Five questions with Sydney Open Ambassador Lucy Turnbull

1. Describe your relationship with architecture…

Always interested and often intrigued as a very keen and committed amateur (ie. non-professional)! The buildings, spaces and designs of cities especially Sydney have long been an interest and passion of mine.

2. What is your favorite building in the world and why?

I have two: the Acropolis and the Sydney Opera House - each the great icon of their city, one ancient, one much less so. Both brilliantly sited - and great architecture is often about great design and response to location. Both are real expressions of pride and confidence in the places they stand in (or rather on).

3. As an ambassador for Sydney Open 2017 what is your best advice to people wanting to explore the program?

Use it as an opportunity to tune into and be absorbed, even lost metaphorically) in what makes Sydney so special and wonderful in all its architectural, historical and cultural diversity.

4. Why does heritage matter? Or Why is an event like Sydney Open so important?

Future heritage means understanding that not only the very old is significant. The Opera House for example became significant from the moment it was chosen as the winning entry in a design competition in the early 1960s. The Green Tower at Central Park Sydney also became part of the heritage of our city straight away. Great architecture and design are instant future heritage. We must not think architecture has to be old to deserve respect and even awe.

5. Finish this sentence “What I love about Sydney is…”

What I love about Sydney is that it is a great blend of old and new sitting within a remarkable series of landscapes - we have the harbour city in our east, a river city around Parramatta in the middle and a parkland city in our west.  Each is special in its own very different way.  We have to keep making the places we live in and enjoy even better as our city grows and changes  - as it has for thousands of years.

About the author

Head and shoulders portrait of woman.

Lucy Turnbull AO

Chief Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission

Lucy Turnbull AO is an urbanist, businesswoman and philanthropist with a longstanding interest in cities, and technological and social innovation. She chaired the Committee for Sydney from 2012 to 2015.

In 2015 she was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, tasked by the NSW state government to assist in delivering strong and effective strategic planning for the whole of metropolitan Sydney.

She is Chairman of Prima BioMed Limited, an ASX- listed biomedical company undertaking clinical development for an immuno-therapeutic cancer treatment.

Ms Turnbull was the first female Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney from 2003-4 and in 2011 she became an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the community, local government and business.

In 2012 Ms Turnbull was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Business by the University of NSW, and in 2016 was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Built Environment, University of NSW. In 2017 Ms Turnbull was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Western Sydney University which she received for her substantial and sustained service and contribution to the University and the Greater Western Sydney region.