Friday, September 10, 2004

Normandy building disfigured

Walking down Darlinghurst Road the other day, blissful in the belief that Council would be saving at least some of the steel-riveted awnings in the street, especially that of the stylish Normandy Building, well, blow me down and stagger-me-guts if I didn't look up and see it in shreds. Apparently it is being 'cut back' to suit the 'gateway concept' (even though Kings Cross is not a gateway) and to deprive pedestrians of shelter from the rain and sun.

Despite an avalanche of objections to this awning cutback, the previous Council stuck to their guns, justifying it on the grounds that it would let in more light -- even as they brought in rules to eliminate most of the light-giving signage that illuminates the Cross. Clutter, you know. Consistency. Blandness. The sort of values that are inviolable and unarguable.

Many locals think the real reason was to provide less shelter for the 'undesirables' that used to be a lot more evident until the Police started carting them down to Central or elsewhere.

A photo of it by Max Dupain from early last century shows the original awning as a backkdrop to some street buskers playing violin and lap guitar. Ah, the good ol' days.

We are awaiting a comment from Council.


Anonymous said...

Which is the Normandy building?
Is there a link to Max Dupain image?

The Editor said...

The Normandy Building is halfway along Darlo Road about opposite the new Council Building. A bit past Porkys going north. It has an arch structure in the centre of the now cut-back awning and has 'Normandy Building' written on it.

The Dupain photo just puts it in a heritage context, althought it is not specifically listed. It's more about the identity of the streetscape.