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|April 19th, 2006, 06:39 AM||#1|
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Sydney CBD's wonderful old buildings
I dig the beautiful old architecture that graces out cities. Here's some stuff you might'nt know about the buildings still standing in Sydney's CBD. I have only put small pics in the thread to save on the download but feel free to add good ones if u want.
( source - www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au, www.emporis.com ( Culwulla) & www.tafeglobal.com.au )
For starters - The naming of SYDNEY
When Governor Arthur Phillip arrived in 1788 he decided that he
would call the place Albion – the old Roman name for England because the sandstone heads of Port Jackson reminded him of the white chalk cliffs seen when approaching England.
He planned to officially bequeath the name Albion at a ceremony to
commemorate the laying of the first stone of his new government
house, on the King’s birthday, 4th June 1788. But the ceremony was
postponed, and Phillip never got around to the naming.
He went to the trouble of officially naming Parramatta, which he thought would
become the major town, in 1791, but by then he had lost interest in the
languishing settlement at Sydney Cove.
In the meantime people started to address their mail from Sydney
Cove, which eventually became Sydney Town or just Sydney. It stuck !
Sydney Town Hall
The Sydney Town Hall is possibly the only non-religious city building to retain its original function and interiors since it was built 120 years ago. Accommodation in the 19th century building includes the Council Chamber, reception rooms, the Centennial Hall and offices for the Lord Mayor and elected councillors.
The building's history is a turbulent one. After decades of unsuccessful negotiations, the city fathers finally secured a land grant from the Crown in the commercial centre of the city - as far away from colonial Government House in Macquarie Street as possible.
The site was the old cemetery next to St. Andrew's Cathedral, which required careful exhumation and transferral of bodies to other cemeteries.
In later periods, the Town Hall was referred to as a wedding cake or lollipop building, but was nevertheless representative of its time, sharing similar Victorian/Beaux-Arts (Second Empire) design concepts with the much grander City Hall in Philadelphia (1871-1901).
Central Station, Sydney, was built on the site of the Devonshire Street
Cemetery. An exhaustive process was put in place to exhume and relocate all of the graves.
The station building was opened for business in 1906. Prior to
that time, the railway terminated about 1km earlier - at Redfern Station.
It stands 68m tall and was built in 1921.
Department of Lands
Can’t find too much info on this masterpiece apart from the fact it was built in 1892 and is 70m tall. It was finished almost at exactly the same time as the GPO Building in George St !
St Mary’s Cathedral
St Mary's cathedral is the largest cathedral in Australia, 107m long by 75m tall & is the mother catholic church in Australia and 1 of 4 Minor Basilicas.
After 135 years of continuous building, the cathedral was finally completed on August 20, 2000 with the twin southern spires steel frames were added by a Russian helipcopter!
St Stephens Uniting Church
Regarded as a fine example of inter-war gothic architecture it was finished in 1935.
The ANZAC War Memorial, Hyde Park South
Architect Bruce Dellit was 29 when he won first prize in one of the most prestigious architectural competitions of the day. His design and it’s cost caused huge uproar in its day. Located on the central axis of Hyde Park South (missing the underground railway), the Memorial was made possible after a protracted fund raising program initiated in 1919. The memorial can be approached from four directions, the North and South approaches consist of grand staircases which lead to the upper circular Hall of Memory'.
The Australian Museum, College St
The present complex comprises two visually contrasting architectures - that of James Barnet (his first major work after appointment as Government Architect) and Joseph van der Steen (b.1913), designer of the major modernist addition to William Street. The original, and perhaps unfairly criticised, Mortimer Lewis building (which faced William Street) is discreetly cocooned by the later Barnet-designed wing near the corner of William and College Streets. Although Barnet planned that the main entrance should be on William Street, the building, as built, faces College Street !
The Capitol Theatre, George St
The Capitol Theatre was originally the New Belmore Market building built in 1893. It soon fell out of use, and, after languishing for years, was converted into a circus called The Hippodrome in 1913. Unfortunately, The Hippodrome was a commercial failure, and the operators soon approached Sydney Council to convert the use from a circus into an "atmospheric" theatre intended for silent movies and live performances. The interior was meant to create the illusion of sitting in a romantic courtyard under a brilliant night sky, with patrons dazzled by special climatic and lighting effects. The theatre was restored and extended jointly between the owners Sydney City Council and the developer Ipoh Garden for major musical productions in 1996 along with a retail and hotel.
