Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kulnura; Up in the Clouds

Empty buildings in Sydney are no rarity. Every time i realise that a particular building is not suitable for squatting, it rarely takes me more than a day at most to find another to consider. You've heard the statistics before I'm sure, 120,000 of these wasting beauties lie in wait around greater Sydney daily, about 7000 of them in the city alone.
Though generally we think of small shop fronts and empty warehouses, orphaned bungalows and terraces - not realising that there exists lonely CBD sky scrapers. To put on the Realtors glasses for a moment; some of these buildings are upon the most valuable land in Australia, and between them would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
But where a
re they?

Well a personal favourite would have to be Key College House, located on Wentworth Avenue. This place looks amazing, i can just imagine all the squatters hanging banners out it's bay windows as a stirring black flag flies from the roof. Standing at 9 stories, this place could house so many people, within such an accessible distance to amenities.
It would be perfect for the less mobile or elderly who otherwise have to travel for considerable times on public transport (of questionable suitability) for certain services.

Like Key College House, and also on the same road the Griffiths Teas building is owned by Sydney Couple Isaac and Susan Wakil. The pair own about $75 Million dollars of property in Sydney - all of which is empty except for their headquarters. The Griffiths Teas building is massive and could probably house a large portion of China's teas, or (for a more revolutionary idea!) a lot of people! Susan Wakil remembers seeing her father dragged off to a soviet gulag for being a "capitalist landowner" when living in Romania, though probably has little time for those in Western Sydney increasingly being made homeless by rising rents.
Photo of Griffiths Teas from here. Other great photo's there also.

If you were to stroll further up Wentworth Avenue and continue onto College street you would eventually encounter a twenty story monstrosity of a building that also has remained empty for years. The building was at one time the former headquarters for NSW Police, though now sits empty with nobody coming nor going. Once again this building is located a convenient zero minute walk to just about everywhere, and right across the road from Sydney's well known Hyde park (A cheap imitation of the slightly older London, Hyde Park).
I believe the building is owned by the Gov, and therefore would be a perfect place for some inventive housing affordability protest - after all who likes the government?

Then there
is this fantastic 8 story building on Clarence street. This is almost exactly where i catch a bus from often. The only difference being that when i want to catch the bus it is preceded by a 15minute walk, a 40minute train trip and another 5 minute walk. From this empty nest i could forget about the first walk and the train trip, and dream dreams for almost another hour. This place reminds me a little of Key College House, but only cooler, sweeter and cuter.

And when you thought that was it, just a few blocks away at 82 Sussex St there is a quaint little warehouse space, again of about 8 stories. It stands defiant, confident in it's history as thousands of sheets of glass approach it from both sides and construction rumbles just across the street. I can only imagine how many people could paint, sculpt, write, think, draw, play and live inside the unused walls of this building.

And these are only the ones i know about. Most (if not all) were found here.

And of course if any of you out there have fantastic idea's for these buildings please comment. Comment even if you don't.



Dom said...

Nice collection man.

Anonymous said...

All of those building's are owned by the Wakil's...

Liam said...

I don't know whether all of them are, but it wouldn't suprise me too much.
I also recently saw a new massive empty which is the old Australian Workers Union Building, 238-240 Castlereagh St. Looked empty as i walked past, but difficult to tell if it may actually be a construction site.