In December 2015 the Sirius apartments and their residents are under severe threat. The Heritage Council has nominated Sirius to be listed on the State Heritage Register. Mark Speakman, Minister for the Environment is expected to announce his decision about the listing within weeks, but residents have been told the building is to be sold and replaced by luxury apartments, and they must leave in the next few months.
The SOS – Save Our Sirius Foundation has been formed by people and organisations campaigning to save Sirius and its residents and is supported by the National Trust, the Australian Institute of Architects, the Millers Point Residents Action Group, Friends of Millers Point, Millers Point Public Housing Tenants Group, Unions NSW, CFMEU, and Jack Mundey, legendary Green Ban campaigner who helped save The Rocks from redevelopment in the 1970s and was instrumental in the building of Sirius. The Foundation has middle-ground solutions for saving Sirius while achieving the government’s aims. Read about these solutions.
Sirius is a fine and rare example of the Brutalist style of architecture in Australia. It demonstrates Brutalism’s objective of ethical design based on social concerns as well as its focus on the truthful expression of materials, function and structure.
Brutalism is not well known in Australia, but internationally it is highly regarded. The Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) in Frankfurt has launched #SOSBrutalism, a growing database that currently contains over 700 Brutalist buildings. But, more importantly, #SOSBrutalism is a platform for a large campaign ‘to save our beloved concrete monsters’. The buildings in the database marked red are in particular jeopardy. There are few Australian entries in the project, but amongst the fifty buildings on the endangered list is Sirius. This is an unprecedented initiative: #SOSBrutalism is open to everyone who wants to join the campaign to save Brutalist buildings! It is a powerful tool that allows fans of Brutalism to communicate with one another across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and so on.
“…what characterises the New Brutalism… is precisely its brutality, its je-m’en-foutisme, its bloody-mindedness.” —Reyner Banham, 1955
#SOSBrutalism will also lead into an exhibition which will be jointly organized by the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) and the Wüstenrot Stiftung. It will be on display at the DAM, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, starting in April 2017.
SOS – Save our Sirius
The SOS lights are switched on and every night sending out the message SOS – Save our Sirius. On New Year’s Eve, between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House visitors will read the message: SOS – Save our Sirius.
Here are links to other stories about Sirius on this site and elsewhere:
- The People of Sirius
- The Place: Sirius
- The heritage importance of a community
- Details of the proposed listing. Submissions have now closed. They have led to a successful outcome of sorts. The Heritage Council voted for Sirius to be listed on the State Heritage Register, but at the same time, Brad Hazzard, Minister for Social Housing, has indicated he wants residents out and the building replaced by 250 luxury units. The Minister for the Environment could reject the recommendation of the Heritage Council. His decision is expected in early 2016.