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Sydney Plans Large-Scale Urban Renewal Program

The government of New South Wales have announced plans for Sydney's largest program of urban renewal since the 2000 Summer Olympics. The proposal seeks to utilise and regenerate a series of former docklands from the area of Blackwattle Bay, through the Sydney Fish Market, Rozelle Bay and Rozelle Rail Yards, to White Bay Power Station (a protected building).

Spotlight: Jørn Utzon

Pritzker Prize winning architect Jørn Utzon, who died in 2008 aged 90, was the relatively unknown Dane who, on the 29th January 1957, was announced as the winner of the ‘International competition for a national opera house at Bennelong Point, Sydney’. When speaking about this iconic building, Louis Kahn stated that:

The sun did not know how beautiful its light was, until it was reflected off this building.

Unfortunately, Utzon never saw the Sydney Opera House, his most popular work, completed. Learn of his fascinating story, after the break.

Original Drawing - Sydney Opera House. Image © Jørn Utzon / Courtesy of Bibliodyssey Original Drawing - Sydney Opera House. Image © Jørn Utzon / Courtesy of Bibliodyssey Original Drawing - Sydney Opera House. Image © Jørn Utzon / Courtesy of Bibliodyssey Original Roof Plan - Sydney Opera House. Image © Jørn Utzon / Courtesy of Bibliodyssey

Crone Partners Rethink the Community Center in Rhodes

Australian practice Crone Partners has recently won a competition to design a new community precinct in Rhodes, New South Wales. Starting with the intention to rethink the traditional community building and civic space typology, Crone Partner's winning design features clusters of spaces with programs subdividing by size and demands. In moving away from traditional public buildings, which are "characterised by [their] scale, elaborate and sometimes extravagant aesthetic", their proposal was no longer "constrained by a singular form".

The Tale of Sydney's Urban Sellout

A recent, well-written article for The Guardian chronicles the story of Sydney's East Darling Harbour (also known as 'Barangaroo'), from the city's optimism in 2003 to the relative disappointment of today. David Shoebridge, a New South Wales Greens MP and the party's planning spokesperson, recounts the series of compromises and sellouts that have turned what was meant to be a "prime public space" into - to add insult to injury - the site for a casino.You can read this cautionary tale in full here.

The Sydney Opera House: Celebrating 40 Years

Today is the 40th anniversary of the completion of the Sydney Opera House, the symbol of Australia. Since its opening in 1973, the Opera House has welcomed over 65 million people to more than 80,000 memorable events. To celebrate, an Anniversary program will run from mid to late October, with concerts, tours, exhibitions, and cake! A true masterpiece that continues to redefine the ambitions of Australia, the Opera House is part of an incredible story, a work of architecture that belongs to everyone.

© Flickr - User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee © Jozef Vissel © Flickr - User: Heaven's Gate (John) © Tomas Klein

The Opera House Project: Telling the Story of Australia's Icon

To coincide with the 40th anniversary of the completion of Danish architect Jørn Utzon's Sydney Opera House, The Opera House Project takes you on a journey from the project's inception in 1954 - known as Design 218 - to the completed masterpiece up to 2012, and all the personal, political and technical struggles that the designers were faced with. As expressed by Sam Doust, writer and director of the project, the epic journey is based on an "aspiration to perfection" and then the "failure to achieve it".

UNSW Alumni Park Competition Entry / ASPECT Studios

ASPECT Studios, in collaboration with Choi Ropiha Fighera, Barbara Flynn Grounds, ARUP, Deuce Design and People for Places and Spaces, was recently selected as one of five finalists by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in a design competition for Alumni Park. In an effort to reconnect the University’s spatial hierarchy and movement patterns, the architects provide clearly articulated wayfinding and circulation routes with the new 2ha ‘Social Spine’. More images and architects' description after the break.

Green Square Library and Plaza Competition Entry / Felix

The Green Square Library and Plaza designed by Felix aims to be truly new public arena which will act as the hub of the vibrant community. Their design presents a building and landscape that engenders a contemporary public space for the community.  Understanding the demands of a contemporary public library, the plaza has been designed as an essential part of the library’s function. With the proliferation of printed books, the reading room, once the center of the library’s function, is revisited in this library as an experience through the multi-functional community orientated space. More images and architects’ description after the break.