Docomomo Australia Sydney Talk Series – Contextualising Brutalism / July 25th

Government Architects Branch, Department of Mines, Chemistry Laboratory, Photo Eric Sierins

Contextualising Brutalism: from NSW public architecture between 1958-1988 to its reinterpretation today at a time of growing conservatism.

By the early 1960s, the use of unpainted concrete in many NSW public buildings represented an aesthetic shift. Inspired by the discourse called the New Brutalism, these buildings were primarily designed by the NSW Government Architect.

Architect and researcher Glenn Harper will examine the architects who reshaped NSW public buildings between 1958 and 1988. Following this architecture writer Heidi Dokulil will discuss the fascinating stories and details uncovered for her recent book Sydney Brutalism, from the public’s mood for brutalism, the architects behind some of Sydney’s favourite examples – both public and private, and why there is a growing outcry for modernist architecture to be saved

Time & Date: Thursday 25th July 2024, 5.30pm for 6pm start

Cost: Students $10, Members $15, Non-Members $20, all payable through Eventbrite


Venue: NBRS Architecture, Level 2, 4 Glen Street, Milsons Point, 2061

Bookings are essential as places are limited. Any queries to

Glenn Harper is an architect with PTW and an independent researcher. In early 2024 he gained his PhD from the University of Sydney on “Public Agency and the New Brutalism: Public Architecture in New South Wales, 1958-1988.” Before this, he was awarded the Byrea Hadley Travelling Scholarship by the NSW Architects Registration Board in 2015 for his research on New Brutalism; later he edited two map guides, the Brutalist Sydney Map and Concrete Melbourne Map, for Blue Crow Media, London, in 2017 and 2019 respectively; and then undertook two entries for the Thames and Hudson publication Australia Modern (2019). As an active communicator on post-WW2 architecture in Australia, he has two Instagram feeds: @urban_schnapps and @Brutatist_project_Sydney.

Heidi Dokulil is a design and architecture writer based in Sydney involved in a broad sweep of projects focused on architecture, design and innovation, and how we can live in better balance with nature. Highlight collaborations include the co-production of PechaKucha Night Sydney; the exhibition Designing for the Asia Pacific in Brisbane; the Happy Talk House workshops for Art & About Sydney; and Good Habitat, a publishing project that explores other ways of seeing cities. As a writer, Heidi contributes to magazines, T Australia; The New York Times Style Magazine, ArchitectureAU and More Space, and has worked on the books “Burley Katon Halliday” with Thames and Hudson, and most recently, “Sydney Brutalism” with NewSouth Publishing.