Whilst roaming around the city of Sydney last week scouting a location for a future shoot I spent a lot of time looking up. This isn’t something you do often in the CBD, I don’t really understand why, I mean the view looking up is much grander than watching the masses of people slide by like Balinese traffic. It took me by surprise how many smaller older building are still standing, these are the buildings that we overlook because they have been there that long and have become part of the cityscape. These buildings tucked up tight against the modern glazed buildings we have become accustomed to remind me of scenes from 2 children’s movies Stuart Little and Mr Magoriums Magic Emporium both based in NY city. Which got me thinking about one constant in architecture is having to deal with the past, whether it be historical surrounds or site issues. All spaces have history and I find it fascinating how each architect or designer has chosen to deal with the history of the site or surrounds.
When the Hilton Hotel was redesigned by JWP in 2005 the palette of materials sandstone and limestone that were used on the lower levels complemented the surrounding buildings on George St predominately the QVB and Town Hall. It has also softened the transition between the commercial ground floors and the brutal reminder of the 1960’s concrete tower above. Meanwhile the building next door the free standing federation style building of Simpson House designed by Robertson & Marks in 1912 is a century old and has witnessed 3 rebuilds including JWP’s latest yet it still somehow fits in. That being said what will is look like when the monorail which traverses past and through the building next door is decommissioned later this year?