Controversial proposal for Sydney's Domain precinct prioritises cultural infrastructure
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Controversial proposal for Sydney’s Domain precinct prioritises cultural infrastructure

A bold plan for Sydney’s Domain carpark including four theatres has been aired but opponents question the location at the cost of valuable city greenspace.

By Robyn Willis
Thu, Sep 8, 2022 10:33amGrey Clock 2 min

A bold proposal to redevelop the Domain carpark into a performing arts precinct has been released, prompting a mixed response.

The plan put forward by leading architectural firm Grimshaw for four performance halls, including a 2,500 seat theatre, Indigenous cultural centre and rehearsal space would also include a revitalisation of the Woolloomooloo precinct, taking in the arterial William Street and older social housing.

Grimshaw managing partner Andrew Cortese said the scheme sought to address some of the transport incursions introduced over the past 30 years including the Eastern Distributor and Domain Tunnel through the creation of green roofs for the cultural facilities and landscaping following the natural slope of the land from the Domain down to Sir John Young Crescent.

“The second and much larger green space will be located on a land bridge to be built over the exit of the Domain Tunnel, presently on the doorstep of the new Sydney Modern gallery, covering this ugly roadway with a land bridge which can accommodate all the playing fields now residing on top of the Domain Car Park” Mr Cortese said.

Mr Cortese said while cities like Melbourne and international neighbours such Singapore, Kowloon and Shenzhen were investing in cultural infrastructure, Sydney was falling short.

However, NSW Cities Minister Rob Stokes said with city greenspace at a premium, there were concerns about development of this site, suggesting an arts precinct would be better located in Pyrmont, or placed closer to transport hubs in Western Sydney.

Mr Cortese said those sites had been considered but that the Domain precinct represented the best position in a post Covid CBD environment.

“The principal reason for the location is to reverse the trend of the City of Sydney tending to situate world-class cultural facilities facing the harbour – our traditional location for all our major cultural institutions – and actually situate them in the community of the city and in a vibrant, connected precinct,” he said.

In explaining why a location further west was not chosen, Mr Cortese said Grimshaw fully supported the creation of new cultural infrastructure in Western Sydney but until the opening of West Metro in 2030 there was very little in the way of public transport, aside from heavy rail.

Grimshaw has offices around the world, including Sydney, and is responsible for a wide range of influential public projects, with works spanning the arts, education and infrastructure in the US, China, the UK and more.

A development of this size of the Domain carpark would expect to take a couple of decades or more to come to fruition.

Grimshaw global practice lead for cities, Dr Tim Williams, said as Sydneysiders adopted a hybrid work model, the notion of CBDs being primarily about industry needed revisiting.

“We need to reimagine, revitalise and represent these precincts because with hybrid working now the norm much of their economic rationale and vibrancy has dissipated,” Dr Williams said. “Across the world we are seeing on the one hand stranded retail, office and hospitality assets but also initiatives to reinvent a city core’s attractors so as to ‘earn the commute’: that is, to give people in the suburbs special new reasons to come to town. 

“The kind of culture-led renewal we propose for East Sydney – as single use CBDs transition to more mixed use ‘central experience districts’ – will be crucial to the success of this strategy and give new reasons for international visitors to come too.”



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Sparkling wine flows as Australian winemaker takes out top international award

The Tasmanian-based winemaker was among a number of Australian producers to be honoured at the event in London this week

By Robyn Willis
Thu, Jul 11, 2024 2 min

An Australian winemaker has taken out the top prize for sparkling wine at the International Wine Challenge, the first time a local winemaker has done so. It marks just the second time in the competition’s 40-year history that the award has gone to a winemaker outside France’s Champagne region.

Tasmanian-based House of Arras’ chief winemaker, Ed Carr, was presented with the award for Sparkling Winemaker of the Year at a special ceremony in London earlier this week.

“I’m incredibly honoured to be named this year’s Sparkling Winemaker of the Year. It’s a challenge to describe the feeling, but I’m proud to be recognised amongst my peers for such a significant international award,” Mr Carr said.

The IWC is considered one of the world’s most rigorous and impartial wine competitions. This year, France topped the medal tally with 72 gold, 394 silver and 455 bronze medals – extending their haul by 84 more wins than last year.  

The 40-year-old competition is considered one of the most influential events in the winemaking calendar.

Australian winemakers took out second place, with 54 gold, 250 silver and 154 bronze medals. Australia also won 19 trophies, 10 of which went to South Australia.

House of Arras also received the Australian Sparkling Trophy for its 2014 House of Arras Blanc de Blancs, as well as two gold and six silver medals.

Tasmania’s cool climate and soil make it ideal for producing world-class sparkling wine says Ed Carr (pictured).

Mr Carr said Tasmania’s cool climate and terroir were equal to the world’s best sparkling wine regions. The wins follow a strong showing this year at Australia’s National Wine Show and the Decanter World Wine Awards, where House of Arras also collected awards.

“2024 has been an outstanding year on the awards front, and I’m honoured to add this recent recognition from the International Wine Challenge to the mantle,” he said. 

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11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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