Category Archives: travel

Sydney: pre show to the main stage…..Glenn Murcutt

Day 1.5:  I began my journey on the 7th and arrived this morning at 7:30am on the 9th!  I felt ‘slightly’ akin to Bill Murry’s character in Lost in Translation…As my husband drove me to the airport ‘yesterday’, I began to fully grasp that I was experiencing this trip alone.  Not quite alone, as I will be meeting 31 other individuals from all over the world, with one common thread…a passion for architecture and the built environment, but nothing quite like this.  My husband equates it to summer camp…for architects.  I laughed, but in actuality, it is just that…an academic summer course, devised to infect and enliven our spirit of place and design. 

It’s 9:30 and my flight boards in approximately an hour.  A future classmate, Scott Lawrence, shares the exciting but uber long flight to Sydney.  We meet as I raise my hand to answer his request via text message….he was standing behind me. After introductions, we begin boarding.

What the flight lacks in tracing views of beautiful natural landscapes is forgotten upon your final decent into Sydney… a city of beautiful bays and winding waterways…breathtaking in urban form.  As journeys take on their own story, I had anticipated taking a 10min train ride from the airport to my hotel…after a few queries at an information booth, Scott found out that a coach fare was far cheaper for a round trip fare than the train.  Although it took about 45 min, it was a great introduction to the city…a bit of a zig zag…dropping points on a map of hotels visited.  It was interesting to be apart of a few strangers beginning hours in a new city…many languages, all with a similar excited inflection.  

As we ventured out of the airport, the fabric of the city was revealed…first a suburban scale, one to two story ‘newer’ buildings, modestly spaced; an infrastructure given way to an new auto-centric world.  As we approached the The Rocks, the buildings became thinner and taller, the streets narrower and the buildings ‘stated’ an authenticity to their vocabulary…a historic statement – and a grain only tradesman could achieve.  It’s amazing, how truly historic cities inherently reveal a story of time and place…a place before the existence of the United States, a history of non-linear streets, narrow canals and carved out spaces…where figure ground is practiced and understood.  When one has experienced spaces, something feels right… 

Staying at the Mercantile, an old pub at the top of the main artery to the city, George Street, I dropped my bags and began to wander to find my bearings and of course…the nearest internet café… 

As I rounded the corner on George Street I was greeted with a pedestrian only market…as I turned to look left to ensure safe crossing, I was struck unexpectedly with a view of Utzon’s Sydney Opera house.  Although I knew I was close to the landmark, I didn’t realize how close.  I was excited to see that Sydney offered walkability…. 

I decided to fully take in the Opera house along the harbor…snapping my first picture. 

After taking a moment to pinch myself, I realized, yet again what an amazing trip this would be, and how fortunate I am to be here… which leads me to say: Tyrone (the best husband in the world), thank you for making this experience possible; there aren’t enough words to describe your awesomeness!  I truly am the luckiest.

I went back to the market to explore the brevity of color and pedestrian quaintness and found Brew, where I ordered my first short black (Sydney speak for black coffee) and had my first go at a free wifi spot. 

After wandering further around The Rocks, I happened upon Argyle – a posh bar/restaurant with an open air courtyard, resembling a few nights out in Leeds, England – the only difference live music…a beautiful 3 piece jazz feel, where Scott and I re-met to discuss the next days’ ‘potential’ agenda… 

Australian Architecture Association – Sydney Architecture Tour, Opera House Tour and the coveted (my husband would kill to be here… A Trumpet Blast – “with a fanfare of guest trumpeters and the full force of the Sydney Symphony, James Morrison gives us a history of the trumpet with music from Charpentier to Miles Daves, Dizzy Gillespe and more.” 

I turned in early, as the jet lag began to weigh heavily…and only fitting that the pub I’m staying at had a show where I fell asleep to Neil Diamond’s…brown eyed girl…shala la la la la la la la la la te da 

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds…