NEWS

Court Rules To Save Iconic Public Housing Tower With Million Dollar Views

A court ruled that Sydney's Sirius Building should be heritage-listed.

25/07/2017 11:39 PM AEST | Updated 25/07/2017 11:39 PM AEST
Getty/James Brickwood
The Sirius building in Millers Point is a well-known example of brutalist architecture in Sydney.

Ninety-year-old Myra Demetriou will remain in her Sirius apartment after a court ruled the decision not to heritage-list the building was invalid.

Community campaigners celebrated the decision given on Tuesday afternoon after raising $50,000 through crowd-funding to fight for a heritage listing.

The decision effectively puts the breaks on the NSW Government's redevelopment plans, which included a proposal to demolish the building and sell the land to raise money for additional social housing. This was despite a recommendation from the Heritage Council to protect the brutalist-style building.

Late last year, Minister Mark Speakman said the estimated $70 million from the sale of Sirius outweighs the heritage significance of the building.

The Land and Environment Court ruled that former NSW Heritage Minister Speakman, who is now the Attorney-General, made errors when deciding not to list the building on the State Heritage Register. The decision means Gabrielle Upton, who is now the NSW Heritage Minister, will need to reassess the Sirius building for a heritage listing.

Ms Demetriou, who is legally blind and one of the last two remaining Sirius residents, told the ABC she was elated at the decision.

"This is the beginning of things, I don't think it's the end of thing," she told ABC.

The iconic building is one of the most prominent examples of brutalist architecture in Sydney and also plays a major role in Sydney's history. The building was constructed to house the residents displaced by the redevelopments in the surrounding areas, in response to the Green Bans in the 1960s and 1970s

During the legal battle, the NSW government faced scrutiny for erecting large fences around the building to stop protestors and campaigners from gaining access. They also blocked out the iconic Phillip Room where Myra was going to pose for a live drawing class as a part of Art Month, blocking it from the view of passers by.

Earlier this year Tao Goafers, who designed the building in 1978, made a vow to fight the NSW Government over the destruction of the building. He also made a plea to invest more money into inclusive social housing.

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