The Australian - Wish Magazine


- David Meagher Editor

If you’ve walked around the city of Sydney in the past couple of years, you might have noticed the sheer number of constructi­on sites – and the omni present sound of jack hammers. And you might have also noticed the interestin­g hoardings the City of Sydney council requires builders to install. Some of them feature work by contempora­ry artists, others display enlarged historical black and white photograph­s that depict the city’s streets in bygone eras.

They’re absolutely fascinatin­g. Some show horsedrawn vehicles in the streets, in others those streets are bustling with cars and pedestrian­s.

One of the most intriguing aspects of these photos is that they depict the buildings that once stood on the streets. Many of them I can actually remember while others were way before my time. There were some real beauties in Sydney back then. I can’t help but feel that while placing the photos on temporary hoardings was a way to beautify them and prevent graffiti and billposter­s while giving passersby a history lesson, they also serve as a heartbreak­ing reminder of what great buildings we have lost in the name of progress, and of our addiction to demolition and rebuilding. But perhaps that was the council’s intention.

Don’ t get me wrong, I like and admire contempora­ry architectu­re (I’d even go so far as to call myself a staunch modernist), but I also have an appreciati­on for the city’s past grandeur and the craftsmans­hip and beauty in old buildings. Respecting heritage and desiring the new and modern don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

It’s a point made in a story by Luke Slattery in this month’s design-themed edition of WISH.

Luke visits two heritage houses in Tasmania that have both been given a new lease of life by two different architectu­ral firms – and both have been award winners. What unites the projects is that the architectu­ral interventi­on was premised on “a rigorous investigat­ion of the past, which is different from a nostalgic recreation”. I loathe nostalgia and I have no truck with the style of building that Prince Charles advocates, which strives to mimic the past in new constructi­ons. Architectu­re should reflect the time in which it was built, not a long-gone one.

In a similar vein to Luke’s story, writer Lisa Green looks at three recently renovated architectu­rally significan­t houses in Melbourne and Sydney. The homes are from three different eras but, as Lisa discovered, taking on a renovation like the ones featured in her story not only requires deep pockets, but a great passion for the period and style in which the house was originally built. The projects featured in her story are all in a way acts of architectu­ral philanthro­py.

Also in this issue, our Copenhagen-based writer

Jeni Porter takes a look at an unexpected trend in Danish design. While we might think of Scandinavi­an interior design as being all about blonde wood and white walls, the Danes, she says, have gone mad for colour – and lots of it.

Fiona McCarthy meets the stellar team–Renzo Piano and Daniel Goldberg–behind a new luxury apartment developmen­t in Bar angaroo; Jason M owen profiles the Los Angeles-based interior designer and antique dealer Richard Shapiro; and I meet Lyndell and Daniel Drog a–a couple who commission­ed architects D ur bach Block Jaggers to design them two extraordin­ary homes 25 years apart.

And finally, back in Sydney and its built environmen­t, deputy editor Mi land a Rout takes a look at Green Square, one of the biggest urban renewal projects in Australian history – 20 years in the making and with design at its core.

I hope you enjoy the issue.


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