Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...

Friday, February 25, 2011


in: Sydney New South Wales, Australia
Sydney is a city with more than its fair share of contemporary architectural oddities but there is one I encounter almost every working day and so stands out from the sci-fi inspired towers and glass blocks. It’s not obvious, it’s not always even apparent and I am almost certain that it is an accident of design.

The gently concave shape of the Sheraton overlooking Darling harbour, combined with its mirrored windows and westerly aspect, mean that in the afternoon and early evening the sunlight is reflected and focussed at a particular (hot)spot on the pathway across the road. As I walk past this on my way home, depending on the weather, I am either gently warmed or subject to quite intense heat from the presumably unintentional solar furnace. Remarkably you can actually see this effect on the aerial photograph in the map after the jump (only you can't any more because Google have updated the photo - bugger).

View Focused in a larger map

As an architect’s demonstration of the urban application of solar energy it seems somewhat passive-aggressive, so perhaps it is an attempt to distract cyclists and send them hurtling over the railings. Perhaps the Sheraton and the designer are entirely unaware of the phenomenon. Thousands of people must walk past this a day so I can’t be the only one who’s noticed it. I shall stick a QR code pointing to this post at the spot and see if I get any responses. If you are reading this post and have noticed it and/or have any information please leave a comment.

Perhaps I shall also investigate a little in my own time. If you hear of me arrested for graffiti or snooping you will now know why...

...to be continued (maybe).