Tao Gofers, besides being an architect, happens to be a very talented tour guide! Fortunately he is backed up by Ben and Amiera who are very talented at organisation. Together they have run more than 80 tours; more than 1200 people have been guided around Sirius by Tao. This is all part of our hearts-and-minds campaign. We believe you’ve got to know the building to understand the building. Jack Mundey knew what sort of building it would be when walked out of that meeting back in the 1970s, and stood on that footpath – Jack had a media throng waiting for him, and he just announced that Sirius would be built.
It’s that same very reason – knowing and understanding this remarkable building – that brings others out in support of it. There’s a poster campaign, there are some poster over there for sale. The posters are designed by a fellow called Peter Chadwick. That mightn’t mean much to many of you, but there are some young faces in the audience. Peter Chadwick is actually the guy that designed the Groove Armada albums, the Fat Boy Slim albums, so he is graphic design royalty. He also runs This Brutal House Instagram account, so the Save Our Sirius campaign has connected into this broader brutalist movement, and I think also to a broader community movement.
The fight for Sirius continues. At the moment we’re waiting on a decision from the government. We hope there will be a moment where we can hit the pause button and the Premier can sit down with us and talk about viable options for Sirius, going into the future. All options start with Sirius being listed on the State Heritage Register. And the reason we need it listed on the State Heritage Register is because once it’s there it cannot be demolished.once it’s there it cannot be demolished.
So, in an ideal world, we’d like to be pure about these things and we’d love to say, “Look, let’s just return it back to the community.” I’m not sure that’s necessarily going to fly with this mob. I’m not necessarily sure that they’re going to be able to go on it next time. I hope, but we’re not sure.
So anyway, we have, in a very pragmatic way gone to the government and also gone to Lend Lease and talked about a social and affordable housing mix in that traditional social housing model. At the moment we haven’t had much luck talking to either of them, so now we’re broadcasting it loud and wide, on the air waves and through the media, so hopefully Lend Lease and the government might sit down and talk about solutions of listing Sirius on the State Heritage Register, keeping our aged care social housing within that building and also deploying it for the affordable housing that apparently is a priority for this government.
While I am in a political moment here, I might move to another one.
It’s my duty to introduce Philip Thalis. Now, Margaret asked me and it was a great honour for me, because going through university, Philip was my lecturer. And sort of became, not only mine, but many others’ mentor.
For Philip and his co-author, and sort of partner in crime, a fellow called Peter John Cantrill, the city was so much more, and they knew and they understood the city so intrinsically, and they felt it was their duty to be able to impart that knowledge to fresh young minds that were learning about the city. So they flogged us to death through the course, it was the best flogging we’ve ever had.
We learned intrinsically about how cities start from nothing, and they grow and they change and they become places. And we learnt that streets are not roads, but they’re streets. And on the streets, people live, and they have front doors, and they have trees, and that this idea of publicness is fundamental to how we all live in the city.
Philip also taught us that cities come from public places, the public realm. That you make great cities around public places and the public realm. Sirius and Millers Point have always been public. If we want to have a great city, we need to have these public places. If we want to have a great city, we need to be able to value that public realm and those communities that live within it.
I always thought Clover’s great announcement, when she first got into government, was that she was going to create a city of villages. That seemed almost radical 12 years ago, and here we are 12 years later, and we have these villages. It’s just upsetting that one village is being torn apart.
But let’s talk about Philip. Philip’s an award-winning architect. I read his bio today. He’s only won 40 awards, state and national, he’s won many architectural competitions, both national and international. The ones that really resonate with many or might stick in their mind is the Sydney Olympic Village, and of course, just over the hill there at Barangaroo, which makes us ponder how good it could have been.
Of course, he is also the co-author of what I think is the most seminal book in the last generation on the city and on architecture, a book called Public Sydney: Drawing the City. Philip co-authored that with his partner in crime, Peter John Cantrill and a really extraordinary book of how to understand the city through those three different scales: the human scale, the street scale and the city scale. But also how you understand that public places anchor and make a great city.
So that’s enough from me, I’m going to hand over to Councilor Philip Thalis.