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John Dunn, Ben Peake, Amiera Piscopo
2017 Hardcover
17.5cm W x 22.5cm H

Sirius describes an extraordinary story of survival against the odds and traces the design, life and community of one of the most notable Brutalist buildings in Australia.

The story of Sirius begins with the 1970s Battle for The Rocks and a Green Ban, which saved an historic precinct located under and around the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. The four-year Green Ban ended once it was agreed to build Sirius to house displaced public tenants after a controversial redevelopment proposal for the area. Architect Tao Gofers explains how this agreement was reached and how he designed a vertical village perhaps the last, and arguably the most successful, tower built for public housing in this era.

In 2015, Sirius itself became the centre of controversy as the New South Wales Government sought to sell off the building to developers and remove its public housing residents, forever changing the fabric of the local community and Sirius's original intention.

Local Millers Point, Dawes Point and Rocks residents joined with hundreds of passionate advocates from across Australia - including architects, professional bodies and the Historic Houses Trust, to protest against this change. The "Save Our Sirius" campaign was born, of which Piper Press and its publishers John Dunn and Margaret Bishop were key participants.

“If you believe Sydney should be more than just an enclave for the rich, then this is a fight you should be part of. Whether you love the look of Sirius or not, the issues in play here are far deeper than aesthetics. At the heart of it, the Berejiklian State Government don’t believe low income people should be living in the city (and certainly not with harbour views) and they’re pushing these them out to the city fringe, far from their communities, transport networks, employment and other support services. But Sirius housed the tightknit community that fought to protect The Rocks in the ‘70s, local residents whose roots go back to the early colony. And this building was purpose-built to house them after those very important fights." Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore.

What could we do to help?

“Well this beautiful book is a good start. I joined Councillors Jess Scully and Philip Thalis last night to launch it with the authors John Dunn, Ben Peake and Amiera Piscopo, who have worked tirelessly to save the building. It’s not an expensive purchase...and it will help support this urgent campaign.”

Piper Press put together this beautiful book to record not just a building and its remarkable architecture facing destruction, but to trace an important social history of a unique public housing community and many of its individual residents.

Photos of the Sirius launch can be seen here.