A Sirius-ly Amazing Building

The Sirius Building is a social housing complex situated in The Rocks, Sydney. Designed by architect Tao Gofers and built in the 1970s, these 79 apartments have recently been flagged for sale by the NSW Government, despite the Heritage Council unanimously recommending it to be heritage listed. There is currently a legal battle to save the building from demolition. As part of its awareness raising campaign, ‘Save Our Sirius‘ has organised tours of the building so that people can understand its historical, cultural and architectural significance.

The tour is led by architect Tao Gofers himself, who was so passionate and hilarious throughout. We were on the third and final tour of the day, but he guided us around the building as if he were showing it to the public for the first time. Tao Gofers explained the ideas behind his design (from floor layout to construction of the building) and I found myself nodding along to all of the design principles. It’s funny how a rooftop garden and communal rooms for residents seem so normal now, but it wasn’t over 30 years ago! You can learn more about the Sirius Building project here.

As we were led around the Sirius Building, I couldn’t help but admire its design and the space overall. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is that’s so fascinating, and I can’t help but feel sad thinking that this iconic building will likely get torn to pieces. Where this place used to be a bustling community, the residents have been kicked out one by one in preparation for the NSW Government to sell it off. We heard stories of residents receiving multiple calls in the middle of the night, intercoms not working, and an unfortunate resident who was admitted to hospital and quickly carted off to a nursing home instead of returning to his home at Sirius. Only one resident, Myra Demetriou (90 years young), remains living in the building and we were fortunate enough to be allowed into her home to meet her.

The views from Myra’s apartment were great. It’s no wonder the NSW Government wants to sell off the Sirius Building to developers. Whether you like the building or not, I’m sure you’d have to agree that its historical, cultural and architectural significance shouldn’t simply be bulldozed over and only remembered in pictures.

It was a Sirius-ly amazing tour of a Sirius-ly amazing building. There are still tours being held over the next few months so I hope you can go and check it out for yourself. There’s no guarantee you’ll be allowed inside the building (on the day we went, windows into the communal rooms we blocked out by black plastic and at least half a dozen security guards were there to stare at us), but listening to Tao Gofers talk about the building is fascinating enough.

If you can’t make it to a tour, you can check out Tao Gofer’s archive of the Sirius Building or the Save Our Sirius website where there is a photo gallery that has pictures of the beautiful communal room that we couldn’t see in person. You can also check out Save Our Sirius on Facebook. Please share if you can to save this Sirius-ly amazing building!

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