The present Customs House represents a complete redesign and enlargement of an earlier 1844 building by Mortimer Lewis (1796-1879) by James Barnet (1827-1904). The earlier building had become too small and overcrowded for the expanding customs work in Sydney. The original client department occupied the building until 1990, after which the Federal Government made a gift of it to Sydney City Council together with funds for its refurbishment. There was, however, a proviso that the building be put to majority public use. Tonkin Zulaikha and Jackson, Teece, Chesterman & Willis were commissioned to convert the building into a culture and information centre with restaurants and a large central atrium space. The future of the building had been hotly contested by various interests including music organisations that wished to convert it to a recital hall.
Formerly Pinchgut Island , Sydney Harbour
One of the last Martello Towers to be built in the world, following their proliferation in southern England after the design's defensive capabilities had been proven at Cap Mortella, Corsica, in 1794.
The tower was built to defend Sydney against a possible attack by Russian warships, which never eventuated. Built from 8,000 tonnes of sandstone quarried near Kurraba Point, Neutral Bay, it was named after Sir William Denison, then NSW Governor. By the time the fort was completed, it was redundant.
The tower's gunroom still has three 8-inch muzzle-loading cannons positioned before the stonework was completed in 1857. Due to the narrow passages leading to the gun room, the cannons cannot be removed without dismantling the stone work. When a Japanese submarine entered the harbour in May 1942 (passing through the anti-submarine nets) it was fired upon by the American cruiser USS Chicago. A secondary salvo hit the Martello tower, causing minor, but still visible damage.
Built at huge expense over the Tank Stream, the General Post Office was constructed in stages from 1866 to 1891, standing 76m tall and 107m long. It could well be described as Sydney’s Opera House of the 19th century since the relative cost, the time taken in construction and the rejection, then belated recognition, of the architect are all parallels.
The project came to the attention of James Johnstone Barnet (1827-1904) when he was appointed acting Colonial Architect in 1862. The General Post Office was regarded as a building which would come to symbolise Sydney in much the same way as the Houses of parliament at Westminster symbolise London or the Eiffel Tower Paris.
At the opening of the first stage, the Post Master General exclaimed that the General Post Office ‘will not be surpassed by any other similar structure in the Southern Hemisphere’.
Unfortunately, slow progress in the second stage and some adverse comment about his carved figures sparked a controversy in Parliament. The panels over the Pitt Street colonnade depict the following subjects: Telegraph, Literature and the Press, the Professions, Commerce and Mining, Agriculture, Pastoral Pursuits, Science, Art, Banking and the Post Office. The figures were depicted in ‘present day clothing’, which led to them being unfairly described by one MP in Parliament as ‘tedious abortions’. It was such a contentious issue that a Board of Enquiry was set up, headed by the Gothic architect (and rival) William Wilkinson Wardell (1823-99). The board instructed that the ‘grotesque carvings’ be immediately removed. Fortunately, the Parliamentary report was ignored by the Post Master General and the ‘offensive’ carvings remain in all their glory. In the ‘Sydney’ panel, the architect Barnet can be seen giving instructions to a workman.
The merging of two separate Jewish congregations was the catalyst for building a new and larger synagogue in Sydney. The elaborately decorated building is noted for its fine detail (particularly columns and capitals) and a high standard of craftsmanship in carved sandstone. Clearly the design was inspired by English synagogues in London and Liverpool, incorporating exotic architectural forms in an attempt to find an appropriate eclectic style. The ornate cast-iron gates and detailed sandstone craftsmanship are noteworthy.
Hyde Park Barracks
One of Sydney’s earliest examples of refined architecture, Hyde Park Barracks was built to house transported convicts in a self-contained walled compound in a bid to solve night-time crime. It was miraculously saved from demolition after it had been left to decay for a century.
