Sirius apartments, watercolour and ink on board. PHM collection 2013/36/1 Gift of the family of Jack and Jean Nagle.
We have just acquired this watercolour elevation of the Sirius public housing apartments in the Rocks. Most architects’ elevations use a street level viewpoint – this bird’s eye view is different and striking.
Sirius was built to rehouse public tenants displaced during the controversial redevelopment of the Rocks during the 1960s and 1970s. Eventually building work in the Rocks was halted by union Green Bans and resident opposition. In 1975 the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority agreed to suspend most of its development plans and rehouse displaced public housing tenants in new public housing.
Photo by Charles Pickett 2013.
The first new building at the Central Park development on Broadway is making progress. Watching it is a bit different from following the progress of most new buildings – it’s literally growing, not just figuratively so. French botanist Patrick Blanc is creating what’s claimed to be the tallest vertical garden in the world.
Max Dupain, Sydney Ancher house, Neutral Bay, 1958. Courtesy Max Dupain & Associates.
The careers of architects and photographers are often intertwined. An outstanding case is Max Dupain, Australia’s leading photographer of architecture, whose work was crucial in building the reputations of several architects including Harry Seidler, Sydney Ancher and Glenn Murcutt.
Clare Hotel, 2010. Photo by Sotha Bourn.
The Clare Hotel on Broadway is closing this year. It will open again, but not as the comfortably crumpled venue of recent times. The Clare’s past and likely future are reflective of the fortunes of Sydney pubs.
The Clare like all Sydney pubs built during the twentieth century was shaped by restrictive licensing laws. During the 1920s thanks to the temperance movement pubs lost the small bars and parlours where all sorts of things could be said and done more or less in private.
Sydney Convention Centre, 1988. PHM collection 2009/55/1, Design archive, John Andrews / John Andrews International, Australia / USA / Canada, 1962-1992.
You might have read recently in the Sydney Morning Herald about the planned demolition of Sydney Convention Centre at Darling Harbour. The Centre’s architect John Andrews is not surprisingly unimpressed that another of his Australian designs is under threat after a mere 25 years of use.
Photo from ‘Sydney National Opera House’, (‘Red Book’), paper, prepared by Jorn Oberg Utzon, printed by Artlier Eleckra, Denmark, 1958. 2003/34/2-1
It is 56 years this month since Jorn Utzon’s success in the design competition for the Sydney Opera House. During January 1957 the four judges (they were all architects: Cobden Parkes, Eero Saarinen, Ingham Ashworth and Leslie Martin) looked through more than 700 entries. Utzon’s win was announced at the Art Gallery of NSW on January 29.
Artwork for poster, J & J McAdam, 1963. PHM collection 93/112/1-7
The poster artwork above is the work of Jean and Joan McAdam, twin sisters who ran a successful graphic design business for several companies including LJ Hooker, developers of the Killarney Heights Estate. Recently I posted about a Beachcomber project home built at Killarney Heights in 1965 for Ruby Matthews and family.
The poster artwork is one of couple of Killarney related things I’ve since stumbled across. As an address Killarney Heights dates from 1963 when Hooker Rex launched the Estate overlooking Middle Harbour. Killarney Heights wasn’t just another subdivision – when it opened the Estate featured a ‘Parade of Homes’ of 17 display houses by several project builders and a ‘Dream Home’ built for the winners of a Women’s Day competition.
Planned new tower podium and gateway building for UTS. Image courtesy UTS.
Recently I gave some help to a heritage architect working on the Broadway Central Park development. We were looking at the Kent Brewery photos in our Tooth & Co collection. I particularly enjoyed revisiting the Broadway photos, timely given that Broadway is having its biggest makeover in decades. As well as the vast Central Park project, UTS is gaining a new building on the northern side of Broadway while the street level podium of the UTS Tower will be transformed.
Beachcomber Mark 11 Lend Lease Homes brochure, 1964. Courtesy Ruby Matthews.
One of the nice things about a museum project going public is the response from people with relevant artefacts, stories, photographs etc. Often this can be frustrating – if only we had known about this before the exhibition was opened, book was launched etc!
Pettit & Sevitt brochure 1964. Powerhouse Museum collection, gift of Ken Woolley.
My new book Designer Suburbs: Architects and affordable homes in Australia is back from the printers and will be launched soon.
Designer Suburbs began a couple of years back when our former curatorial colleague Judith O’Callaghan asked me if I’d like to co-author a book about the architect-designed project homes of the 1960s and 1970s.
We were struck by the fact that the houses built by Pettit & Sevitt in Sydney and Merchant Builders in Melbourne are still regularly featured in the popular media as examples of the best of suburban architecture, thirty years or more after the demise of these building companies.