Australian studio CplusC Architectural Workshop has envisioned a Tetris-like extension to the demolition-threatened Sirius building in Sydney. The architecture firm proposes the conceptual scheme as an alternative to demolishing the brutalist social housing building, which the New South Wales (NSW) government plans to sell off for redevelopment.
Each of the 79 residences of the original building is contained in a cube of concrete, giving the building a distinctive terraced outline. Drawing inspiration from this modular form, as well as Moshe Safdie's iconic Habitat 67 housing complex, the architects propose a series of towers made up of staggered blocks and terraces.
"Designed to incorporate the existing building and preserve the current iconic brutalist façade, the proposal expands vertically and horizontally with one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartment pods," explained the studio, which also took cues from the conceptual work of Archigram and the Japanese metabolist movement. "Immersed in greenery throughout all living spaces, the pods branch off the current vertical circulation cores, providing a practical link between old and new."
The building was designed by architect Tao Gofers in the 1970s. It is located in the The Rocks area of the city, giving residents unparalleled views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge across the water.
A rigorous preservation campaign, public protests, and a ban on unionized workforces partaking in the demolition works led by Save our Sirius has failed to see the building heritage listed. New South Wales' Environment & Heritage Minister Mark Speakman made the decision not to list the building in the summer of 2016.
The proposed redevelopment of the apartment block is part of a wider sell-off of public housing throughout the nearby Millers Point neighborhood, which many claim will marginalize the city's low-income residents.
Just two residents remain at the Sirius building, one of whom has installed a huge illuminated “SOS” sign in her upper floor window.
Speakman's decision not to heritage list the building will be challenged at a hearing at the NSW Land and Environment Court on April 6–7, 2017.
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