What Sydney can learn from London’s approach to brutalist architecture

Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore launched a book about Sydney’s most famous brutalist building, Sirius, this week.

The book explains how the story of Sirius began with the 1970s Battle for The Rocks and a Green Ban, which saved a historic precinct and a community. The Green Ban held for four years during which there was no building until everyone agreed to build Sirius. In the book Tao Gofers, the architect of the building, explains how this agreement was reached and how he designed a vertical village, perhaps the last, and arguably the most successful, tower built for public housing in this era.

In July 2016 the Baird government announced the building would not be heritage listed despite a unanimous recommendation by the Heritage Council. The government intends to replace the 79 social housing apartments with 250 luxury apartments. The Save our Sirius group, which continues to fight for heritage listing for the building, says it is a fine and rare example of the brutalist style of architecture in Australia.

London has more than 50 prominent brutalist buildings – most of which are preserved by law. Why is it then, that Sydney’s world-famous Sirius building is on the brink of destruction?

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