Urban Ideas- A New Sydney Style

With the increasing globalisation of world cities comes a need to ensure each individual
city retains its own character. Cities must be both Global and Local. Sydney has a
very special natural environment with its flowing bays around the harbour, sweeping
beaches, billowing sails and winding river valleys. But the historic European layout
of Sydney is defined by a rectangular grid which is not really the character of the
natural environment. A number of recent buildings however are reflecting the
curvilinear spirit of Sydney and these are beginning to define a new ‘Sydney Style’.

City Planning has often been a debate between the order of the city as a whole and
the flair and excitement that a special building can deliver. Italian architect Aldo Rossi
wrote about the city as a backdrop of ordered buildings offset by special one–off
cultural buildings. In the Sydney context our Opera House sums up Rossi’s approach
where the cultural building accessible to all becomes a free form expression of its own
use and setting. But apart from the Sydney Opera House, and some of Harry Seidler’s
early towers, the urban architecture of Sydney has followed the rules and is neatly lined
up with the street edges. It is only in recent years that the development industry has
challenged this planning orthodoxy to propose new architectural forms that create
a counterpoint to the unity of the city.

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