 42-storey goliath, for being too broad and bulky.

Architects had a second go at it yesterday, slimming the $1 billion building by 6m.

Developers have slashed back the original plans, paring back the pier length from 150m to 85m, the hotel height from 213m to 159m, and the number of commercial towers from four to three.

British architect Lord Richard Rogers, famous for designing the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Lloyd’s building in London and the new Tower 3 at the reconstructed World Trade Centre, drew the inside-out building in a “contemporary architectural style” that makes it appear transparent.

The lifts have been cut from nine to eight, projecting bays have been replaced with recessed bays, and its edges have been “tapered and curved” in a bid to shorten its appearance.

Lend Lease’s group head of development David Hutton said the changes came after 20 submissions from the public.

“We have responded to Sydney City Council’s comments and introduced refinements that improve the scale and appearance of the building and we have produced an even better result,” he said.

At 176.5m tall, the building will have 88,582 sq m of commercial floor space. It is due to be completed in 2014.


Ken Maher of Hassell- Shaper of things to come

3 Mar

Louis White, The Australian February 26, 2011


Ken Maher, part of the design team for the $6 billion Barangaroo urban regeneration in Sydney.

Picture: Jane Dempster Source: The Australian

IT’S appropriate that Ken Maher was born in a town halfway between Sydney and Brisbane.
On the banks of the NambuccaRiver, Macksville – population 3000 – is a town where children need to use their imagination to entertain themselves. It stood Maher in good stead to become one of Australia’s leading architects, unrestricted by traditional city landscapes.

The way cities are built is the one thing Maher wants to change, and feels needs to change.

“Buildings in the past have been built as sealed boxes that you pump cold air into,” Maher says.

“In the 19th century you basically had big buildings and houses, with nothing in between. In the 20th century we saw specialists in the design of buildings accentuating the difference between apartment, office and warehouse buildings, for example.
“Now going forward we will see less specialist building types and more buildings that can be adapted to climate issues, occupancy requirements combined with a change in the production of buildings.”

Maher says technology will change the fabric of buildings, especially in high-growth population countries.

Sekisui Wentworth point

Japanese company Sekisui House, the largest builder of prefabricated sustainable housing, has made inroads into the Australian market, he notes.

“When we think of prefabricated houses we think of container boxes and cheap, nasty concrete factories, but that is all going to change mostly through digital technology,” Maher says. “The future will see very different designs and materials used for buildings and houses.”

Maher, the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2009 gold medallist, was instrumental in the design of one of Australia’s most sustainable buildings, the ANZ Centre.

ANZ’s new headquarters at 833 Collins St in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct is the largest, greenest commercial office building in the country.

The building has a top six-star Green Star Office Design rating from the Green Building Council and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent, the equivalent to taking 2000 cars off the road every year.

Water consumption will be 60 per cent less than the industry average. A green roof and exterior sun shading not only maximise daylight but reduce heat gain and loss.

“When you start on a project you never know where it is going to end,” Maher says.

“With the ANZ building we thought it important to make a shift in the thinking of how people work together. We wanted the ground floor to be place where everyone could come together to promote a feel-good meeting space.”

The building has the equivalent of 80 storeys flattened out into 10, with no staff member sitting more than 11m from natural light.

“We need to think how design can be used as a positive force in the cities,” Maher says.

“By making changes to commercial buildings it can lead to better outcomes for the city and that means everyone, including the workers, the travellers and the people who live there.”

In the 1950s and 60s people lived in suburbia and came to the cities for work, Maher says, but society has changed and people now live in and around central business districts. “So we need to adapt,” Maher says.

He cites his upbringing in the country as being influential on his designs.

“Growing up every day looking at the landscape had its impact,” he says. “As far back as I can remember I was always drawing. People around me made the connection between drawing and architecture, though I personally didn’t know any architects.”

Maher went to the University of NSW, where he studied for a bachelor of architecture, graduated with first-class honours and completed his masters degree a few years later.

