Unions get Sirius about heritage apartment building

Market Insights
7 years ago
2 minutes
The Sirius Apartment Building in Sydney is on the verge of being torn down, and it has brought an ongoing discussion regarding the historical and social significance of architecture to the headlines once again.
Located in Sydney’s The Rocks area, Sirius was built in 1979 to accommodate social housing tenants. Designed in the brutalist style, the building consists of modular concrete pods stacked together.
Once a shining beacon of our collective residential future, the Sirius Apartment Building failed to secure heritage listing from the New South Wales Government in August. This went against advice from all major preservation organisations including The National Trust, who feel the building should be preserved as an example of its kind.
Reasons for the rejection included the opportunity to build a far greater number of residences in the same space, providing more public housing for those who need it most.
But in a bold move this week, Unions NSW and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union announced a ban on any unionised workers being allowed to work on the site. This makes it significantly difficult for any demolition to go ahead.
At the very least, those in favour of the building’s preservation hope it will give them more time to raise the necessary funding for legal action and campaign promotion — a move supported by Sydney Mayor, Clover Moore.
Most inner-city apartment developments are built where other buildings once stood. Sometimes heritage decisions require the original facade to remain as a token nod to the past. Other times, whole buildings are placed under protection, never to be demolished.
Decisions regarding which buildings qualify for heritage status often cause contention amongst the local community. One person’s concrete eyesore is another’s architectural paragon. And most of the time the decision is a hotly contested one between profit and aesthetics.
The decision by the unions regarding the demolition of Sirius is a unique turning point, with workers effectively turning down employment in favour of making a stance against what many see as a cash-grab by the State Government. At the same time, the argument for redeveloping the site to actually add more social housing makes the conversation an important one.
Source: dezeen