The glory of classical Greece has had a deep impact globally, its broad influence reaching to all corners of the earth.
Although separated by ten thousand miles and twenty-five hundred years, in many regards classical Greece and Sydney are not so much apart as alike.
The glory years of classical Greece has had a profound influence on Sydney. Not just on its architecture and built environment, albeit significant, but also on its thinking.
In what is dubbed to be a unique and fascinating event, this influence will be explored by three eminent and entertaining experts; Alastair Blanshard, Paul Eliadis Professor of Classics, University of Queensland and noted author; Professor Philip Thalis, prominent architect, former City of Sydney councillor, Professor of Practice in Architecture NSW, and passionate advocate for Sydney’s built environment; and Angelo Candelepas, distinguished architect, creator of the winning design for the new National Gallery of Victoria Contemporary Gallery in Melbourne.
‘Apart but Alike: Classical Greece and its Influence on Sydney’: Presented at Parliament House, Sydney on Tuesday 18 October 2022
Presented at Parliament House, Sydney by the Executive Board of Greek-Australian Business Leaders on Tuesday 18 October 2022 and hosted by The Hon. Rob Stokes, Minister for Infrastructure, Cities and Active Transport; ‘Apart but Alike: Classical Greece and its Influence on Sydney’ provides a great opportunity to reflect on the legacy of the Greeks in Sydney and how Classical Greece broadly impacted Western culture.
“Out of Classical Greece came a new type of architecture for a brave new world that they were recreating.” Prof. Alastair Blanshard.
“There was an extraordinary moment mid 18th century, with the rediscovery of the ancient city of Palmyra as an architectural site containing the extraordinary and untouched remains of the Ottoman Empire,” Professor Alastair Blanshard tells Greek City Times.
“Today we see it all as being very old but in the 18th Century this was the hottest, newest stuff, created at a crucial time in history amidst revolutions and so on. Out of Classical Greece came a new type of architecture for a brave new world that they were recreating.
“This new, exciting and cosmopolitan architecture began popping up over the world as far-reaching as Dublin, Jakarta, St Petersburg, transcending national traditions and speaking of enlightenment and democracy.
The classic Greek architecture isn’t just about ‘column-spotting’…but also encompasses concepts of the Greek spirit by creating places where people gather.
The classic Greek architecture isn’t just about ‘column-spotting’ – in other words, about the built form - but also encompasses concepts of the Greek spirit by creating places where people gather.
Such embodiment would be exemplified by the ancient Greek fountain houses where people gathered water and chat, elements of which are echoed by the beautiful fountains located in communal locations throughout Sydney.
“The classical Greek built environment also utilises features of the landscape which feel sacred. If you were to go to Delphi, for example and see where the temple of Poseidon was located, you would notice the same engagement with the land and sea - the spirit of Greek architecture - in the thoughtful placement of our Sydney Opera House,” says Professor Blanchard.
Professor Philip Thalis and Angelo Candelepas - architects at the very top of their game with a fantastic sense of the built environment – will also be speaking at the event from their respective perspectives, providing concrete examples of Sydney architecture and planning.
“I can say, that I am fond of very few buildings in Sydney and the new ones, in my opinion, affect me negatively more than the old ones,” Angelo Candelepas tells Greek City Times.
“Perhaps this is because most contemporary works are so brazen in their scorn of beauty or perhaps it is because there is no real ‘architecture’ in the work. For me, I understand the word ‘architecture’ to be a Greek word in itself, one which means a high order of building.
“The Opera House, First Government Bank in Martin Place and Governor Philip Tower… All of these buildings owe a debt to Greek ideas in my opinion.” Prof. Philip Thalis
“Of the buildings I am most fond, the debt they owe to Greek Architecture is clear. The Opera House, First Government Bank in Martin Place and Governor Philip Tower all required a base understanding of Greek ideas. The Opera House could not have been conceived without an understanding of π, of Pythagoras and Euclid, the First Government Bank could not have been constructed without the clarity of precedents in the old Greek Temples and the Golden Mean is key to the ideas in Governor Philip Tower. All of these buildings owe a debt to Greek ideas in my opinion.”
‘Apart but Alike: Classical Greece and its Influence on Sydney’ provides a great opportunity to reflect on the legacy of the Greeks in Sydney and how Classical Greece broadly impacted Western culture.
John Azarias, Chairman of Executive Board of Greek-Australian Business Leaders; and Co-Founder of The Lysicrates Foundation, has played an instrumental role in the creation of this unique and significant event. He explains; “Alastair, Philip and Angelo will be talking about the reception of classical Greek ideas in Australia, Europe and globally.
“In any act of reception, there is the receiver but there is also the giver, the source. I will be focusing my brief comments at Tuesday’s event on the giver and set the scene from the giver’s point of view, that is, from the point of view of classical Greece.
“I will be dividing my comments into two parts. Firstly, I will try to examine what the fundamental feature of the Greek achievement was, in other words, what the real essence was of the intellectual leap that the Greeks made in the 5th century B.C.
“Secondly, I will seek to explain why the classical Greek achievement has been so willingly embraced and absorbed by an immense variety of cultures over many centuries.”
With ample opportunity for questions and discussions, ‘Apart but Alike’ is a very interesting take on the legacy of the ancient Greeks that you won’t want to miss.
The Executive Board of Greek-Australian Business Leaders invites you to:
"Apart but Alike - Classical Greece and its Influence on Sydney"
Tuesday October 18th at Parliament House, Sydney
RSVP essential - to [email protected] by Oct 17th.
Read also: The Lysicrates Prize: Theatre for All. From Athens, 334 B.C. to Sydney, 2020 A.D.