Culture

Brutalist Sydney Map: Exploring architecture and design of Brutalist buildings

Following Brutalist maps for London, Paris, and Washington, Blue Crow Media publishes another charting such structures in the Australian city

Apr 29, 2017 | By AFP Relaxnews
Molecular Science and Biochemistry building, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Molecular Science and Biochemistry building, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

The Brutalist architecture aesthetic has always provoked extreme reactions. Considered “concrete eyesores” in the past, the perspective has shifted considerably, yielding a rising popularity and even a “design icon” status. London-based independent city guide publisher Blue Crow Media has accordingly placed a spotlight on this genre. A Brutalist guide to Sydney was released Monday (following three previous Brutalist maps of London, Paris, Washington; a Brutalist Boston Map will also be available in Spring 2017). The publisher has also released other internationally-minded maps highlighting urban Art Deco and Constructivism.

Sydney Town Hall, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Sydney Town Hall, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Each two-sided guide includes a map, an introduction to the movement in the city, and stark black-and-white photographs. Details for each building include the precise location and the architects or practice responsible for the construction.

The Brutalist Sydney Map encompasses 50 of the most significant examples, within the city and suburbs. Lesser-known structures include the Buhrich House II (conceived by the émigré architects Hugh and Eva Buhrich) and the Eastern Suburbs Railway Vents (attributed to Mansfield Jarvis and Maclurcan). There are edifices that may need to be commemorated through the photographs, like the Sirius Apartments, by Tao Gofers and the former New South Wales (NSW) Housing Commission (likely to be sold without heritage listing), and Bidura Children’s Court, by former NSW Government Architect (now sold and likely to be demolished).

Bidura Children's Court, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Bidura Children’s Court, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Brutalism by the mid-1970s was well-adopted within the architectural practices of Sydney. The city’s luminous disposition seemed an ideal setting to highlight the textured surfaces of this architectural approach. Key to the adoption of this was the NSW Government Architect and the design architects of the NSW Public Works Department. The range of public projects in this style was pushed forward through collaborations with European-trained émigré architects.

Glenn Harper, a Senior Associate Architect and urban designer at Sydney’s PTW Architects, founded @Brutalist_Project_Sydney, and documented this aesthetic for the guide.

 
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