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Sydney Building burns

By 18 February 2014 22

The Sydney Building, which houses some of Canberra’s beloved food and drink venues, was ablaze yesterday. Fire chiefs feel that it is still structurally sound, but it’s not yet been reported which businesses were damaged (except for Coo, which may be where the fire started).

Read more at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-17/fire-in-sydney-building-restaurant-in-civic/5263984

Hard to believe that this wasn’t posted on RA yesterday! [ED. Harder still to believe that the sydney building hasn't gone up in flames sooner if stories of dodgy electrical wiring are to be believed]

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22 Responses to
Sydney Building burns
sepi 1:43 pm
18 Feb 14
#1

I think the Phoenix is still locked up.

c_c™ 2:23 pm
18 Feb 14
#2

Sydney Building has gone up several times. Mooseheads (which isn’t even ancient history, it was only 10 years ago), Blue Moon Cafe, all the way back to when a government department was victim to arson. They built them tough back in the day, fire hasn’t blemished it (unlike the poor upkeep by its multiple owners).

zorro29 3:08 pm
18 Feb 14
#3

Yeah….and Canberra has made the Sydney news twice this week (the rock theft story and this)…big time guys.

Looked pretty serious on the news. :(

Jivrashia 3:21 pm
18 Feb 14
#4

Built in the 1920s. So they’re already 90 or so years old.

The buildings are good examples of the Inter-War Mediterranean style, displaying key features of the style such as light-coloured smooth walling, medium pitch roofs of Roman pattern tiles, round arches, arcaded loggias and formal entrance treatments.
http://www.inthecitycanberra.com.au/business-in-the-city/city-facts/heritage-sites/

Lovely, but maybe it can do with a makeover, especially if it’s starting to fall apart and causing serious hazards.

Antagonist 4:50 pm
18 Feb 14
#5

The Sydney and Melbourne buildings are eyesores located on prime real estate. The only shame here is that the Sydney Building did not burn to the ground.

troll-sniffer 10:19 pm
18 Feb 14
#6

Antagonist said :

The Sydney and Melbourne buildings are eyesores located on prime real estate. The only shame here is that the Sydney Building did not burn to the ground.

You’re obviously an idiot. You probably consider the Belconnen Mall to be far more aesthetic and a far better use of scarce prime land. Either way your statement is fatuous, groundless and pointless.

gooterz 10:32 pm
18 Feb 14
#7

Antagonist said :

The Sydney and Melbourne buildings are eyesores located on prime real estate. The only shame here is that the Sydney Building did not burn to the ground.

Sadly i think we should wait till canberra’s architecture improves.

magiccar9 10:44 pm
18 Feb 14
#8

Antagonist said :

The Sydney and Melbourne buildings are eyesores located on prime real estate. The only shame here is that the Sydney Building did not burn to the ground.

I’m with you on this one. While its sad to see such a historic element damaged/destroyed they are quite possibly two of the ugliest buildings in the city. They could really be redeveloped to be a bigger draw card for the area.

c_c™ 10:52 pm
18 Feb 14
#9

Antagonist said :

The Sydney and Melbourne buildings are eyesores located on prime real estate. The only shame here is that the Sydney Building did not burn to the ground.

Unlike a lot of the trashy buildings that line Northbourne, Corranderrk, etc, Sydney and Melbourne are beautiful examples of architecture, do have vital heritage value and have a wonderful amount of potential. Walk though the Strand Arcade Sydney Arcade between Pitt and King St or QVB in Sydney and you can see the value, these two buildings are as close to that as we have.

But successive administration have totally screwed up Civic planning. The Melbourne Building is looking better now, though the Northbourne side still lags. But the Sydney building has been totally messed up by those planning decisions. Different owners aren’t required to maintain the building collectively, meaning you have the individual segments that make up the building being different colours and different levels of cleanliness.

You have no control being exercised over the precinct’s character, meaning most of the businesses are frankly grungy and of low value. Doesn’t help two nightclub owners now own about half of it.

