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Sydney’s only brutalist building lives to see another day

A judge overturned the government’s decision to not place Sirius on the heritage list

Concrete apartment block set among cityscape.
The Sirius building was completed in 1979 and contains 79 units.
Photo by Marek

Nearly a year after officials in New South Wales rejected a plan to place the Tao Gofers-designed brutalist apartment building in Sydney, Australia, on the heritage list, a judge has overturned the decision.

This move protects the 1970s-era Sirius tower—Sydney’s only example of brutalist architecture—from being demolished—for now. According to Dezeen, Mark Speakman, then the state’s heritage minister and now its attorney general, planned to tear down the 79-unit complex to fund and make way for a larger development project that would create 240 new public housing apartments.

But Judge Simon Molesworth ruled that Speakman was wrong in his assessment that a heritage listing would cause financial hardship to the government agency that owns Sirius, and that he failed to consider the building’s historical significance.

On the flip side, Speakman believes that listing Sirius would cost the government a potential 70 million AUD (approximately $56 million) from the sale of the building’s site—funds that would go toward the construction of social housing.

"Whatever its heritage value, even at its highest that value is greatly outweighed by what would be a huge loss of extra funds from the sale of the site, funds the government intends to use to build social housing for families in great need," Mr Speakman told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Still, the future of Sirius is not certain. It will require another decision by the new heritage minister Gabrielle Upton whether to place it on the heritage list or not.

Via: Dezeen, The Sydney Morning Herald