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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.


Facelift imminent for Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art- the Mordant Wing

4 May

Editor- a bit of a shocker- Mondrian box 10 years after it was fashionable elsewhere. However, it’s great that the MCA will finally get some decent space. I hope that includes a re-organisation of the dismal circulation spaces within the current MCA.

Facelift imminent for Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art- the Mordant Wing
Centralmag 04 May 10

The redevelopment of the Museum of Contemporary Art will begin in June this year.

The announcement was made by The Premier of NSW Kristina Keneally, the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Federal Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP, and MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor at the Museum this morning.

The redevelopment, that is expected to be completed in early 2012, will deliver a world class art and education institution and will strengthen the MCA’s position as a locally loved and internationally respected Museum.

MCA – 2009 Building Fly Through from MCA Sydney Australia on Vimeo.

The extension to the north of the existing MCA building will be appropriately named the Mordant Wing in recognition of the philanthropic support of the Mordant family.

The Mordant Wing will provide a Centre for Creative Learning of national significance, housing workshop spaces for schools and after-school youth programs.

There will be new facilities for the Museum’s renowned Bella program for young people with special needs, a digital classroom, multi-media room, library and resource room and a lecture theatre/new media events space.

In addition, the extension will house additional Gallery space.

The development will also provide revamped and extended gallery spaces and a new fully accessible entrance.

It will also expand commercial spaces to provide more ongoing revenue and create a sustainable business model, which will assist the MCA in continuing to offer free entry



Art of giving: $15m single donation boosts MCA plan

A “breathtaking” $15 million donation from a single Sydney family will partially fund a $53 million redevelopment of the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay.

The unprecedented commitment will come from Simon Mordant, MCA Foundation head and joint chief executive of investment bank Greenhill Caliburn Partners, and Mordant’s wife, Catriona.

Mordant recently pocketed $65 million through the sale of Caliburn to US firm Greenhil & Co, the Australian Financial Review reported last month.

The Mordants’ gift will be met by a joint $26 million commitment from the federal and NSW governments, as well as a $1 million donation from the City of Sydney and $7.45 million from other private donors, according to a statement on the MCA’s website.

The new wing, to be named the Mordant Wing, will extend the size of the MCA by roughly two thirds.

Museum director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor said it would house a new National Centre for Creative Learning, more gallery space and extra commercial space to generate revenue.

“The importance of this contribution to our community, made possible by the enthusiasm and commitment of this unique funding partnership, is truly breathtaking,” Ms Macgregor said.

The construction project, designed by Sam Marshall in partnership with the NSW Government Architect, will start in June and is expected to be completed in early 2012.



MCA unveils $50m makeover plan
Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Wed Dec 10, 2008, ABC

Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is planning a $50 million overhaul that would double its size with a modern new wing opposite the Opera House.

The wing, to be built on top of a car park at Circular Quay, will look like a pile of white, brown, grey and tinted glass boxes connected to the existing art deco building.

But the MCA still needs $22 million for the plan and has been lobbying the Federal Government to plug the shortfall.

The new building, designed by award-winning Sydney architect Sam Marshall, will contain a new arcade-like entrance linking Circular Quay with George Street at The Rocks.

It will also house a National Centre for Creative Learning and two new galleries containing more of the MCA’s permanent collection.

Mr Marshall says he plucked the colours of the blocks from the MCA’s surrounds and from local Indigenous culture.

MCA director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor says local residents and businesses have supported the project, but she expects it to spark debate.

“I think we should debate or discuss architecture of all kinds,” she said. “We really look forward to the debate and it will be interesting, as we move forward, to get people’s reactions.”

Ms Macgregor also wants to renovate the MCA’s current home, which was built for the Maritime Service Board. She says many people do not realise it houses contemporary art.

“Many times, we’ve had visitors walk right past, not realising the amazing experiences they’re missing out on inside,” she said.

“The building is hardly welcoming. The access is totally inadequate for people using wheelchairs, never mind families with children in strollers.

“The circulation is confusing. Is the main entrance the Quay side or George Street? Can you find the George Street entrance among the retail?

“How do you find the lifts? Do you go up or down to get to the galleries? The mezzanine can only be reached by the goods lift or the stairs.”

The museum is also planning to redevelop the rooftop overlooking the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, with a new cafe and and a sculpture terrace displaying annually commissioned works.

Cash plea

The New South Wales Government has injected $10 million into the plan, while the City of Sydney Council has pledged $1 million and the private sector has donated $17 million.

Ms Macgregor says federal Arts Minister Peter Garrett has been receptive in discussions about funding.

She says the financial crisis should not stop the Federal Government and philanthropists from contributing money.

“Who knows, with the downturn?” she said.

“[It’s] a development that can not only generate jobs during its construction but is clearly going to drive traffic to The Rocks, hopefully get people spending money and of course, it will make waves internationally too.

“So we would like to make a very strong economic argument for support for this development.”

Ms Macgregor hopes the project will re-invigorate the museum and surrounding area at The Rocks.

“At the moment, in the existing building, we’re in a bit of a logjam, where income is static and costs are rising.

“That’s going to squeeze us to the point where it’s going to be very difficult to continue the ambition of our current exhibition programs.

“So we need to do something that generates more excitement, attracts more people, attracts more donors, attracts more sponsors and generates income.”

A spokesman for Mr Garrett says the Government is considering the plea for cash as part of its Budget process.

The museum hopes to complete the redevelopment by the March 2011 state election, but it says work will not begin until it has received $50 million.


Link- MCA page-

Ivy- boys' club

21 Jan

Hush, hush about boys’ club
ANDREW HORNERY  January 2, 2010 . SHM


Very relaxed … Justin Hemmes.

Private Sydney: JUSTIN HEMMES has rung every bell and blown every whistle at his disposal to promote his $150 million gin palace Ivy on George Street. However, there is one intriguing part of the enormous complex which he flatly refuses to talk about.

Described by those who have been there as ”a really classy gentlemen’s club”, a recently completed penthouse, the second of two sitting atop Ivy, has established itself as an exclusive venue for Sydney’s well-heeled men in need of a little personalised entertainment.

Hemmes is somewhat reluctant to talk about his new boys’ club.

However, with hushed tones, guests at the parties have talked about high-profile Sydney men enjoying wild poker nights featuring scantily clad girls and the finest booze available. Continue reading

Barangaroo harbours controversy

20 Jan

Grand slam for Barangaroo’s grand plan: harbour makeover looks like ‘worst of Dubai’


Lend Lease’s plan for Barangaroo is currently big on gloss and short on detail. Critics and supporters weigh in.

THE State Government is poised to waive planning rules so a developer can fill in part of the harbour to build the city’s biggest hotel in what critics have dubbed the worst of ”Dubai architecture”.

Under the agreement negotiated by the Government’s Barangaroo Delivery Authority, Lend Lease will construct a 150-metre-long peninsula extending into East Darling Harbour as a base on which to erect the 230-metre-tall hotel.

The authority’s chief executive, John Tabart, also revealed that Lend Lease had been allowed to increase the floor space in the building by 15 per cent in addition to the 30 per cent rise allowed last year in an effort to make the project financially viable.

Photo: Edwina Pickles

By allowing Lend Lease to build out from the existing shoreline, guests will be able to enjoy views to the Opera House. Continue reading