Sirius Building replacement must represent today not copy the past

Sirius Building replacement must represent today not copy the past
Sirius Building replacement must represent today not copy the past


The announcement by the NSW Government that the Sirius Building in the Rocks will not receive heritage listing opens the way for a sympathetic yet modern replacement.

The Minister for Heritage, Mark Speakman, has not supported the nomination of the Sirius Building in the Rocks as a state heritage item.

The Urban Taskforce agrees with the Minister that the building is of dubious heritage value and that a new building could yield significant funds for social housing.

We are however concerned by statements by the Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Dominic Perrottet that a replacement building should be made of brick and stone. The current Sirius Building was very innovatory in its day and while it is in the brutalist architectural style that many people are not comfortable with, it did attempt to be of its time rather than a pastiche of the past.

It is important that a replacement building is about the spirit of today while understanding its context.

A good example of the blending of new and old is demonstrated by the new building over the ‘Money Box’ building in Martin Place. The modern interpretation of the proportions and scale of the existing façade have been carried into a modern glass office building set back from the old façade. The 5 Martin Place project last week won the Urban Taskforce Urban Renewal Development Award at the Development Excellence Awards 2016.”

While The Rocks is a very special precinct it is important that new architecture and structures represent the aspirations of today while respecting the sensitive context.

The site of the Sirius Building is adjacent to the Sydney Harbour Bridge approach and this heritage structure must also be respected.

Chris Johnson is chief executive officer of property development industry group Urban Taskforce and can be contacted here. 

The Rocks Heritage Property

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