Brutalist Architect Tao Gofers Pleads to Save the Sirius Building

Sydney's last stand against gentrification.

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May 23 2017, 4:27am

Brutalist buildings—those towering concrete monsters commissioned throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s that you either love or hate—are under threat around the world. Towards the top of the endangered list is the Sirius Building, one of the last public housing commissions in Sydney's city centre. Sirius has been slated for demolition since 2015, but the Save Our Sirius campaign is fighting hard to preserve it. In a new YouTube video, the building's original architect Tao Gofers explains why that is.

Although Sirius is notable for its unique cement blocks, Gofers says the apartment block's social purpose is its most important architectural feature. "The building opened people's eyes to what's possible...all forms and all types of people can live in this city. When a city's not inclusive, it has to be exclusive," Gofers says.

"This building is relatively unique...when you compare it to office buildings or apartment buildings that are 35 stories high and every floor is identical, you know there's a chance for people who are unique to be and live in this city. To live and be comfortable. Because it's unique, people are allowed to be unique."

Only two residents of Sirius remain in the building, and earlier this month New South Wales Government contractors placed barriers around the block to prevent strangers from entering it. A failed heritage protection bid is currently being appealed in court—Sirius stands in an enviable position overlooking Sydney Harbour from The Rocks, and the state's heritage minister has previously stated that the apartment building's heritage value is outweighed by the potential profits the government could make from selling the land it is built on.

Watch the video in full below, and visit the #SOSBrutalism database to view hundreds of other concrete structures under threat around the world.

Related:

The Fight to Save Australia's Most Endangered Brutalist Building

Exploring Yugoslavia's Mysterious Abandoned Brutalist Monuments

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