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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Taking more photos of brutalist buildings

Yesterday I went out around 10am to take snapshots of examples of brutalism that hadn’t yet made their way into my sample, and to get to the first target I walked south through Darling Harbour to Sussex Street where it crosses Goulburn Street. Here, near the corner, is the Labour Council of NSW and the headquarters of the Australian Labour Party in NSW at 377-383 Sussex Street, a lovely brutalist building that connects with the old 19th century Trades Hall behind it. (I wrote about the Trades Hall building earlier this month.) I had identified the building from a printout in my pocket that had a photo of the building taken from Glenn Harper’s Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship survey. I took some photos of the building from across the street to get the best angle.

Then I turned north and headed up to Druitt Street, where I turned east up the hill and then walked into York Street. As I was walking along I noticed a couple of brutalist buildings that had not been classified as such by Harper. These are at 60 York Street and 33 York Street. I took photos to add them to my collection and continued north toward Wynyard. At the corner of Margaret Street is the former Transport House, now called Wynyard Green, at 11 York Street. I took photos of it and then headed down the hill toward George Street.

Turning right into George Street, I went along to Martin Place and took some photos of the Colonial Mutual Life building at 14 Martin Place, which has a 19th century Victorian frontage with a brutalist skyscraper rising behind it on Pitt Street. Then I turned north into Pitt Street and went to Spring Street, where I took photos of the former Farmer’s and Grazier’s building at number 3.

I headed then down to the Quay and snapped this photo (below) of the building site of One Circular Quay on Alfred Street. You can see the flags that labourers often put on crane cables at building sites; there is among them a CFMEU flag and a Southern Cross flag. At the Custom’s House I went up to the library administration counter and had my borrower’s card made, then enquired about a book about the Prudential Assurance Company building (that is slated for demolition in Martin Place). I had found a listing in the National Library of Australia’s online Trove catalogue and wanted to see if I could do an inter-library loan. It turned out that that listing had been erroneous. The librarian however turned around where we were standing on the second floor of the building and pointed out the window to a number of buildings in the vicinity which he said will soon be demolished for new developments.


On the way back south up Pitt Street I saw a frontage that was constructed all of concrete and took photos. The address of the building, which is a telephone exchange, is 76-68 Pitt Street. I also took photos of a building at 31 Hunter Street (below) that is not listed in Harper’s survey. This building combines elements of brutalism (in the podium) with the more generic “international” style of the tower. The predominance of concrete in the finish is undeniable however.


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