And you had the NCDC/ACT Governments whip out in the 80s/90s on plans to build a permanent bus station next to present day CMAG on that carpark in a custom built, semi-underground facility. Meaning on three sides, the Sydney building is cut off by heavy vehicle movements.

A_Cog 3:53 pm
19 Feb 14
#10

c_c™ said :

… Sydney and Melbourne [buildings] … have vital heritage value and have a wonderful amount of potential…

I HATE heritage arguments. The “heritage value” of these buildings is due to the amount of time they’ve stood there, nothing more. The trees and rocks they displaced were there longer, and the architecture is reminiscent of some cheap taco-themed restaurant. Viva Corona!

As for the “potential”, these prime blocks could be 6-10 story office complexes and shopping malls with childcare centres for all the people working in the city, or apartment complexes with 20% social housing, or multi-story carparks to address the shortage of parking spots. But nup, let’s keep ‘em coz [very few] people think they’re pretty.

When people talk about “heritage” what they really mean is “let’s freeze Canberra in 1956, force people into soulless satellites like Crace and Gungahlin, worsen commuting times coz we won’t make the city core ultra-high-density… coz I like how it looks and I don’t want ANYTHING to change IN ANY WAY coz I’m comfy.”

Gungahlin Al 5:02 pm
19 Feb 14
#11

Antagonist said :

The Sydney and Melbourne buildings are eyesores located on prime real estate. The only shame here is that the Sydney Building did not burn to the ground.

Perhaps we should apply the prime real estate argument to parks too? Such a waste…

A visit to Rome or Athens would be pretty pointless if planners listened to people with such near horizons as you’ve demonstrated here. Stupid bunch of old columns wasting prime real estate on top of that mountain when there could be an amazing 5-star resort there. Imagine how many offices can’t be built on that land being wasted by the Colloseum pile of rubble…

I like the Sydney and Melbourne Buildings, their architecture has merit, and with some care they could again become highly valuable centres of Canberra social life.

Plus my mum had her first business in the Sydney Building way back in the 60s…

Observing 5:03 pm
19 Feb 14
#12

A_Cog said :

c_c™ said :

… Sydney and Melbourne [buildings] … have vital heritage value and have a wonderful amount of potential…

I HATE heritage arguments. The “heritage value” of these buildings is due to the amount of time they’ve stood there, nothing more. The trees and rocks they displaced were there longer, and the architecture is reminiscent of some cheap taco-themed restaurant. Viva Corona!

As for the “potential”, these prime blocks could be 6-10 story office complexes and shopping malls with childcare centres for all the people working in the city, or apartment complexes with 20% social housing, or multi-story carparks to address the shortage of parking spots. But nup, let’s keep ‘em coz [very few] people think they’re pretty.

When people talk about “heritage” what they really mean is “let’s freeze Canberra in 1956, force people into soulless satellites like Crace and Gungahlin, worsen commuting times coz we won’t make the city core ultra-high-density… coz I like how it looks and I don’t want ANYTHING to change IN ANY WAY coz I’m comfy.”

Let me explain the heritage argument using some of your words so that you understand why people make it:

When people mean ‘heritage’ they mean ‘most of the people here actually think that set of buildings are quite nice, even though some like you disagree and would like souless buildings like Crace to be moved to be smack bang in the centre of the city’. If heritage was used as you say, we would not have ANY houses at all that were not built in 1956. Now in reality, we have a mix of houses from 1920s through to the 1950s and up until now. Heritage is knowing that some are ugly and some a considered by the majority as being good examples of architecture. We keep the ones that are seen as ‘nice’, or have character or have history and remove the ones that are seen as ugly to be replaced with something better and hopefully nicer.

You may disagree with what is a good example, but the fact is, the majority do think it is nice to look at, as proven by the fact it was broadcast on Sydney news and highlighted as a heritage building.

So hopefully this will give you a dummies guide to the heritage argument. But basically the guide is – just because you disagree with its worth doesn’t mean most people agree with you. It does sound like you are calling for a forest of Stalinist style of cheap giant grey concrete structures to be built in Canberra. In which case, maybe you should reconsider whether the city is quite where you want to live? There are plenty of cities in places such as China that may make your ideal city lifestyle a reality.

