Public Sydney: drawing the city

By Architecture Insights

Public Sydney: drawing the city

The new landmark publication Public Sydney: drawing the city by Sydney architects Philip Thalis and Peter John Cantrill celebrates the public buildings, rooms and spaces of central Sydney, providing an unparalleled and in-depth look at the development and evolution of the city.

It is a tour de force, presenting almost 100 of the city’s most important public places in exquisite scale drawings, supported by historical and contemporary images.

This book is a comprehensive overview, providing essential knowledge for anyone interested in Sydney’s urban history and the development of Australia’s most significant global city. It offers a deep appreciation of the making of the city over time and will be an indispensable resource and continuing inspiration.

Accompanying essays from leading architects, landscape architects, historians and academics offer keen insights into the city’s underlying geography, urban character and most recognisable and well-loved public elements.

The book is published jointly by Sydney Living Museums (SLM), manager of many of the city’s most significant historic public buildings and spaces, and the journal Contentof the Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, a knowledge leader in architecture and the design delivery and management of cities.

Authors Philip Thalis and Peter John Cantrill have spent over a decade researching and recording the city’s buildings and public spaces. They have taught architecture and urban design students at various universities in Sydney. They were jointly awarded the New South Wales Institute of Architects President’s Medal in 2009 for services to architecture and have been influential in shaping the city.

Peter John Cantrill says, ‘The book is a collaborative effort that celebrates the rich array of public places and buildings in central Sydney.

‘It examines the qualities of the city’s public buildings, rooms and spaces, including the parklands and squares – how they have been created, altered and replaced over time, their magnificent physical qualities and their contribution to the public life of Sydney’s citizens.’

Contributors include Alec Tzannes, Dean, Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales; Peter Mould, former Government Architect of New South Wales; Lisa Murray, City of Sydney Historian; and Lawrence Nield, architect and winner of the RAIA Gold Medal in 2012.

Director of SLM Kate Clark says, ’Sydney has an extraordinary legacy of public buildings that shape our city and make it distinctive and special.  

’One of the best ways to understand that history is to draw it, and this landmark publication brings together hundreds of exquisite illustrations of our most important public buildings.   

Public Sydney is a unique publication, a major contribution to understanding our shared architectural heritage. 

’It is essential reading for anyone who cares about Sydney and its future.’

Public Sydney: drawing the city is proudly sponsored by the City of Sydney and the Historic Houses Trust Members, with input and support from the Government Architect’s Office, New South Wales.