Public Sydney: Drawing the City is a large and beautiful book. Its size recalls William Hardy Wilson’s Old Colonial Architecture in New South Wales and Tasmania (1924) and other folio-sized books produced by architect–authors such as Andrea Palladio, James Stuart and Nicholas Revett, and Richard Phené Spiers. Their luxurious size was dictated by the reproduction of drawings at a scale where maximum information might be imparted – like the encyclopedic data provided by a map or an atlas, or an architect’s working drawing. The size of Public Sydney has been determined by the scale of Sydney’s plan view, and special note should be made of the book’s consistent placement of historic drawings – very carefully done – so that, at various moments, one can deduce a longitudinal account of the city’s development.
Storm of progress
A fine architectural compendium to Sydney
Public Sydney: Drawing the City
edited by Philip Thalis and Peter John Cantrill
Historic Houses Trust, $95 hb, 229 pp, 9781876991425
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Philip Goad is Chair and Professor of Architecture at The University of Melbourne. He co-edited The Encyclopedia of Australian Architecture (2011).
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