Funky1 6:03 pm
19 Feb 14
#13

A_Cog said :

c_c™ said :

… Sydney and Melbourne [buildings] … have vital heritage value and have a wonderful amount of potential…

As for the “potential”, these prime blocks could be 6-10 story office complexes and shopping malls with childcare centres for all the people working in the city, or apartment complexes with 20% social housing, or multi-story carparks to address the shortage of parking spots. But nup, let’s keep ‘em coz [very few] people think they’re pretty.

You mean like New Acton, where they started with a clean slate of mainly gravel carparks?? Please point out to me the shopping malls, childcare centres, social housing or multi-level carparks they build in that prime location.

schmeah 6:54 pm
19 Feb 14
#14

Heritage my a$& .. There’s almost zero consideration given to aesthetics or heritage when it comes to houses and streetscapes in the inner north/south so why should the crack house that is the Sydney building be any different.

I agree, the Melbourne building is in much better condition, but the Sydney has been occupied by nothing but street pissing bums and sleezy clubs for ages. Do something to improve it or just get rid of it.

Roundhead89 6:59 pm
19 Feb 14
#15

Funky1 said :

A_Cog said :

c_c™ said :

… Sydney and Melbourne [buildings] … have vital heritage value and have a wonderful amount of potential…

As for the “potential”, these prime blocks could be 6-10 story office complexes and shopping malls with childcare centres for all the people working in the city, or apartment complexes with 20% social housing, or multi-story carparks to address the shortage of parking spots. But nup, let’s keep ‘em coz [very few] people think they’re pretty.

You mean like New Acton, where they started with a clean slate of mainly gravel carparks?? Please point out to me the shopping malls, childcare centres, social housing or multi-level carparks they build in that prime location.

… or maybe the notoriously fast-tracked Lego buildings which were put up in Civic between 1985 and ’88. I worked in one of them – Customs House – in mid 1989 and even then it was already falling apart.

Antagonist 7:23 pm
19 Feb 14
#16

I never said the buildings had no heritage value. I said they are an eyesore. They’re butt-ugly. P!ss troughs for the local drug addicts. Nearly every single commenter that thinks they are good examples of architecture had to qualify their contributions by agreeing that these buildings look bl–dy awful! For example:

c_c™ said :

…But the Sydney building has been totally messed up by those planning decisions. Different owners aren’t required to maintain the building collectively, meaning you have the individual segments that make up the building being different colours and different levels of cleanliness.

Gungahlin Al said :

… with some care they could again become highly valuable centres of Canberra social life.

Seriously, take a good look at them from different angles and be honest with yourself. From street level they are filthy and ugly. From other nearby office buildings overlooking them, they are even uglier and dirtier. From the alleyways behind the shopfronts, they are REALLY ugly. Then go inside the buildings and the story is exactly the same – uglier than a bin full of a__holes.

Observing said :

You may disagree with what is a good example, but the fact is, the majority do think it is nice to look at, as proven by the fact it was broadcast on Sydney news and highlighted as a heritage building.

Observing: The fact that the buildings were featured in the Sydney news does not ‘prove’ people think the buildings are nice to look at. It means they thought Sydney viewers might think it is a newsworthy item.

troll-sniffer said :

You’re obviously an idiot. You probably consider the Belconnen Mall to be far more aesthetic and a far better use of scarce prime land. Either way your statement is fatuous, groundless and pointless.

The only fatuous, groundless and pointless statement is your (non)contribution. I rather like buildings such as the Shine Dome (Academy of Science), National Library, Church of St Andrew and a whole bunch more. But I am glad you were here to let me know I am obviously an idiot for thinking (as many others do) that these buildings are butt ugly. I might never have known if you had not been here to tell me with your insightful contribution.

farq 8:09 pm
19 Feb 14
#17

Without the Melbourne and Sydney buildings civic would look like an Ikea city.

