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    Editor’s pick: Sydney Open 2017

    Kirsty Sier

    This weekend, Sydney’s doors will be thrown open as part of the annual Sydney Open program.

    Similar to Melbourne Open House and other iterations around the country, Sydney Open will give the general public a chance to explore a selection of the city’s best hidden gems, as well as its towering icons.

    From 4 to 5 November 2017, old and new buildings across the CBD, Central, Redfern and Eveleigh will be demystified as part of a program of open-access itineraries, guided tours and architect-led talks.

    This year, sixty buildings have been included in the Sydney Open program, with a large share of new additions from previous years. Here are our top picks.

    Sydney Harbour YHA

    Sunday 5 November

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    Likely when you think about architect-designed buildings, hostels are not the first things that spring the mind. But Sydney Harbour YHA is not your average hostel. Designed by Tzannes Associates and completed in 2009, this multi-award-winning building in the heart of the city is commendable not just for injecting architecture into a previously uninteresting typology, but for its claims to heritage preservation and environmental sustainability. As part of Sydney Open, visitors will have access to most areas of the building, including its rooftop terrace, hostel rooms, guest lounges, and the integrated Dig Archaeology Education Centre.

    More information here.

    The Great Synagogue

    Sunday 5 November

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    Designed by Thomas Rowe and completed in 1878, the Great Synagogue is Sydney’s oldest surviving synagogue. With its soaring sky blue ceilings and Gothic detailing, it is also one of the most beautiful. To assist with his design, Rowe commissioned some of the leading decorative firms working in Australia during the High Victorian period. The resulting building combines Romanesque and Byzantium influences with contextually relevant traces, such as the golden Pyrmont sandstone that grounds the ‘cathedral’.

    More information here.

    EY Centre

    Sunday 5 November

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    Sydney has its fair share of skyscrapers, but EY Centre isn’t interested in blending in. Designed by Francis-Jones Morehen Throp (FJMT), the recently completed tower in the city centre is more concerned with making a positive social impact to both its immediate context and the broader environment. Of particular note is the golden façade design that wraps its two rounded towers. Made of timber and glass, the environmentally advanced exterior utilises vertical timber shading and three layers of high-performance glazing. The HASSELL-designed interior is no less efficient, combining a focus on flexible working with eco-technologies such as LED lighting throughout.

    More information here.

    Australian Museum

    Sunday 5 November

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    The Australian Museum is a collage of architects’ work and architectural styles, having seen a number of adaptations and transformations throughout its near 200 years. Originally designed by colonial architect Mortimer Lewis in 1846, the building has subsequently received additions from two of Lewis’ accessors: colonial architects James Barnet (1861-66) and Walter Vernon (1890-92). Following a year-long restoration that came to its conclusion this year, the Australian Museum’s inclusion in the Sydney Open program will grant access not only to new areas, but to a suite of rooms that have previously been inaccessible to the public.

    More information here.

    Candalepas Associates

    Sunday 5 November

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    Candalepas Associates’ Sydney HQ might be diminutive in size and ostensibly modest, but its recent conversion by the very architects who now occupy it provides an insight into Sydney’s architectural past. Originally built in the early 20th century, the building underwent a sensitive conversion over the past few years, led by Candalepas Associates. The resulting design has turned the narrow, four-storey industrial brick warehouse into a fully functioning architecture studio that retains the building’s historic bones.

    More information here.

    Carriageworks

    Sunday 5 November

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    Although it is over a century old, Carriageworks is a building that seems to have only recently expressed relevance to modern Sydney. Originally built in 1889 based on designs by George Cowdery, the building underwent an extensive 21st-century transformation following Arts NSW funding. Now one of the largest and most significant multi-arts centres in the country, the former railyards and blacksmith workshops are a magnet for arts events, festivals and various markets. Performance spaces and back-of-house areas of the heritage building will be made accessible as part of Sydney Open.

    More information here.

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