Modern Sydney

Panel discussion

While Sydney’s pre-20th-century architecture may be easy to recognise as ‘heritage’, many mid-20th-century buildings have had neither the time nor the opportunity to gain the same recognition. 

Sydney has a unique mix of modern architectural styles. While architect-designed modernist homes remain popular, the raw concrete surfaces of brutalist office buildings and the glass and steel aesthetic of industrial architecture can be harder for people to appreciate. Many buildings have become out of date as our work environments change and new technologies are incorporated, but how do we resist demolition and preserve future icons?  

Join heritage architects, homeowners, historians and developers for a vigorous debate on what makes a building important enough to conserve and the battles often involved in defining a building’s value.

Will our new ways of working and sharing space affect the future of these buildings, and how could they be retrofitted to meet today’s contemporary needs while avoiding the wrecking ball of progress?

Vote on which buildings you think should be demolished, preserved or retrofitted for the future in our live debate!

Meet the speakers

  • Frank Howarth

    Chair, NSW Heritage Council

    Frank has formerly held positions of Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Director of the Australian Museum and Chair of the International Council of Museums (Australia).

  • Rebecca Hawcroft


    Rebecca is an experienced heritage consultant, researcher, curator and author of a number of publications focused on 20th Century design in Australia.

  • Headshot of woman with dark hair wearing red top.

    Annalisa Capurro

    Ms. Modernism

    Annalisa is an interior designer, design educator, writer and speaker and a passionate advocate for the preservation of mid-century modern architecture.

  • Headshot of man with curly hair against Opera House sails.

    Peter Lonergan

    Director, Cracknell and Lonergan

    Cracknell & Lonergan Architects are a multi-disciplinary architecture and design practice increasingly concerned with the conservation of cultural heritage and the sustainment of the environment.

  • Michael Wheatley headshot. Smiling at the camera, wearing a dark blue suit and blue tie.

    Michael Wheatley

    Development Director, Quay Quarter, AMP Capital

    Michael brings over 25 years of experience in the development of landmark office and urban regeneration projects including International Towers, Sydney at Barangaroo, 30 The Bond and the Darling Quarter redevelopment.

Free event

Registration essential

All online talk registrations will go into the draw to win an architecture book prize pack!


When & Where

Sunday 8 November 2020 3PM–4PM

Live stream

Sydney Open membership

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