Queen_of_the_Bun 9:39 pm
19 Feb 14
#18

A_Cog said :

c_c™ said :

… Sydney and Melbourne [buildings] … have vital heritage value and have a wonderful amount of potential…

I HATE heritage arguments. The “heritage value” of these buildings is due to the amount of time they’ve stood there, nothing more. The trees and rocks they displaced were there longer, and the architecture is reminiscent of some cheap taco-themed restaurant. Viva Corona!

As for the “potential”, these prime blocks could be 6-10 story office complexes and shopping malls with childcare centres for all the people working in the city, or apartment complexes with 20% social housing, or multi-story carparks to address the shortage of parking spots. But nup, let’s keep ‘em coz [very few] people think they’re pretty.

When people talk about “heritage” what they really mean is “let’s freeze Canberra in 1956, force people into soulless satellites like Crace and Gungahlin, worsen commuting times coz we won’t make the city core ultra-high-density… coz I like how it looks and I don’t want ANYTHING to change IN ANY WAY coz I’m comfy.”

That’s a very long bow to draw, particularly when so many apartments are being built in the city, inner north and inner south.

I like the Sydney and Melbourne Buildings. That doesn’t mean I am forcing people to live in Crace.

GardeningGirl 11:16 pm
19 Feb 14
#19

The Sydney and Melbourne Buildings are beautiful, but they look terribly run down. It’s an absolute disgrace that some of the oldest most heritagey buildings in this young city, at the top of the main road into town, and originally built by individual owners to a common design, are now in such varying states of mostly poor condition while the meddlesome government, which makes a fuss about things like people wanting to build front fences or remove trees, seems to have no interest or influence over such a significant and potential wonderful location!

TallBoy 12:56 am
20 Feb 14
#20

Antagonist said :

I never said the buildings had no heritage value. I said they are an eyesore. They’re butt-ugly. P!ss troughs for the local drug addicts. Nearly every single commenter that thinks they are good examples of architecture had to qualify their contributions by agreeing that these buildings look bl–dy awful! For example:

c_c™ said :

…But the Sydney building has been totally messed up by those planning decisions. Different owners aren’t required to maintain the building collectively, meaning you have the individual segments that make up the building being different colours and different levels of cleanliness.

Gungahlin Al said :

… with some care they could again become highly valuable centres of Canberra social life.

Seriously, take a good look at them from different angles and be honest with yourself. From street level they are filthy and ugly. From other nearby office buildings overlooking them, they are even uglier and dirtier. From the alleyways behind the shopfronts, they are REALLY ugly. Then go inside the buildings and the story is exactly the same – uglier than a bin full of a__holes.

Observing said :

You may disagree with what is a good example, but the fact is, the majority do think it is nice to look at, as proven by the fact it was broadcast on Sydney news and highlighted as a heritage building.

Observing: The fact that the buildings were featured in the Sydney news does not ‘prove’ people think the buildings are nice to look at. It means they thought Sydney viewers might think it is a newsworthy item.

troll-sniffer said :

You’re obviously an idiot. You probably consider the Belconnen Mall to be far more aesthetic and a far better use of scarce prime land. Either way your statement is fatuous, groundless and pointless.

The only fatuous, groundless and pointless statement is your (non)contribution. I rather like buildings such as the Shine Dome (Academy of Science), National Library, Church of St Andrew and a whole bunch more. But I am glad you were here to let me know I am obviously an idiot for thinking (as many others do) that these buildings are butt ugly. I might never have known if you had not been here to tell me with your insightful contribution.

This post does in fact prove that troll-sniffer is in fact – the idiot.

c_c™ 10:10 am
20 Feb 14
#21

From Kristen Lawson’s piece today for Canberra Times:

“Mr McCabe was still trying to establish who owns the Sydney Building, because of multiple title owners and no definitive list.”

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/civic-businesses-suffers-as-race-on-to-open-east-row-20140219-331dl.html#ixzz2toQkikvz

Well there’s your problem.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:55 pm
20 Feb 14
#22

sepi said :

I think the Phoenix is still locked up.

Don’t worry, it will rise from the ashes.

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