evolve*

Date Built: 2008

Architect: Jahn Associates

13 storeys, 47 apartments. Waterfront tower facing Waterfront Park. Winner of the 2009 UDIA High-density Housing Award. Site of CSR caneite factory

View Photo gallery

Evolve & Waterfront Park

Overview

Decommissioned caneite factory Disused defibrators Decommissioned caneite factory Caneite factory Caneite factory Caneite factory Defibrators evolve* Defibrators in Waterfront Park

The western tip of Pyrmont quickly attracted entrepreneurs: barges could moor close to quarries. As the city was near but out of sight, it hosted necessary but noisy processes. Shipyards on the eastern side of the peninsula attracted Fyfes Iron Foundry in 1855, and City Iron Works in 1865. A bridge linked Glebe Island to Pyrmont in 1857: cattle to (and carcasses from) Glebe Island abattoirs were another trade that Sydney preferred not to smell.

Sydneysiders’ practice of throwing refuse into disused quarries added another reason for living elsewhere. In 1910 this issue was addressed by a City Incinerator on Bank Street: but abattoirs, quarries and a fish market reinforced Pyrmont’s poor reputation.

Matters took a happier turn in 1937. CSR was always alert to opportunities, and able to exploit them. The market for sugar was saturated, and industrial spirits were produced in conjunction with British firms, so CSR added a third string to its bow.

As the Depression lifted, demand grew for building material. After exhaustive research, CSR built a caneite factory on what is now Waterfront Park. Caneite was made by pulping megass (cane after the sucrose is removed) and adding paper and eucalypt. By 1939 production already reached ten million square feet per annum. Encouraged by this result, CSR spread into other building material including – fatefully – asbestos.

Aztec designs on evolve* and three rusty balls (defibrators) in Waterfront Park, evoke Griffin’s lofty vision, and CSR’s restless ambition.