Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Monday, 29 November 2010

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sydney Open - Sydney Theatre/Monochrome Weekend

For more monochrome madness, visit Dragonstar's Weekend in Black and White.  

Walsh Bay’s 850-seat Sydney Theatre, opened in 2004, is a handsome building with a vast archway on to Hickson Road. The rear of the building is cleverly integrated with the lower levels of the heritage-listed Bond 3 warehouse, part of which is used for rehearsals and other ‘back-of-house’ purposes. The original walls of Bond 3 retain the patina of age, and much of the original machinery remains, including hoists and trusses. The auditorium, foyers and fly tower occupy the space created by the demolition of a 1950s warehouse. Patrons pass through a sequence of spaces, each of a distinct character, before arriving at their seats. Progression through the multi-level foyers and sound-locks into the auditorium is a carefully composed experience. The contemporary design of the new building harmonises with the industrial nature of the surrounding precinct and its heritage buildings.

Some time back I showed you the foyer area of Sydney Theatre. These shots are of the rehearsal and scenery storage, workshop areas which feature original marchinery and stunning sandstone.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Sydney Open - Barangaroo/KPMG Tower/Weekend Reflections

Looking over Barangaroo North from KPMG tower
The 16-level KPMG office tower, located at the northern end of the King Street Wharf development, was one of the first buildings in Sydney to achieve a 4.5-star National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) energy rating. This was upgraded in the past two years to a 5-star rating because of an ongoing energy-reduction program. Each façade of the tower was oriented to take into account the movement of the sun throughout the year and the shading effect of adjacent buildings. The design of the façades focused on three issues: installation of shading devices on the northern, eastern and western façades to control the level of sunlight penetrating the glass and reduce the heat load at peak times; increasing access to natural light; and creating a dramatic effect, particularly with the visible splay to the northern façade. The building’s energy usage has been reduced by a combination of design features including window glazing and shading, active energycontrol systems, including daylight sensors that automatically dim artificial light, and infrared motion sensors to control lighting after hours.

For more reflections visit James' Newtown Area Photo.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Sydney Open - Barangaroo/Sky Watch Friday

Looking over Barangaroo South
Barangaroo is the last industrial habourside location in the Sydney CBD to be redeveloped, with final approvals subject to statutory planning processes and community input. The 22 hectares of Barangaroo is made up of Barangaroo South, a business, tourism, residential and retail precinct; Barangaroo Central, a large civic space with a variety of uses including medium-rise civic, residential and commercial buildings; and Headland Park, a waterfront park for the community to enjoy. Barangaroo’s declared aim is to be one of the world’s first climate-positive CBD precincts. It is intended that it will return more clean water to the environment than it uses, create zero waste and achieve carbon neutrality by generating more renewable energy than is needed to power the site. Barangaroo will have connections with neighbouring precincts including Millers Point, Walsh Bay, King Street Wharf and the Sydney CBD. All of the water’s edge will remain accessible to the public, including the Foreshore Walk around the site which has dedicated pathways for walking, jogging and cycling.

The development is highly controversial with claims that the current proposal bears little resemblance to the design that won the initial international design competition. The proposed hotel over the harbour has caused a furore and, apparently, things are back on hold. Sydney has a history of doing this kind of development very badly and it doesn't look like this one will be any different.

For more Sky Watch from around the world, drop in to the home of Sky Watch Friday.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Sydney Open - Raddison Hotel

The original stone-clad building on this site was built in 1856 and was home to John Fairfax & Sons, publishers of The Sydney Morning Herald. It was designed in Italianate style by Goold & Hillings, and had three storeys and a basement. In the 1920s a second, much taller, building was constructed on the site. Architects Manson & Pickering designed it in Inter-war Renaissance Palazzo style using Bondi sandstone and Bowral trachyte as cladding. Stuart Brothers built it to the maximum height of 150 feet (approx 46m) set by the Height of Buildings Act, in force from 1913 to 1956. In 1954 it was sold to the Bank of New South Wales, now Westpac. In the late 1990s TA Enterprises bought the building and adapted the interiors to create the boutique-style, five-star Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney. This opened in July 2000 with 362 guest rooms and suites, two restaurants, a health club and eight meeting rooms, two of which have original interiors.

The areas open for inspection were Sir Warwick Fairfax's office, now a function room, and the old board room, also now a function room. Unfortunately the original marble staircase and features of the lower ground level are long gone. We also got a look at one of the hotel rooms - way out of my price range.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Sydney Open - American Express Building

 This 11-storey commercial and retail tower, close to the aerial section of the Western Distributor, was designed to achieve a 4.5-star rating in the National Australian Built Environment Rating System and 4 stars in the Green Star ratings. It has ecological sustainability features such as high-efficiency lighting and mechanical systems, and external shading devices. The northern and western elevations of the building are constructed in glass and zinc with louvres and sunshades. The southern elevation is solid precast concrete. The eastern elevation is also of pre-cast concrete with window openings and vertical orange blades running the height of the building. Placed at intervals across the façade to provide shading and reduce reflectivity, these blades have become the building’s distinguishing feature. The building’s interiors were designed to mirror the characteristics of different countries. Sydney Open participants will visit the Japanese-inspired floor.
I find this an incredibly ugly building externally and the inside was quite soulless. Then there is this poor little brick building still surviving amongst all the glass, metal and concrete of the new development and motorway overpass.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Sydney Open - 30 The Bond

Located in Millers Point in the heart of Sydney’s historic Rocks precinct, 30 The Bond stands out as a leading architectural statement. It has also set the standard for environmental design in Australia, being the first office building in the nation to have achieved a 5-star Australian Building Greenhouse Rating. It has received more than 30 industry awards for design innovation, heritage adaptation and sustainability.