The three storey main building is the centrepiece of the walled compound, which included a cookhouse, bakery, cells and soldiers’ quarters. Its primary purpose was to house the large working convict population, which, until this project, roamed the streets at night causing street crime.
Each floor has four large rooms divided by staircases, with rows of hammocks attached to wooden rails and upright posts fixed to the floor and roof. Seventy convicts were crammed into each large room and thirty five into the smaller rooms, to bring the total to more than 800 inmates. In 1887, the interior was rebuilt to house the District Law Courts of NSW. Later, it became a project of the Historic Houses Trust, being carefully restored, conserved and converted into a museum in the early 1990s. In summer, during the Sydney festival, the grounds are crowded with people who come to the night-time jazz concerts.
This was the great retailing success of Sydney, despite the jeremiahs at the time it was being developed. The massive building was originally designed as a fresh produce market, called the Queen Victoria Markets, and construction commenced in the economically disastrous year of 1893. Architectural styles were in such a state of flux that the City Architect George McRae presented the Sydney City Councillors with four distinct design options: Renaissance, Gothic, Romanesque and Queen Anne.
American Romanesque which is "now so largely employed by American architects", according to a building journal description of the day, won out narrowly. The construction uses brick vaulting between steel beams with a heavy basalt base quarried in Bowral. The original concept of an internal glass roofed shopping street was lost with alterations in 1917 and, in 1935, it was converted to office space. A dominant feature is the 20 metre diameter central dome surrounded by twenty smaller copper sheeted cupolas.
Following proposals for its demolition to make way for a city car park, a restoration proposal was negotiated between developer Ipoh Garden and the owner Sydney City Council. Its feasibility hinged on the provision of a car park under York Street, to which Sydney Council agreed. The building is now an architectural and commercial success, commanding some of the highest retail rents in Sydney.
The lower, mezzanine level (basement) provides one of the city’s busiest pedestrian concourses connecting Town Hall railway station to the Pitt Street Mall.
At ground level, the gradual rise in George Street has been cleverly absorbed into the design with shops steadily rising in height along the length of the block.
This is a glorious fantasy palace from the 1920s built specifically to show 'talking pictures.' When opened it was billed as ‘The Empire’s greatest theatre’, which referred both to seating numbers and interior treatments.
This was perhaps the most prestigious project for Sydney architect Henry Eli White, who had recently introduced the ‘atmospheric theatre’ to Sydney through the Capitol Theatre in the Haymarket.
The lobby, crush spaces, foyers and mezzanine foyer are gold and red, lavishly animated with cast plaster figurines, statuary, foliage patterning and concealed lighting. Grand stairs lead from the foyer to the galleries, adding to the pomp and occasion associated with a good night out on the town.
A rare, rebuilt late Victorian arcade from the prosperous ‘boom’ times when Sydney experienced rapid growth in shopping arcade construction between 1880 and 1900. Inspired by London’s successful Burlington Arcade.
The Strand was the pinnacle of Sydney’s glass roofed arcades. The roof glass was tinted to provide correct lighting for the upper floor photographers.
The recent restoration after fire damage is a true representation of the original craftsmanship. The overhanging gallery is supported independently of the columns so as to obtain a clear and unobstructed view of the full length of the interior.
Although the concept of a harbour crossing was entertained fifty years earlier, it was not until 4 January, 1900 that tender designs and financial proposals were sought for a ‘North Shore’ bridge to span the harbour. This was despite Sir John Sulman’s suggestion that a tunnel was a better option.
All of the 24 schemes were criticised and thought unsatisfactory. By 1903, the firm of J Stewart and Co. had submitted one design (of many) for a single arch bridge without pylons, which is very similar to the one built today. However, this too was rejected as being ‘too huge’ and ‘objectionable’ from an artistic point of view.
Over the next fifteen years, under the guidance of one of Australia’s greatest civil structural and transport engineers, JJC Bradfield (1867-1943), the bridge project took shape. Finally, an international competition was held, with Bradfield suggesting that the design should be an arch bridge with granite faced pylons at either end.
The winning design tender by Dorman and Long (recommended by Bradfield himself) proposed the single arch design No. A3 (one of six alternatives) be built from both ends (using cable supports) and joined in the middle. The contract was let in March 1924 . The structural calculations were supervised by Ralph Freeman in London who had left the Cleveland bridge Company in the USA.
