10 Must-See Sydney Edifices

City North Substation Sydney

Sydney is one of the youngest major cities in the world and it hasn’t quite made a name for itself.  Northern Hemisphere people would be hard-pressed to name a building down under, except that seashell opera house.  That’s changing though.  In the midst of a worldwide recession that now has even the Arab Emirates slowing down, Sydney is in a development boom.  Please, pick up a ride with Budget Car Rental and visit my choices for 10 must-see edifices.

Rose Seidler House
1950, Harry Seidler

If you’ve got an attractive setting and a clean psyche your house could do no better than to be an open frame for living.  Ross Seidler is the prime example of modernism in Sydney and was possibly the first flash of hope that Oz could be something culturally other than an appendage of England.  That hasn’t been fulfilled yet.    

Sydney Opera House
1973, Jorn Utzon

Ah, the much maligned Sydney Opera House.  What were they trying to protect anyway?  There’s not a lick of tradition in all of Australia.   Too much has already been written about its bold features, both negative and positive.  I say the boldness itself makes it worthwhile.

Ball-Eastaway House
1983, Glenn Murcott

This is conceived as a type of artist colony nestled in and incorporating nature.  It’s not nearly so extreme in this regard as Henley’s hyperminimalism or even the earlier Farnsworth House.  By definition an artist is an Axel rather than a Rimbaud and must have his/her interior space. 

Capita Centre
1989, Harry Seidler

Harry Seidler’s soul is the soul of Sydney.  Here he does for the downtown what he did for the suburbs with Rose Seidler.  The Capita Centre is the shiny skeleton of a skyscraper.  The exposed truss does a jaunty zigzag up the side.  Several sky gardens peek out along the way.

City North Substation
2010, Jon Johannsen

People are always whining about what an eyesore electrical fixtures are.  Necessary but nimby.  I’ve always thought they had a utilitarian beauty to them.  Nevertheless, the things are unpopular, especially among people with money, so they took a step that seems obvious in hindsight:  they stuck a giant Mondrian box over the whole works.

Roslyn Street Bar-Restaurante
2010, Durbach Block Jaggers

Why are wedge-shaped lots undesirable to city-planners, and why don’t architects do anything fun with them?  There’s the venerable Flatiron in New York, all well and good, but a hundred years old.  Then there’s the Flatiron in Toronto:  shorter and a little more regal but basically the same.  But here’s something new on Roslyn Street.  It’s a giant milk bottle with huge windows, a garden roof, and skin of cracked tiles that almost looks like a Vermeer up close.  Beautiful, and overall reminiscent of Paul Strand’s bowls.

85 Castlereagh
2011, John Wardle

My first thought upon seeing the giant titled disc for a roof was of the Bibliotheca Alexandria.  On second thought, it’s a big lipstick tube.  While most glass-covered buildings strive to be pure, the elliptical tilt gives this building the scattered and jarring effect of a disco ball.  In the lobby, the erratic serrations (serratic?) of the walls and signage are even more sickening, although not necessarily in a bad way.  But probably in a bad way.

Boston University Student Housing
2011, Tony Owen

Students get everything good, and on our dime.  Makes me sick.  Anyway, architect Tony Owen has been stamping Sydney with his own fusion of styles.  It’s green with some Le Corbusier around the windows (they jut out from the sides giving light to the maximum number of apartments) with a hint of Gehry in the way the whole thing feels tilted and vertigo-inducing.

The Darling
2012, Cox Richardson

The latest five-star hotel (whatever that means) jabs at Pyrmont Bay like a shuriken.  It’s hard to put a finger on The Darling’s shape, really.  It’s not geometric or organic, and it looks different from every angle.  It’s a little bit futurist.  Mostly it’s shaped like a middle finger to the middle class.  I will never in my life stay at a hotel this nice.

Barangaroo Hotel
20??, Richard Rogers

I normally don’t include projects under construction, but we’re in the middle of Sydney’s golden age of architecture and decisions made now will become the world’s image of the city for generations.  The company Lend Lease was selected by the New South Wales government to develop Barangaroo South, including a massive luxury hotel on a pier as Sydney’s answer to Dubai’s Burj Al Arab.  But the government has been balking at the size and style.  Architect Richard Rogers has redefined cities before, with unabashed success in Madrid and in a more controversial fashion in Paris.  Designs have been rejected and redesigns have been submitted.  I hope they don’t play it safe on this one.  Only a daring choice will be remembered.


Posted By budget.com.au on 16th November 2012

Updated : 4th December 2012 | Words : 798 | Views : 6935

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