Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Century Hotel

The Century Hotel
Originally known as Askeys and then as Caseys until March 1940, the Century Hotel was purchased by Tooth & Company in July 1923.

Located at 389 George Street Sydney it was originally only two storeys. On completion of rebuilding in January 1941 the Century Hotel was a six storeyed brick structure, with a malthoid roof and a fully tiled ground floor exterior.

The architectural style is known as P. & O. Ship Style because of its similarities to ocean liner forms. It is historically significant as part of a group of hotels like the Great Southern Hotel further along George Street, and the Hotel Broadway.

It is an important building in the professional career of the architectural partnership of Rudder and Grout, most noted for their hotel designs. It is aesthetically significant as a rare and outstanding example of a highly intact original Art Deco Hotel with an exterior and some intact interiors of high quality design.

Liverpool facade

Liverpool street facade

Facade detail on Liverpool street

Facade detail Century Hotel

Internally the building contains a semi-circular stair which features full height glazing. The stair retains part of its original railing and timber panelling. The bar at the first floor is original and features plaster cornices, mirrors and reed glass and cocktail bar. Below is a phot of the staircase.

Century Hotel Art Deco staircase

(source Sydney Heritage Listings)

Historical photographs from the Noel Butlin Archives Centre at the ANU;

- Before rebuilding

- After rebuilding

- Public bar

- Saloon bar

More Art Deco info can be found at DecoWorks Pty Ltd.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

James Smith's Market

James Smith's market
There are five buildings that make up the complex on the corner of Cuba and Manners Street in Wellington. This group of buildings is still popularly known as James Smith's.

James Smith purchased the site in 1921 and, in 1932, architects King and Dawson supervised a complete refurbishment of the building, including a new facade.

View of ground floor corridor

James Smiths Market corridor

The location was formally known as "Winder's Corner".

More in depth information about the history of James Smith's Markets corner site and its association with the Bronte sisters and their friend Mary Taylor can be found on this link. It makes facinating reading.

More Art Deco information can be found on the DecoWorks Pty Ltd website.

St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral

St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral
St Paul's Anglican Catherdral on the corner of Molesworth and Hill Streets in Wellington, New Zealand, was designed by Cecil Wood, appointed by the Wellington Diocese as the architect of the new cathedral in 1938.

Cecil Wood died in 1947 and though he never lived to see the Cathedral so much as begun, the building today is still very much as he envisaged it. The first stage of the new Cathedral, finished in 1964, was considerably shorter than its present exterior length of 88 metres.

Source Wellington cathedral.

More Art Deco information can be found on the DecoWorks Pty Ltd website.

Challenger House

Challenger house
The charming Challenger House is located in the New Zealand capital of Wellington at 136 The Terrace. Dwarfed by its neigbours, most at least thirty years younger, Edmund Ancombe's fine 1938 art deco apartment block has survived because of its quality. It was originally known as Lintas House and Franconia. Edmund Ancombe designed many Art Deco buildings in Wellington including the Post and Telegraph building in Herd Street.

During the 1990's the Challenger House was known as Invincible House and was the scene of a brutal double murder known as the Thomas Murders. On 16 February, 1994, the then owners of the building, father and son financial dealers Eugene and Gene Thomas, were found shot to death in their offices in the building. After three notorious trials John Barlow, the primary suspect, was finally convicted of the crime and sentenced to life imprisonment in October 1995.

The building was renamed Challenger House to cover its former history. The building was renamed MCC People House for a brief period after its primary lessee however their lease expired in 2011.

It will be interesting to see what new name will be attached to this colourful building be in the future.

Building detail

Challenger House detail

As MCC People House

MCC People House


- Wikipedia - Edmund Anscombe

- New Zealand attractions

- The Thomas Murders

More Art Deco information can be found on the DecoWorks Pty Ltd website.

AGM Glass Factory

AGM Glass factory
The heritage listed AGM Glass Factory at 851 South Dowling Street in Moore Park was constructed in 1938 to the design of Mitchell Henry Potter, an AGM Company Engineer.

The building is of aesthetic significance as a highly intact outstanding example of a landmark industrial building of the Interwar Functionalist style. It totally dominates the corner site opposite the Moore Park Super Centre.

