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Designs on our future

Monday, 22 February 2016

Can you imagine Bennelong Point without the Sydney Opera House? Utzon’s visionary design may never have been realised without the intervention of one of the world’s longest running architectural practices!

For 200 years the NSW Government Architect’s office has been the driving force behind many of our most celebrated buildings, as well as some of our most controversial – from the Sydney Opera House and Taronga Zoo to Darlinghurst Gaol and the Mental Hospital at Parramatta.

The State Library of NSW’s new exhibition Imagine a city: 200 years of public architecture in NSW celebrates the extraordinary impact of the Government Architect’s office in defining the state’s cities, suburbs and regional towns, through rarely seen original drawings, plans, photographs and models, including works by iconic artists and photographers, such as Max Dupain, Lloyd Rees and Harold Cazneaux.

Since Governor Macquarie’s appointment of Francis Greenway in 1816 to ‘make a handsome town of Sydney’, the successive government architects and their staff have given us many public buildings that “hold special status in both our public and private lives,” says exhibition curator Charles Pickett. “One of the Government Architect’s office’s enduring achievements is the design of most of our major museums, galleries and libraries.”

Across the state hundreds of architects working under the direction of the government architect have designed thousands of everyday buildings for work and play – courthouses, post offices, schools, police stations, gaols, libraries, hospitals, galleries and parks.  

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