Archives for posts with tag: Buildings

I am not an art aficionado, but I do enjoy fine art for what it does. It inspires me to look at an interpretation of the world through someone else’s eyes and elicits a response from me as well. One of the best know Australian modern artists is Jeffrey Smart, who is still alive and spritely in his 90s. He would have to be one of my favourite artists. His style is described as “precisionist”, but I do not quite believe he can be categorised as such – particularly given that the main proponents of this style were mainly American and (Ralston Crawford aside) the colours were mainly subdued pastels. In my opinion, he views the world in a truly unique architectural perspective while still seeing the art of the form. The colour in his paintings is bold and in your face. My favourite painting is one of his titled simply “Reflected Arrows” (1974), as seen below.

Jeffrey Smart - Reflected Arrows

“Reflected Arrows” (1974)

His earlier pieces contained many portraits, including famous Australian authors of his generation – David Malouf, Germaine Greer, and one could say Clive James in “Cahill Expressway”. But there are two of Smart’s paintings which were burnt deep in my memory for their form and symmetry. The first being “Holiday” (1971) and the second being “Housing Project no. 84” (1970). Who would have thought that an artist born in the early 1920s would interpret the built world in the 1970s in such a way – and it would appear life imitates art in modern architecture today.

Jeffrey Smart - Holiday

“Holiday” (1971)

Jeffrey Smart - Housing Project no. 84

“Housing Project no. 84” (1970)

So my amateur photographer’s eye caught the patterns and shapes of a few buildings over the last two weeks that immediately brought me back to the memory of these paintings. While Smart works with canvas, I work with light and pixels (on a sensor). Obviously the tone of the mediums is different, but I hope I captured the essence of what Smart did in his paintings. BTW – as usual my photos images link through to the larger size photos on Flickr.

Windows - #01

Windows - #03

Windows - #02

On a side note – someone had a look at pretty much all my public photos on Flickr a couple of days ago. This was some 420 photos in total. Whoever you are, you made an amateur photographer feel happy that he could share his photos with you.

I was a bit naughty the other day on the return flight I took from Sydney to Melbourne. When they told us to switch off all electrical equipment on landing, I took my camera out to take a photo of the Sydney City skyline from the air. After all, how many times do you get the chance to take a photo from a couple of thousand of feet in the air. It wasn’t the easiest snap to take, given the turbulence and speed the plane was going at, but I got one good one – minus the Sydney Opera House.

Sydney Skyline

And the city continues to grow with new developments and the conversion of a lot of harbour land that 50 years ago had an industrial purpose. The City of Sydney is responsible for approving all developments. So I was quite surprised when I went to the Sydney Town Hall (to get the signature of a Justice of the Peace) to find a 1:500 scale model of the City of Sydney. I truly felt like Gulliver in Lilliput. The detail of the architectural models is amazing.

City of Sydney Model - #1

Here is my local area as captured in the model, the scale of the buildings from above definitely provides a different perspective from the human scale at street level.

City of Sydney Model - #2

Currently, one of Sydney’s most controversial developments is that of Barangaroo. The next shots capture the scale disproportionate to buildings locally. But the height of the proposed constructions is not out of scale compared to other buildings in the Sydney skyline. Regardless of the buildings, I hope that they sort out two things properly – 1. transport that works and services all the increased land usage, and 2. ensure that the continuous harbour foreshore path is built with the land restored as much as possible to its former line.

City of Sydney Model - #3

City of Sydney Model - #4

The rest of the model clearly shows the city scale and how Sydney truly is a global city.

City of Sydney Model - #5

City of Sydney Model - #6

This next shot is of another large development currently under construction in Sydney, and closer to me – the Carlton and United Breweries site on Broadway. This will totally change the fabric of the local area, and hopefully for the better.

City of Sydney Model - #7

City of Sydney Model - #8

Anyone can see this model at the Sydney Town Hall, and the best part is that it is free. I guess, my childhood interest in building cities out of Lego is still piqued by architectural models.

I have recently been travelling to Melbourne for work quite a bit. In fact, I have been to Melbourne so many times that I have lost count – and the number of trips would easily number over 200. As a Sydney-sider I find it awkward to say that I love Melbourne. It is a totally different city to Sydney, in the same way that Los Angeles is to New York or Toronto is to Montreal. I love going there, and I love visiting family and friends that I have down there too. The client that I am working for is based in the Docklands, and it is interesting to hear what the locals think about the precinct. Empty, soulless, heartless, dead are adjectives that I have heard numerous times in describing the new modern construction going up all around.

So I decided to see what my perspective would be through the lens. I took my new trusty Canon Powershot G15 to see if I could put it through its paces and what I decided to focus on in the end were some of the fascinating patterns that the modern architecture and buildings presented. There have been huge leaps in building construction since I left university over 15 years ago, and the new materials and manufacturing processes mean that architects and engineers can produce patterns in exterior cladding that were just not possible before (or more correctly cost viable – the Sydney Opera House being a perfect example). So here is what I found. The strange thing is that in some ways, these patterns remind me of the skins of reptiles – but made of metal and glass.

BTW – All the photos link through to the larger images on my Flickr page.

Melbourne Architecture - #1Melbourne Architecture - #2Melbourne Architecture - #3Melbourne Architecture - #4Melbourne Architecture - #5Melbourne Architecture - #6


My photo excursion was beautifully ended with a spectacularly dusk setting over the unusually calm Docklands with a crescent moon over the water. I love the colour of the sky in this last shot – no Photoshop necessary!

Melbourne Architecture - #7


My next photo excursion down in Melbourne will probably involve either two wheels or the myriad of cool sculptures that grace the city.

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