|Peter Bailey, Jenny Brockie, Professor Hung Nguyen & Professor Keith Crews|
Open to the general public for the first time, the tenth anniversary of the UTS: Zunz lecture series was held the Sydney Opera House on 15 December to a sell-out crowd.
There was a definite buzz in the air to a much anticipated event. The panellists were asked to debate whether there can ever truly be a balance between great buildings and the needs of local people and the wider city? Are architects, planners, politicians and citizens arguing for a perfect solution that doesn’t exist?
Greiner paraphrased Professor Jan Gehl’s saying, “People first, then spaces, then buildings”. He posited that long term strategies by state governments were the key to successful development. What kind of cities do we want to live in and work towards?, he asked.
Architect, Jahn, spoke of the complexity of Sydney as an unplanned city and mixed in some history too, specifically mentioning John Bradfield, and his many projects, such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. He likened the Sydney Opera House to a piece of designer furniture in a previously un-used corner of Sydney’s room.
Rather than considering buildings as single units Farrelly stated that we need to look at things holistically. She mentioned that when she spoke to her daughter about the topic she turned it around to say, do great cities, make great buildings? She also likened her grandfather’s bible(which she brought along), with the gilt (not guilt) edged pages, to a city. You can’t see the gilt on an individual page and it is not until you close the book that the full effect becomes apparent. Farrelly spoke of spatial delight, of having spaces with the capacity to surprise, spaces to explore, spaces that captivate.
|The Hon. Nick Greiner, Dr Elizabeth Farrelly, Professor Stuart White, Professor Hung Nguyen & Richard Sharp|
White spoke of resilient cities and their need for cities to anticipate future issues before they become major problems. He claimed it was not enough to have great buildings if cities were not “liveable”. A city the size of New York City is being built in China each year, which provides the opportunity to get things right. He noted that we need to ask people what they want and build cities that people can properly engage with.
The final point of discussion revolved around the renewal of the precincts at the southern end of the city, such as Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Haymarket and Broadway (including UTS). The main point being, we cannot look at precincts in isolation and that the city should have linkages and flow. Everyone was left wanting more and there were lots of comments from people wishing that it the event went for longer.
The Zunz lecture series is named in honour of Sir Jack Zunz, a brilliant British engineer who led the design team on the Sydney Opera House and who was considered inspirational both in engineering and education. This anniversary event was proudly sponsored by Arup, UTS and the Sydney Opera House.