SketchingNow Adventure: Barangaroo

September 15, 2015 | 3 Comments


This week I used my SketchingNow adventure (associated with my online Edges course) to go on a much overdue outing – to explore the newly opened Barangaroo Reserve and see what is happening with the development of the three huge International Towers of Barangaroo South. For more about  Barangaroo here and here


It has been very frustrating that despite my strong desire to be sketching the progress of this hugely significant change to our city, I haven’t been able to get out. I am very pleased however that my great friend Chris Haldane has been doing such an amazing job – and that other Sydney Urban Sketchers have been sketching it as well. You can see some of my previous sketches here and here. BTW I am very excited that the sketch in that first link is in Simone Ridyard’s new book Archisketcher!


There are two precincts to Barangaroo that are now open to the public (north and south) and that is what I wanted to explore. In the last month the headland, Barangaroo Reserve (north) opened and that is where I was heading first (well after a visit to the Tea Cosy for some scones and a great cuppa!)


The best way to get there is to continue walking from the heart of the Rocks, past Parkers Art Store (didn’t visit that this time!), under the Argyle cut up to Millers Point. Two years ago I suddenly ‘discovered’ this part of Sydney – a lesser known pocket full of interesting spaces, buildings and it was quiet and out of the way. Those days are now gone!


I was blown away by the changes to this area (Munns StreetReserve) since my last visit a few months ago. And BTW the couple in this photo turned out to be my dear Aunt and Uncle who were also out exploring the area that day!


I wandered around the reserve – it was a bright sunny day and the harbour looked stunning. I love the old tower in the corner of the park but sadly I think they are planning to remove it.


It is so weird to have a new view of one of your city’s icons from a newly formed headland – they have rebuilt what it was originally. I had strange feelings that I was on Observatory Hill … but knew I wasn’t.  It was also unusual to be experiencing ‘new views’ of the harbour looking west, standing on a vantage spot that didn’t exist a year ago!


What I found myself interested most in however, was how this new reserve connects into the city – and I was trying to remember what it used to be like and also was looking for remnants of the recent usage. I think that is why the control tower was so important for me – as the anchor to the past! So the first sketch I did was of the “Towns Place Entrance” off Hickson Rd, in an attempt to make sense and locate this new place into my mental map of the city.


I then worked around to what has been renamed by a few Sydney USKers “Chris Haldane Point” as she was the first one to sketch this new view on the morning that the Reserve opened. I must say my favourite aspect of the park is the sandstone blocks along the shoreline and how people can so easily sit here enjoying the view.


Time to head towards Barangaroo South, but first a quick look at the dramatic undercroft space under the new hill.


Looking towards Barangaroo South and the newly formed Nawi Cove. It is very surreal to re-instate the coastline after years of the big solid rectangular hardstand that defined this edge of the city – it really is altering my mental map of Sydney to adjust what is land vs harbour!


Here is a sketch sitting on the sandstone blocks looking towards the towers – lots of fun to do this. I love those towers under construction – it will be sad in a way when they are completed!


It was hot and hungry work sketching in the full sun so it was then time to walk down to Tower 2. I have been seeing heaps of media about “the streets of barangaroo” and the new eating establishment there –  The Canteen. From afar it looks like a serious construction site, but I understood that the middle tower was open. And it was – but on either side, the other towers still have a long way to go.


It is amazing that they have opened the site up so early… and The Canteen wasn’t looking too promising from this angle.


But never fear, there were two good ‘cafes’ opened at the other end – here is a very simple sketch that I did while I was consuming my lunch.


Soon it was time to do another sketch of the construction site so I headed out to the waterfront for this crazy sketch – way too much fun!


And then back into the dramatic foyer of Tower 2 – for another sketch…


and a nice cool drink. Just for the record some days I am too exhausted or hungry to draw my food so…  I take a few photos instead. Here is my lovely salad from Silverbeet (with Allpress coffee) and my Bondi Smoothie from Parisi. These photos record the feel of the interior colour scheme of the spaces.


Before long it was time to catch the ferry home- now what is the easiest way to walk back???
The big issue with Barangaroo is its connection with the city… so yes, it is quite a trek to the Quay but it was interesting as I walked through tunnels and down lanes that I have never been through before.


And then, although I was tired and not intending to attempt another painted sketch of the SOH on the ride home, I couldn’t resist pulling my book out – sigh! I am addicted to sketching.


And oh! just for the record, I did sketch my cheese scones at the start of the day. I was pretty tired and this was just my warm up for the day….but I could hardly have a SketchingNow adventure without a food/ cafe sketch of some kind could I?

Wow… that was a big day wasn’t it?

And just finally…

I just want to finish with a link to a blog post from 2010 when I drew the empty hardstand of Barangaroo at the end of my big 11 week long service leave sketching trip to USA and Europe. It was a very significant day for me, to get out sketching back home after such a big trip and I can clearly remember the feeling that the real journey had just begun. I wrote at the time that Barangaroo was a fitting subject for the last page in my book. Read more here.

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