Architect: Bligh Voller Nield, James Taylor and Associates
Architect for Nokia building: Bligh Voller Nield, James Taylor and Associates. Commercial redevelopment and new 6 storey Nokia building. Site of CSR engineers’ and shipping stores.
In 1984, as industries quit Pyrmont, the State government resolved to redevelop the area, and in 1987 decided that the peninsula needed its own plan. In the same year CSR asked Lend Lease to study the feasibility of redeveloping the whole industrial site.
Many studies ensued: the Pyrmont-Ultimo Heritage Study (1990), a Social Impact Assessment (1991), and a Regional Environmental Plan (1992). In 1993 a Pyrmont-Ultimo Urban Development Plan was approved, and so was a Master Plan for Pyrmont Bay.
From our point of view the most useful studies were archaeological surveys, summed up in the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority’s Jacksons Landing Interpretation Strategy, and Jane Bennett’s extraordinary series of paintings. A few years later John Broadbent complemented these studies with his comprehensive history of the ecology of the peninsula.
Residents were divided: some welcomed development, but many had to leave the area, and in 1979 opponents formed UPROAR (Ultimo Pyrmont Residents Opposed to Arbitrary Redevelopment) and endured years of being consulted (or, in their view, coerced). In August 1992, a few activists proclaimed the Republic of Pyrmont. In this brilliant but ultimately vain gesture the republicans issued visas, and publicised their critique of top-down planning, and in particular the Jacksons Landing project, and the proposed casino and helipad.
Meanwhile in 1997 Lend Lease bought the CSR site, and by April 1999 Jacksons Landing was under construction. The Shipping Stores were dismantled and Bowman Street widened. North of Bowman, the Nokia building would be constructed for commercial offices: the rest of the Stores building was scheduled to be refurbished.