BY ANNA COMINOS
Not many Glebe locals will have seen the Bidura Children’s Court at 357 Glebe Point road, because the building isn’t visible from the street – unless you squint. The second DA of this noteworthy site has local groups fired up with a wave of issues and complaints, and the developers Vision Land ducking for cover as they re-submit their application for the site with the City of Sydney.
Recognised by both the Australian Institute of Architects and the National Trust for its original architecture, the Bidura Children’s Court is one of the most significant ‘Brutalist’ buildings left in the southern hemisphere.
‘Brutalist’ architecture is commonly known for its use of re-inforced concrete and was popular in the 1970’s. The Bidura Children’s Court is widely considered one of the best examples of this style of architecture in Australia. This building, and the Sydney Opera House foyer were both designed by project architect Andy Milcz.
“The government should be protecting heritage sites like this, not ruining them with residential developments. Our community needs childcare centres and community facilities, not more residential apartment towers,” emphasised Jamie Parker, the Greens MP for Balmain.
Kathy Kang is a local resident who has been closely observing the DA applications to City of Sydney. Her greatest concern is the flow-on effects of the development.
“If the developers go ahead with their current plans to demolish the Bidura Children’s Court it will be horrendous. The massive BCC is constructed of re-inforced concrete. The noise and drilling will be endless and the burden to traffic will be relentless.”
Graham Quint from the National Trust said the building is one of just three of its kind on their registry.
“The Bidura House [sits] at the front of the property. This historical villa was designed by Edmund Blackett and has heritage listing, which protects it against development. The Bidura Children’s court sits at the back of the site. it is an impressive example of Brutalist architecture and recently became only the third ‘Brutalist’ building to be registered with us,” he said.
The ‘Save Bidura’ Group has led the charge against the development. ‘Save Bidura’ member Jenna Reed Burns puts it plain words.
“The BCC is solid concrete, it will have a huge impact on the community, especially Ferry and Avon Roads, and the proposed excavation is massive. There are more sustainable outcomes than ripping down all this concrete.”
In early June, the National Trust approved adding the Bidura Children’s Court building their register. But unfortunately this listing is not legally binding against re-development and the BCC buildings remain vunerable to demolition.
As one local resident explained, “We need to persuade the City of Sydney to give Bidura Children’s Court local heritage listing and prevent this significant building from being destroyed. There is a middle ground, the BCC could be retained and re-adapted into a residential site, this would have the least impact on Glebe,” theys said.
For more information contact the City of Sydney (see below) or join https://www.facebook.com/savebidura/