The sheer scale of 30 The Bond is overwhelming when you first enter – a soaring atrium, abundant natural light, suspended meeting rooms, and breakout spaces open to the outside world. The Bond precinct encompasses three heritage buildings, the earliest dating from the 1840s. These were preserved in 2004 through the sensitive redesign of the complex for reuse as an office building. The materials chosen for the project – including natural oxidised steel staircases, recycled timber and aged copper – were also sympathetic to the heritage features of the original buildings. In an area steeped in the rich heritage of early Australian commerce – encompassing the old bond stores, the original gasworks, Gas Lane and the wharves – 30 The Bond is now carving out its own historic niche.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Sydney Open - Glover Cottages

The Glover Cottages, built in the 1820s by freesettler stonemason Thomas Glover (who also worked on the South Head Lighthouse, Hyde Park Barracks and St James’ Church) are reputed to be the first semi-detached cottages built in Sydney. They are a rare surviving early example of Colonial Georgian architecture based on forms seen in English rural cottages and adopted for urban buildings in Australian colonial towns. Known for years as ‘The Ark’, the cottages are perched above Kent Street on a rock shelf that probably resulted from stone quarrying in the area in the early 19th century. As with many buildings in Millers Point constructed before the streets were formally planned, the line of the cottages follows the curved rock ledge. The Glover Cottages survived the extensive demolition that took place in The Rocks and Millers Point following successive outbreaks of bubonic plague between 1901 and 1910. They were retained for public housing, then restored in the late 1970s as office buildings. Today they are home to the NSW branch of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

A beautiful building but obviously substantially altered internally, the individual cottages have been opened up into one, the first floor ceiling removed and a mezanine added.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sydney Open - Merchants House/Monochrome Weekend

This is the coolroom/storage area of the servant's quarters.

This is the most intact example of a typical late- Georgian town house known to survive in New South Wales. It was built in 1848 as a residence attached to the adjoining warehouse of the firm Martyn and Coombes. Historically the site has direct links with other Rocks sites. From 1873 to 1875 it was the residence of the Reverend Thomas Gainsford, minister of the Mariners’ Church. In 1942 it served as the barracks for members of the Royal Indian Navy who were responsible for the construction of light warships, known as ‘corvettes’, for the Royal Australian Navy at the government dockyards. The building exhibits many features of the Greek Revival style and is the only remaining example of its kind in The Rocks. It has a cantilevered first-floor balcony, external shutters and fully restored interiors. In the first-floor drawing room, still intact, you can see the 19th-century moulded plasterwork, chimneypiece, grate and joinery.

For more monochrome madness, visit Dragonstar's Weekend in Black and White.  

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Sydney Open - Gateway/Weekend Reflections

Gateway is a 47-storey commercial office tower with panoramic views of Circular Quay and Sydney Harbour. This slender, diamond-shaped tower was developed in response to the site’s restrictive building envelope. To minimise horizontal wind deflection, the floor beams are rigidly connected to the central core walls. Design practice HASSELL was recently commissioned to create a new entry foyer and lobby for the building. A key design element was a ‘river of lights’ to enhance the angled geometry of the existing lobby and provide a unique artwork. A café was also integrated into the building’s entrance to create a social hub and breathe life into the connecting laneways. New lighting and mechanical systems also ensured that the upgrade complied with the latest standards for reducing energy consumption.

The "river of lights" and the view. Apart from the view and some terrific reflections I don't think the building has a lot to recommend it.
For more reflections visit James' Newtown Area Photo.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Sydney Open - Fort Phillip Signal Station/Sky Watch Friday

Fort Phillip, built in 1804 under the direction of Governor King, was intended as a strategic stronghold but was never finished. In 1848 the Signal Station, a sandstone building designed by the office of the Colonial Architect, Mortimer Lewis, was built above the wall of the fort. In 2008, excavations of the grounds of the Signal Station uncovered the remains of Fort Phillip. You can see these archaeological remains and the footings of a bomb shelter used for storage and retreat. Inside the Signal Station is a small display of artefacts from the site, which give rise to questions about the use of the fort and the presence of the French in the colony. If you are in the vicinity at 1pm look out for the dropping of the historic 1858 timeball on top of Sydney Observatory and listen for the responding cannon fire from Fort Denison.

Note the fake window above the sink.

For more Sky Watch from around the world, drop in to the home of Sky Watch Friday.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Sydney Open - Sydney Observatory

Not strictly part of Sydney Open, Sydney Observatory is located next to one of the Sydney Open properties (tomorrow's post) and was open so I thought I should have a look.

The inside of one of the domes and an older telescope in the museum.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Sydney Open - Richmond Villa

Last Sunday was the biennial Sydney Open when buildings across the city, old and new, public and private, are open to sticky beaks like me. This year I concentrated on the properties around The Rocks, Millers Point and King Street Wharf.

This simple building is of interest as one of the few remaining residential designs by early Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis, whose best known works are public buildings such as courthouses and jails. Built as his own residence, the villa had Gothic outline, decorative bargeboards and asymmetric bay windows. Richmond Villa originally stood near Parliament House, facing the Domain, but in 1976 it was carefully dismantled and rebuilt on its present site in Kent Street. Following this move it was officially reopened in February 1978 as the headquarters of the Society of Australian Genealogists and now houses the society’s manuscript collections and educational services.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Everybody loves a wedding

The groom arrives in a red caddie.
Waiting, waiting.
Rose petals and rice are thrown as the couple depart.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Annual Jacaranda Post

Jacarandas are beautiful wherever you find them - where you live,
In Hyde Park
at Circular Quay, or even this poor thing out with the garbage.