As it was an arch design, any design change required a recalculation across the entire structure, and the calculations for the bridge both in tension (cable supported) and compression (as an arch) filled twenty eight books of transcribed calculations. An impressive but high maintenance design, it kept the Dorman and Long factory in Britain busy producing steel, having agreed to an attractive payment plan with the NSW Government.
The social impact of the bridge, its construction areas, and its connecting highways involving the demolition of 800 houses, would be inconceivable today. Built between the wars, the project reduced the unemployment created by the Depression and was the greatest labour intensive project to employ 19th century work practices of sledge and cold chisel.
The span is 1,650 feet to allow unobstructed passage for ships in Sydney Harbour. Of sixteen deaths, seven were workers on the bridge structure itself (139 died during construction of the Brooklyn Bridge). Families living in its path were displaced without compensation.
St Andrews Cathedral
Built in 1868 this classic church had two pieces of stone from the Houses of Parliament in Westminster used to mark the constitutional link between Australia and the United Kingdom.
Soon after the arrival of the First Fleet, Lieutenant Dawes, under the direction of the British Board of Longitude, established an observatory at Flagstaff Hill on Dawes Point. In 1821, a second observatory was established at Parramatta.
In 1858, a new observatory, one of the few buildings designed by Alexander Dawson, enabled regular observations to commence. One feature of the building was a time-ball tower. Each day at 1pm the ball on top of the tower dropped to signal the correct time, while simultaneously, for the visually impaired, a cannon was fired at Fort Denison.
The structure incorporates geometric forms related to the housing of telescopes and scientific apparatus. However, by 1892, there was concern that the proposed railway approaches for the future harbour bridge would interfere with the telescope’s operation.
An astrographic telescope was transferred to Observatory Hill at the corner of Beecroft Road and Pennant Hills Road (Observatory Park) in 1899 until 1930, when the telescope was returned to the main observatory. The site was officially occupied by the Government Astronomer until 1982.
and last but not least........
An extraordinary site on Sydney Harbour at Bennelong Point, an ambitious state Premier (Joseph J Cahill), a visiting American architect (Eero Saarinen) and a young Dane’s billowy sketches (Joern Utzon) were the key factors which generated one of the world’s most important modern buildings.
Designed at the vast scale of the harbour itself, its low edges contain enough visual appeal for human interest. More remarkable is that the scheme makes no reference to history or to classical architectural forms. The roof is more important than the walls, consequently the language of walls - columns, divisions, windows and pediments - has been effectively dispensed with. As a public building, it conceals its usage in its lack of historical associations, and restores the concept of the ‘monument’ as being acceptable in social terms.
The Sydney Opera House also embodies timeless popular metaphors. The building’s organic shape and lack of surface decoration have made it both timeless and ageless. Moreover, it demonstrates how buildings can add to environmental experience rather than detract from it - something of spiritual value independent of function.
The building and the setting look orchestrated, and the synergy between the setting and the building make it appear that the scheme actually involved flooding the harbour valley to set the building off to best advantage.
Despite so much richness, the building has had virtually no influence on the shape and form of Australian buildings which followed. It remains something of an enigma which crowns the silent collapse of Western Classical architecture from being the one language for great public buildings.
Joern Utzon’s historic resignation causes a furore and divided the Sydney architecture profession. There were rallies and marches to Sydney Town Hall led by architects such as Peter Killar and Harry Seidler; other architects resigned their profession and became teachers, chefs, film makers and artists in protest, and the Victorian Chapter of the RAIA (but not NSW) black banned the replacement of Uzton by an Australian architect.
However, as with Governor Macquarie, Greenway, Light, Barnet and Griffin before him, Utzon’s vision had exceeded the norm. The immense difficulties of achievement were seen as a waste and the importance of controlling the state’s expenditure won the day. On 19 April 1966, the new architectural team (Lionel Todd, David Littlemore, and Peter Hall) was appointed in a whirlpool of debate.
Last edited by christarrant; April 19th, 2006 at 07:05 AM.