Well, life in Redfern is going very well, but we feel a little guilty for not checking in with our Penultimo followers for such a long time.
It’s been great to see that the comments haven’t stopped, and the Tumblr reblogs continue too. Admittedly this can probably be explained by Spambots, and a few confused lost people who have stumbled onto the blog, only to rant at us from the comments field in a wacky, out-of-context diatribe.
But to the meat of the matter. This area is changing fast, and we can scarcely keep up. We might need amend our list to, ahem…
5 places to watch in Ultimo (and surrounds)
So maybe we touch on a bit of Pyrmont and Haymarket… everything happens on the fringe…
1 - Of cliffs and relics:
The transformation of the Edwin Davey Flour Mill
Now known as the “Harbour Mill”, the old Edwin Davey Flour Mill is transforming into a $90 million mixed use development at the end of Jones Street (technically Pyrmont). The developer is Ceerose. Here’s an old post by Penultimo with a little more detail. Right now there’s some impressive graf on the outside of the building, visible from the freeway. This “boutique” heritage refurb won’t be finished until 2014. They probably couldn’t have changed the area more radically: in a few years it’ll transform from an area that frequented by Sydney’s homeless (and graf artists), to a 10-level luxury development. The facade of the mill will be retained.
Probably the best thing to come of all this is that Ceerose will be working with the City of Sydney to improve Pedestrian access between the Wentworth Park lightrail stop, and the flour mill area above. It used to be a no-go, a cliff, but opening up this access-way will greatly improve pedestrian amenity & connectedness in Ultimo.
2 - From markets to studentville to luxury city living:
“The Quay” on Ultimo Road & Quay Street.
Another heritage facade will have a fancy lookin’ mixed-use development tower looming over it. Are we sensing a pattern here?
The Quay was the site of the old Poultry Market in Haymarket (well, it had a number of uses before then, see the archaeological report here). The delightful facade of the Poultry Market will be retained, but by the look of the renderings the towers above it will have little relationship to the facade. Still this is a part of Sydney that can cope with a bit of high-rise (and already has a fair bit).
The Quay will consist of two towers, designed by WMK Architecture, Smart Design Studio and CHADA, 18 levels, including 2 levels of retail (presumably on the ground floors). It may have some kind of podium garden thing going on…
Images: CBRE / The Quay
3 - Fast paced progress for Sydney’s Gehry:
The Dr Chau Chak Wing at UTS
Also on Ultimo Road, the UTS Business School will soon have a new building, and as everybody knows, it’s a Frank Gehry creation. Highly controversial, at least this building gets everyone talking about architecture in Ultimo, which is nice to see. Glass and sandstone-like light stone, depending on which side you’re looking at.
The excavation should be complete rather soon (they say mid-2012), and the building is set to be ready for the business faculty by 2014. One of the most interesting things about this building is how it might spur change for the much-ignored surrounding areas - Omnibus Lane, and the old railway tracks (soon to be the extended Ultimo Pedestrian Network? More on that in a moment).
4 - Penultimo’s favourite horse to thrash:
The future of the Ultimo Pedestrian Network (UPN)
It’s really happening! We’re so excited. Maybe it’s not a very nice acronym, but the UPN has a LOT of potential for making this part of the city more connected, dynamic and pedestrian friendly. It also has a lot of potential for improving the viability of retail in the area, and improving the urban amenity of Ultimo for workers and residents alike. Connectivity! Intersections! Urban dynamism! So many buzz words, so much blather. It’s not just us: many people see the potential of the UPN, and are working hard to turn it into something workable … but there are a huge number of complications with a project like this, not the least of which is the large number of stakeholders with sometimes conflicting interests. (Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority are the principal stakeholders.)
Alright, for those of you still going, the UP-what? - What is it?
The Ultimo Pedestrian Network, right now, is only in Stage 1. Stage 1 was recently completed — it’s that pedestrian walkway down the back of the ABC and the UTS student residences. This zone connects the Devonshire Tunnel & Railway Square down to Ultimo Road. We’ve gotta say, it’s not the most exciting urban space to crop up recently, but one thing is does have going for it: benches. Lots of them. And a hell of a lot of foot traffic.
But here’s the exciting bit. Stage 2 of the UPN is in motion — this it will make use of the old railway bridge over Ultimo Road, extend past the Dr Chau Chak Wing, and down to the back of the Powerhouse. It’ll be like the High Line in NYC! Only daggier. Probably. And cheaper. Australia doesn’t have the philanthropists to imagine something as ambitious as the High Line, but the UPN has the potential to be much more useful.
The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority have selected Aspect Studios to design the linear elevated pedestrian walkway & cycleway. Consultations are happening this month, and they anticipate completion by the end of 2013 (that sounds a bit ambitious, but we’ll see…). Aspect designed Darling Quarter, among other things.
There are plenty of options for going further than this too (like… taking the UPN down towards Chinatown and Darling Harbour), but of course, these will take time and money…
Perhaps Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority might like to run a competition to rename the zone? UPN is dreadful, though the SHFA have their own acronym-related problems.
Images: 1) Jesse Adams Stein; 2) Aspect Studios
5 - Can’t see the forest for the trees:
The Powerhouse Museum forecourt
Things are going full steam ahead (so many cliches in this post!) with the revitalisation of the Powerhouse Museum and its forecourt. The ground foundations for the forecourt have been fixed up (and it’s much more open now - think steps not walls). But it looks like the Powerhouse Museum might be in a bit of a bind financially; they’ve really got the hat out, hoping for supporters to fund their ambitious Toland / Shigeru-Ban cardboard tree forecourt design. Go on, buy them a tree branch, it’s only $100.
Image: Powerhouse Musem & Toland / Shigeru-Ban