Before and during his studies he worked at the NSW Department of Works on a cadetship before entering the world of private enterprise with a firm by the name of Nielsen Warren and Mark Windass Architects, whose name soon changed to Warren Windass Associates.

After a short stint travelling overseas Maher returned to Australia to take over the partnership and renamed it the Quay Partnership in 1979 until 1985, when he formed Ken Maher and Partners, which led to the creation of Hassell in 1993, of which he is chairman today.

“I am very project driven,” Maher says. “I like projects that make places. That is very stimulating and I get very excited by a new project. The whole creative process gets me up in the morning.”

Maher is very proud of the Olympic Park Rail Station in Sydney, which won the Australian Institute of Architects’ Sir John Sulman Award in 1998. (He won the same award for the National Institute of Dramatic Art building in Sydney’s Kensington in 2002.)

“When we were building the Olympic Park I was influenced by Grand Central Station in New York,” he says. “I wanted to feel as though they were meeting somewhere exciting and where a whole story came together.”

Maher has also been heavily influenced by his landscape design and environmental studies.

He was a founding member of the Green Building Council of Australia and a member of the technical steering committee that developed the Green Star rating tools for the building industry.

“My landscape design and environmental studies broadened my view and pushed me to work on bigger projects,” he says.

“I am now influenced by climate change, the ethos of our cities and providing a better building, for the individual, company and the climate.”

Maher’s greatest challenge lies ahead as he is part of the design team for the $6 billion Barangaroo urban regeneration on the fringe of Sydney’s central business district.

“Any development in Sydney is controversial whereas in Melbourne they just get on with it,” he says in response to the ongoing debate over the project. “I think a lot of the debate has been over the size of the buildings and not the real issues.

“We desperately need a new way of accommodating people in the cities in terms of occupancy and design, and Barangaroo offers that opportunity.

“Obviously it has to relate to the rest of the city but we have a fantastic under-utilised waterfront and Barangaroo will provide another new experience and I think it will be a really interesting place.

“We sometimes hang on to the old for the sake of hanging on to the old. If we didn’t have the Opera House, it wouldn’t have allowed us to do many other things in this city.”


01- Canberra Playhouse Theater, Photo: Patrick Bingham Hall

02- Fox Studios Car Park, Photo: Patrick Bingham Hall

03- National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Photo: Patrick Bingham Hall

04- North Sydney Olympic Pool, Photo: Patrick Bingham Hall

05- Westpac Place Headquarters Fit-out, Sydney, Photo: Tyrone Branigan

Images: Australian Institute of Architects

Editor- it helps that this guy is really well connected with the Council…

Happy New Year Sydney Style

1 Jan

Sydney greets 2011 with firework heaven
2011-01-01 02:30:00

Sydney, Jan 1 (DPA) The thousands who camped overnight on Sydney’s foreshore to bag the best places to watch the world’s biggest New Year’s Eve fireworks display declared their vigil well worth it.

‘This has got to be the best place in the world to be tonight,’ said Sydney resident Marc Wilson, one of an estimated 1.5 million who stayed up for what organizers said was the greatest firework show on earth.

Seven tonnes of pyrotechnics went up in blazes of colourful smoke on and around the Harbour Bridge.

The weather was warm and the skies clear for what firework fans said was the best show since the close of the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

More than 6,000 had queued for 24 hours to be at the water’s edge when the clock ticked to a new day and a new year.

Taiwanese student Chen Wei Ting, who had waited since Thursday, was first through the gates of the Botanic Gardens to stake his claim to a prime position beside the Opera House.

‘As a foreign student, we think the Australian New Year is very fascinating,’ Chen said.

People around the globe think so too, with a television audience of over one billion expected to tune in for the for the $5-million show.

‘We’re probably the envy of most fireworks people around the world,’ said Fortunato Foti, who is directing a display he said took eight months to prepare and which featured new tricks.

Rather than the customary curtain of golden fire streaming from the bridge, this year Foti managed a chessboard of red and white tumbling lights.

Police warned revelers of alcohol-free zones and that the drunk and disorderly would be in court on the first day of 2011.


Pics- SMH