• Inside the Collection

Category: Architecture and Urban Design

Design Nation: When Australian Design Moulded the World

March 1, 2018

Colonised Australia felt it had grown into an independent, and quite sexy young adult by the 1980s. The 1988 bicentenary was a celebration of all that Europeans had acheived in Australia in 200 years.  It was also a year which benefited from the optimism of the Wran NSW Labor Government - which commissioned, among other public institutions and spaces, the ingeniously designed converted power station as the new home for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Ultimo, Sydney.

World AIDS Day 2016

November 28, 2016

HIV is still here - and it's on the move For folk who lived through the 1980s, AIDS was an omnipresent gargoyle. The disease was part of the contemporary culture. It had insinuated itself into current affairs stories and commercials, into youth culture, gay culture, tea-room discussions, into jokes, bullying; and into people’s bodies.

Sydney’s Capitol Theatre – a century of entertainment

December 29, 2015

Have you ever wondered why the Capitol Theatre in Sydney's Haymarket is such a strange design? It was originally a fruit and veggie market! 2016 marks the theatre’s 100th birthday. What a century it’s been, filled with performing seals, elephants, mermaids and now the von Trapp children.

Happy Birthday to our Sydney Opera House

October 20, 2015

On this day in 1973, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Sydney Opera House. The ABC beamed the occasion by satellite to an appreciative world. Closer to home there were sighs of relief from the politicians, architects and engineers who had, to that time, weathered one controversy after another.

The Goods Line – then and now

September 3, 2015

Yesterday I took a stroll along Sydney's newest pedestrian walkway, The Goods Line. It opened last Sunday (30 August 2015) and goes from the Ultimo Road railway bridge to the Museum's new entrance in Macarthur Street, Ultimo, an inner Sydney suburb.

Prize pool

July 30, 2014

A lot of people were pleased when Prince Alfred Park swimming pool starred at the recent 2014 NSW architecture awards. As well as the prize gong, the Sulman Medal for public architecture, the new pool received the Lloyd Rees Award for urban design.

Ultimo on the edge

July 21, 2014

The Powerhouse is located in what is now the densest suburb in Australia. With 14,300 people per square kilometre Pyrmont/Ultimo packs more residents into less space than any suburb or town in the nation.

Powerhouse goes to Venice

June 11, 2014

The Venice Architecture Biennale launched on the weekend. As the new Australian pavilion is under construction the Australian exhibition for Venice uses augmented reality apps to create Augmented Australia, a virtual, mobile exhibition.

Monterey Moderne

June 9, 2014

With design historian Michael Bogle I recently completed a heritage report and a visitors’ guide called Monterey Moderne.  Commissioned by Rockdale City Council the report and guide are about a group of 1930s houses in the streamlined Moderne style in the small suburb of Monterey on the western shore of Botany Bay.

Neville’s Pompidou

April 30, 2014

  During the late 1970s I was living in England researching a doctorate. I also enjoyed a lot of museums including during a visit to Paris the Centre Pompidou, which had only been open for a year or so.

Fibro coast

April 16, 2014

The Gold Coast City Gallery has been displaying the exhibition Fibro Coast; it will soon be at the University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery. Fibro Coast is about the holiday architecture that is still a feature of the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

Max Dupain and Chris Vandyke

March 17, 2014

You might have seen the story re the State Library of NSW's recent acquisition of a photo album containing a different version of Max Dupain's well-known 1937 'Sunbaker' photo. That Max disliked the widely published version doesn't strike me as headline cultural news (well done to the State Library's pr people tho).