16 petitions

Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Robert Emerson, Alicja Batorowicz, The Hon Gabrielle Upton, North Sydney Council, Mayor Jilly Gibson

SOS - Save Our Stairs (before the 11th March 2018!)

North Sydney Council has planned a major upgrade of the stairs leading from Waiwera Street to Watt Park. This has been done without recent community consultation or notifying local residents; with Council justification being simply that the current stairs are no longer BCA compliant. We are unsure if the proper procedures (as outlined in the Local Government Act 1993) have been adhered to; as no-one who is across the project is available to provide the community with further information until after the date the project is due to commence, despite repeated requests. Given the recent independent Public Inquiry into North Sydney Council, and the Performance Improvement Order issued in 2014, this is of particular concern. These stairs are within a park that is heritage listed, encompassed within a Conservation Area. The landscape contains both a natural sandstone amphitheatre and a number of mature trees; and is home to various species of native Australian wildlife, most of which are protected by law (including the Australian brush turkey, bats, magpies, parrots, and possums). North Sydney Council's proposal to remove the current concrete and sandstone staircase, in favour of a suspended steel staircase, will irreparably damage the beauty of this park. Additionally, the council has (currently undisclosed) plans for adding retaining walls, removal of overgrown planting, provision of additional planting, and installation of handrails and lighting. This will destroy the aesthetic of the park, which currently has a natural Australian bushland feel (unusual for the high density area that is North Sydney, and different in character to other parks in the area). This is part of what attracts visitors, particularly those from overseas, to the park. Residents who live around the park are also likely to be impacted by changes to the staircase, including the ability for the general public to see directly into surrounding apartments. Waiwera Street is already a narrow, one-way street; this modification could also adversely affect local traffic. Watt Park already has several points of access, including via Lavender Crescent (vehicles and access for those with limited mobility); via staircases adjacent to Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden; and level access via the boardwalk near Luna Park. Additional access to the Lavender Bay foreshore is also available in the form of BCA compliant steps at the bottom of King George Street (a 150m walk from the Waiwera Street steps). We are calling on North Sydney Council to immediately halt planned major works (scheduled to commence on 15th January 2018); and perform a minor safety upgrade only to the current stairs after consultation with the local community. These stairs should retain their historical character; and remain an access route that blends in to the surrounding natural and built environment.   

Belinda Campbell
756 supporters
Update posted 6 days ago

Petition to Woollahra Municipal Council

Save GADEN HOUSE, Neville Gruzman's modernist masterpiece in Sydney's east

Gaden House, 24-26 Bay Street Double Bay NSW is a unique modernist office building designed by Neville Gruzman and completed in 1968. It is a largely intact example of Gruzman's sophisticated output and is one of the finest surviving mid century modernist buildings in Sydney.  The building is the subject of current Development Application DA589/2017 and is under threat of being irrevocably changed and its significance erased. We, the undersigned, believe this building to be an important surviving part of Sydney's architectural history. We believe the current proposal should be refused to protect Gaden House's value as a rare example of 1960's Sydney commercial architecture. We believe an alternative approach to developing the site could preserve the building, restore its facades and interiors and enhance the building as an asset to both the owner and the community.  The advertising period ends this Wednesday January 10th. If you share our concerns about the proposal, please add your support to this petition. We also urge you to email referencing the DA number above and stating your objections to the proposed changes. You can also ask council to allow for additional time to review the proposal. Image by David Moore from Philip Goad & Neville Gruzman, Gruzman, an architect and his city, pub 2006.  Gaden House in its original form featured many purpose designed elements that represent Gruzman's architectural flair and celebrated talent for detailing. Bounded by public roads on three sides (N, E + W) each facade addresses its orientation perfectly by employing sunshading fins, vertical to the east and west and horizontal to the north. These give the building its distinctive form and complete each corner of the facade carefully, achieving a visually cohesive composition from every angle   The internal cantilevered helical stair (still intact) is beautifully detailed featuring glass treads set in concrete frames; it allows light (from the circular skylight above) deep into the interior A custom glass sculpture by Michael Kitching commissioned for the project connected the stair and entrance lobby through a combination of vertical and horizontal installations. A new sculpture by a suitable artist, purpose designed for the space, would be an appropriate requirement of any approval to alter the building.  The office ceiling system (since altered but able to be reinstated/restored), designed by Gruzman, integrated all mechanical ventilation and air distribution plus lighting within a visually cohesive array of circular apertures set within a square grid. This is an unusual and ingenious solution to services resolution in a building of this type with critical vertical set outs and concrete slab floor construction. Gruzman's significance to Sydney's and Australia's architectural history is described here by historian Philip Goad, from NG's Obituary published in Architecture Australia – July 2005 (Vol 94 No 4): In the published histories of Australian architecture, Gruzman makes only a limited appearance. Robin Boyd and J. M. Freeland don’t mention him or his work. Jennifer Taylor discusses Gruzman only as a name among what could be loosely described as a Wrightian school in Sydney, and also in terms of the career of Glenn Murcutt. This is surprising but perhaps not unusual, as these histories track “movements” rather than the individualist architects who began their practices in earnest in the 1950s – architects like James Birrell, Peter Burns, Alex Jelinek, Stuart McIntosh, and, of course, Neville Gruzman. As a consequence, these architects sit outside any current architectural canon. At the same time, Gruzman and his works are well known. His houses were consistently published in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Then there was a gap in exposure until 1983, when a commemorative exhibition devoted to Gruzman’s work was held at the RAIA NSW Chapter, and another retrospective in 1992 at the Rex Irwin Gallery in Sydney. These drew considerable and intense interest.

Rory Toomey
2,168 supporters