Don’t pretend you’re not excited to explore Sydney’s most famous concrete blocks. This is a mini-post as it’s challenging to find properties in the holiday wind-down period. I traipsed around one of Sydney’s most arresting architectural sites – the Sirius public housing building at The Rocks. It would be most recognisable to people traveling along the Harbour Bridge. Unfortunately, I couldn’t gain access to the building, but a close analysis of its exteriors is justified.
Oddly, I can’t find a lot of information about the apartment block – I thought research would yield a plethora of information, but I’ve been disappointed. Concrete does have a neat article on the building that’s worth reading.
The block, which is a modernist concrete spectacle, is regularly described as an ugly monstrosity by passers-by, in my anecdotal experience. I once would have concurred, but after seeing it so regularly my view has changed – I tend to agree with Concrete‘s characterisation of the block as “a bold and exceptional experiment in low-income public housing” now.
Either way, you’ll take notice. Although my capitalist instincts kick in in opposition, it’s difficult to disregard the fact that the block was innovative in public housing design, which is generally unimpressive (Wentworth Street ‘suicide towers’, anyone?). The ground-level units have courtyards and the one, two, three and four level apartments are divided between single storey, split level and multiple levels. The walls and floors are concrete, which you’ll either hate or love, depending on your taste.
I find the communal areas at the sides of the building interesting – gardens and paved surfaces seemingly calling out for communal activity.
It might be an ugly anachronism wasting some of Sydney’s prime real estate, or it might be an interesting study in modernist housing commission projects wedged between Bradfield Highway and the Rocks. What’s your point of view?