The ‘so ugly it’s beautiful’ Sirius building in Sydney’s Rocks area is a step closer to demolition after the NSW government rejected heritage status for the brutalist former public housing block.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced on Wednesday that she had declined to grant protection for the block, opening the door to a $120 million luxury apartment development.

“My role is to decide whether the building has aesthetic value and, if so, whether that value is such as to satisfy [heritage value] at a state level,” Ms Upton wrote in a decision published on Wednesday. “While the Sirius building is distinctive, in my view, it is not a landmark worthy of state heritage protection.”

The National Trust, the Australian Institute of Architects, local community members, the state’s opposition and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore have all argued that the building should be saved.

However, its commanding views of the Opera House and harbour made the site too valuable to be left as affordable housing, with most of the tenants already rehoused elsewhere.


New definition of ‘self-contained’

While the wrecking ball is heading for the boxy Sirius, Denmark’s Arkitema Architects are turning 48 shipping containers into 30 apartments in Musicon, a former industrial zone near to the famous Roskilde Rock Festival area.

Called Beat Box, the recycling plan is part of an ambitious scheme to create 1,000 jobs and 1,000 homes in the area in the next 15 years.

The containers will sit in a steel frame on a concrete base to create either 60 sqm one-bedroom apartments or 30 sqm studios, while 90 sqm apartments will also be available. The rugged exterior will be kept but the interiors will be lined and finished just like regular units.

Former motel dubbed most dangerous unit block in Australia

Landlords in Frankston’s notorious Ambassador complex say it is the most dangerous address in the country. And they want the local council to change the rules for the former Melbourne motel to allow owners to live there.

An owner of four of the 110 units says a planning ban on owners living in the development – to ensure flats remained available as low cost housing for  tenants – has created an apartment block so dangerous paramedics won’t attend emergencies without a police escort.

He said owners had hired 24-hour security guards, installed security cameras and imposed age restrictions on tenants, but all efforts to combat crime had failed.

However, he said, owner-occupiers would take more care and pride their buildings and report incidences of bad behaviour.

“It’s become a hub for drugs, vandalism and bad behaviour,” he told local newspaper the Frankston Standard Leader. “The Ambassador is a dangerous place to live, but it doesn’t have to be.”

Five houses to make way for 87 flats

A row of five houses in Stanley Street, Kogarah would be demolished to be  to be replaced by a $30 million, ten-storey block with 87 units, under plans submitted to Georges River Council.

The site, one block back from Princes Highway is situation within the North Kogarah Precinct which is currently going through a state of transition from low residential development to high residential development.

The amalgamated site covering more than 1600 sqm is 600 metres north of Kogarah town centre, 350m from Kogarah High School and 200m from St George Girls High School.

The proposed building would have 28 one-bedrooms and 59 two-bedroom apartments, with parking for 100 cars and 600 square metres of communal open space on the roof.

The site currently contains two single-storey cottages, a two-storey duplex, and two  two-storey houses.

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