Superhouse exhibition explores architecture beyond the everyday
New exhibition reveals sights, sounds and stories of Sydney

North Sydney Council has launched a new online exhibition to showcase the residential architecture that shaped North Sydney’s urban history.

Through the online exhibition, ‘At home in North Sydney: an architectural history of a locality’, North Sydney Council will show original house plans, development applications, photos and documents of buildings from Stanton Library’s collection.

Dr Ian Hoskins, North Sydney Council historian and curator of the exhibition, observes that the history of Sydney often misses out the development on the other side of the Harbour in North Sydney. Commenting that North Sydney’s development, including the location of houses, was influenced by its proximity to the Harbour and major public works such as the construction of the Bridge and Warringah Expressway, he explained that the character of the place was moulded by the many architects and skilled builders who worked, and lived in the area.

He added that North Sydney still remained a showcase for significant architectural styles, particularly those drawing upon English Revival design.

The interactive exhibition covers a wide range of fascinating subjects including house design, the ‘lost houses’ of North Sydney and social trends in housing such as the use of domestic service. It also features oral histories from local residents including journalist Doug Anderson, who recalls a life spent in North Sydney, much of it renovating a house with ‘found’ pieces, and Wendy Whiteley who talks about the home she created with her husband, artist Brett Whiteley.

North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson said the exhibition, which was created to mark the Council’s 125th anniversary, would be of interest to many people. She said that North Sydney was home to some of Sydney’s architectural landmarks from the historic mansion Graythwaite to Harry Seidler’s Blue’s Point Tower, each landmark having a story behind them. For the first time, the public can access this information through the online exhibition.

According to Hoskins, making the exhibition online has made it global allowing people to compare developments in North Sydney with those elsewhere in the world. The Council hopes the exhibition will help people see North Sydney in a new light.

The free exhibition, At home in North Sydney can be accessed online.