I was recently reminded of the contribution great buildings make to cities compromised by bad buildings. All cities have their share of lame ducks. It seems to be a case of developer-led mediocrity in many instances where all manner of trade-offs are made in the name of progress. I was recently asked what was so special about the three best towers constructed in Australia in the past couple of years.
We have documented each of them on film and still image and the projects are 1Bligh St. Sydney, 111 Eagle St. Brisbane and 8 Chifley Sydney. My reply covered three critical areas: they touched the ground lightly with a ballerina's footprint, on sites hardly bigger than a suburban house block. In other words they didn't swallow the neighbourhood, they all provided a very open, permeable ground plane that included rather than excluded the passer-by, and that they were reinventing the office space away from the cellular hierarchy of old.
An added bonus is their energy performance and clarity of glass so that the black box syndrome occurring with cheap, expedient development is entirely avoided. Our 14 minute clip on the work of the brilliant German design practice Ingenhoven Architeckten who partnered Architectus Sydney, reveals how seriously good design can help create sublime cities rather than the conveyor belt tower built to the lowest common denominator.
I hope you find our program on 1Bligh St. Sydney - Heart of Glass - a reminder of just how great buildings can occur when enough people care about the work they leave behind: http://www.ingenhovenarchitects.com/en/office/filmsvideos/16122011-heart-of-glass.html
One of the constant surprises for photographers is to find ourselves in unusual and testing situations.
Our 54-minute documentary ‘Heart of Glass’ produced plenty of adrenalin moments when we we rode in a crane-bucket from the almost completed roof of the mighty 1Bligh St. Sydney. The crane swung us high above the city streets where we shot stills and filmed for our production.
Another special moment was from helicopter at dusk (above) where we revealed the glowing, crystalline light of the building’s atrium - part of the innovative solution by Christoph Ingenhoven and Architectus.The program is available at: https://vimeo.com/44632348
It’s a beautiful building we tracked for more than three years visiting regularly to capture progress until its grand opening by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard who I had interviewed earlier for the documentary.
Sydney’s 1 Bligh St. is a stunning example of how high-rise towers can be so much more inclusive than exclusive. And rather treat the rooftop as some repository for ugly mechanical services, this one is an absolute work of sustainable art. This rarely seen twilight view provides a glimpse into the heart of one of the truly great high-rise towers of our time.
Other towers we have recently photographed and filmed include 111 Eagle St. Brisbane and the soon to be opened Chifley Tower by Ed Lippmann and Sir Richard Rogers. Among the giants of world architecture Sir Richard was the focus of an earlier program I produced from the early 1990s during his visit to Sydney as part of the Architecture International series. This program can be seen at: https://vimeo.com/home/myvideos
We’re about to resume photography and filming at Chifley Tower so follow our blog at hyattgallery.com.au to see another beautiful tower come fully into focus.