Feb 12, 2021: Barangarooted

A couple of weeks ago Cintia and I had the great pleasure of a trip to Sydney to see the Bangara Aboriginal Dance company perform in the beautiful Walumil Lawn at Baragaroo Reserve. We parked at Rose Bay, took one ferry to Circular Quay then another around to Barangaroo, enjoyed a wonderful performance on the lawn after the sun set, walked back under the Harbour Bridge to Circular Quay then caught a ferry back to Rose Bay just before midnight. It was a perfect summer evening in Sydney and a perfect way to enjoy the most beautiful harbour in the world.

It’s such a shame that Sydney’s planning authorities don’t pay it more respect.

As I wrote in this Newsletter back in 2018, I’ve long thought that the Blues Point Tower was the worst building in Sydney. Its ugliness interferes with the gorgeous view looking west down the harbour at the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and sadly it is protected by a heritage conservation order so can’t be torn down.


(Image Source: Trip Advisor)

But now, I’m sorry to say, there is a new contender for the worst building in Sydney.

Crown Sydney Casino and Hotel as seen from Luna Park

Crown Sydney Casino and Hotel at Barangaroo as seen from Luna Park

The Crown Sydney Casino and Hotel was completed in December last year and is now the tallest building in Sydney. Not only is it a really ugly building (sort of a cross between an assassin’s sword and the Dark Tower of Mordor) as you can see from the photo above, it is completely out of proportion to everything around it. No matter where you see it from, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

It’s at its worst when you see it from the west as in the photo below. From this angle it totally overpowers everything else in the city.

Crown Sydney Tower as seen from Balmain

Crown Sydney Tower as seen from the West.

Unfortunately its ugliness is not the worst thing about it. When you see it from the above angle you realise how totally inappropriate the design is to Australia’s warm climate. What you see in the photo above is a VAST expanse of dark-coloured glass facing directly into the hot afternoon sun with no attempt made to shade the glass or do anything to reduce the extreme heat gain.

On our way to the concert we walked right past the base of the building on a warm Sydney afternoon and I took the opportunity to put my hand on one of the dark, west-facing panes of glass. Not surprisingly, it was almost too hot to touch. When you multiply that by the huge area of west-facing glass, what you get is an ENORMOUS heat load.

This building is a luxury hotel and casino so you know for certain that the indoor temperature is kept at a very comfortable level which means the building must use an unbelievable amount of energy to keep it cool on a summer afternoon.

To me it is completely unconscionable that this building was allowed to be built by the City of Sydney. It ruins the city skyline and it’s an energy-sucking monster of a temple to gambling. How it meets the planning objectives of the City or the state of New South Wales is completely beyond me. I can only assume that a lot of political “donations” were made by Crown Resorts on top of the $100M fee it paid to the city in order to get approval to build this nightmare.

Given our government’s obsession with slapping heritage orders on horrible old buildings, I can only hope that this shocker never gets the same protection as the Blues Point Horror Show.


2 comments to Feb 12, 2021: Barangarooted

  • Joanna van Kool

    So why aren’t solar panels or some form of solar energy compulsory on all unit blocks? I am assured that there have been huge advances elsewhere in the world in this area, but apparently not available in Australia. solar panels are not/should not always be limited to roof tops. I would be happy to demonstrate how I believe it could be done in other ways. I gather there is solar paint now, for example. It all suggests to me that no government is willing to seriously deal with this and the solar industry is failing in its efficacy in this regard. And that’s without mentioning developers and builders who would be dead against making solar energy compulsory on all new buildings. small wonder we are lagging the world in dealing with Climate Change.
    Yours faithfully,
    Joanna van Kool

  • Lucinda Sawyer

    Yes, you have pretty much nailed the “reason” for that planning decision, one that is in the Grand Tradition of Australian urban planning; cross the right palms with silver and get your senseless, ugly development approved. They are everywhere. Melbourne specialises in these stupid glass towers and exceeding so-called height limits, sometimes with a added flammable aluminium cladding. Brisbane is keen to outdo all the southerners. I’m sure Perth is punching above its weight. I’d like to think the Adelaide was being smarter than that, but probably not. Sorry for sounding cynical, but the only thing considered is the money being exchanged, not the true cost.

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