Hi guys, last week I went on an architecture walk in the Sydney CBD and I had an absolute ball. Now I can already hear some of you say "BO-RING", or "thanks dude, I'll save this for when I retire." BIG mistake!
The Sydney Architecture Walks are anything but your usual walking tours. Founders Eoghan Lewis and Simeon King are not full-time tour guides: they're architects by trade, and both of them confess an "unhealthy obsession with cities".
And let me tell you, people, they'll knock your socks off with their intimate knowledge of Sydney's architecture. Oh, and by the way, they were recently listed as two of Sydney's Top-100 creative minds in the "Creative Sydney" festival last year - now how often can you rub shoulders with creative hothouses?
So here are 5 reasons why I urge you to join one of these tours:
1) Tickets for the walks are cheap as. Only $35, folks. And that includes a free entry to the fantastic Museum of Sydney on Bridge Street + your complimentary copy of the Sydney Morning Herald + a little goodie from Australian cosmetics brand Aesop. Hard to beat.
2) You'll learn heaps on the way Sydney was built. Did you know that the city was influenced by cold-climate architecture (from London in the colonial era, New-York, and then LA in the 1950s) but with a 30-year delay? Did you know that Italian architect superstar Renzo Piano (who designed the Aurora Towers in Phillip Street) absolutely admired Utzon's work? Were you aware that the social divide between Sydney's Eastern suburbs (read: "posh") and Western suburbs (read: "working class") went back as far as the First Fleet arrival over 200 years ago?
3) You'll get to re-discover buildings you actually walk by every day, without paying attention. I'll be honest, up until last week I hadn't noticed that the top of the Chifley Plaza building was inspired by the Empire State Building in New York.
4) One of the gems I've discovered during the walk is an amazing courtyard hidden inside the Governor Phillip Tower on Macquarie Street, just behind the Sydney Museum. The courtyard is surrounded by heritage-listed colonial cottages and there are a couple of hole-in-the wall cafes there where you can have lunch or a cup of coffee. My kind of places when you need to recharge the batteries and chill out a bit!
5) Did you know that every day around noon, for about an hour, the reflection of the sun on the amazing "glass skin" of the Renzo Piano tower on Macquarie Street creates a fleeting 'rainbow" effect on the pavement, in front of the building entrance? Kind of cool, very Da Vinci Code-esque.
The Sydney Architecture Walks feature 4 different itineraries and run every Wednesday and Saturday. Visit their website for more info on upcoming dates and booking options. You can also call +61 (0)2 8239 2211 or email email@example.com.
So tell me, do you know of other "hidden gems" and "secret spots" in Sydney you'd like to share with us?