AGM building detail

View from Super Centre

AGM Glass factory building view

Source - Sydney Heritage Listings

More Art Deco information can be found on the DecoWorks Pty Ltd website.

Hotel St George

Hotel St George
The Hotel St George situated at 124 Willis Street in Wellington is a very good representative example of the Art Deco style.

The hotel was designed by William Prouse and its vertical proportions enhance its townscape significance. The Hotel St George opened in December 1930 to considerable fanfare. It operated as a hotel for the following 65 years, although it was seconded for use as a base by American marines during World War II.

The hotel is one of several outstanding examples of the Art Deco style located in Wellington.

More Art Deco info can be found at DecoWorks Pty Ltd.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Commonwealth Bank Tempe

Commonwealth Bank Tempe
Built in 1940 this double storeyed, cement rendered brick building in the familiar ‘Commonwealth Bank Art Deco’ style of the times, featured a ground floor banking chamber with a Manager’s residence on the first floor.

An unusual feature of the design of the building, located at 838-840 Princes Highway in Tempe, was the three rounded external walls with glass brick windows and the flat roofs, one leading to a roof garden. This style of architecture evolved in the Architectural Branch of the Commonwealth Department of the Interior who were the main architects the Bank used for its building construction up the late 1950s.

In December 1989 the bank sold the building but retained tenancy from 1990 for an initial 5 year period. In October 1996 the branch was closed.

Main entrance detail

Tempe branch entrance detail

The bank in 1940

Tempe branch in 1940

New signage in 1992

Tempe branch signage in 1992

Source - Commonwealth Bank Archives department

More Art Deco information can be found on the DecoWorks Pty Ltd website.

Commonwealth Bank Leichardt

Commonwealth Bank Leichardt
The Commonwealth Bank Leichardt branch was located at 6-8 Norton Street in Leichardt. Following the purchase of land in 1910 the GSB of NSW erected a double storey brick building with downstairs banking chamber and an upstairs Manager’s residence. The premises were erected by builders, Messrs Schofield and Wilson, under the supervision of prominent Sydney architects, Messrs H E Ross and Rowe. It was first occupied on 29 May 1911.

In 1949 extensive renovations were carried out internally but no mention is made of the facade. I haven't been able to find out if the Art Deco facade had already been built and if the original building had been modified or rebuilt with the new facade. The photo below of the bank in the 1960s shows it with no awning. The later addition of the awning spoils the look of the building in my opinion.

In February 2009 the Leichhardt branch was relocated to new refurbished premises at 18 Norton Street. The original building has been put up for lease (including the awning!).

Facade detail

Leichardt branch facade detail

The bank building in 1911

Leichardt branch in 1911

The branch in 1960

Leichardt branch in 1960

Source - Commonwealth Bank Archive department

More Art Deco information can be found on the DecoWorks Pty Ltd website.

Commonwealth Bank Paddington

The Commonwealth Bank Paddington branch at 259 Oxford Street in Paddington is not the most interesting example of an interwar bank branch but it is still being used as the Paddington branch today.

Commonwealth Bank Paddington

Paddington branch in 1958

Paddington branch in 1958

Source - Commenwealth Bank Archives department

More Art Deco information can be found on the DecoWorks Pty Ltd website.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Reid House

The Fringe Bar
Located on the corner of Cuba and Vivian Streets in Wellington, New Zealand, Reid House was designed in 1930 by the Wellington architectural firm Atkins and Mitchell and built for the draper, D.S. Patrick. The contractor was Fletcher Construction Co. The corner was named Patrick's Corner, and the original proprietor, Patrick, had traded on the site since 1910.

It currently houses The Fringe Bar.

More Art Deco information can be found on the DecoWorks Pty Ltd website.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Commonwealth Bank - Roseville (Ex)

Roseville Commonwealth Bank
The land at 79-81 Pacific Highway, Roseville, was purchased by the Commonwealth Bank in 1924 and it wasn't until 1938 that the new two storey building was constructed. A feature of this Commonwealth Bank branch was the curved corner entrance vestibule. Banking operations were transferred to the new premises on Tuesday, 17 January 1939.

The former Commonwealth Bank bank and attached shops/dwellings in Roseville is an excellent representative example of the class of building constructed by the Commonwealth Bank during the 1930s. It was characterised by the exemplary and consistent application of the Art Deco style of architecture to its suburban branches which conveyed the image the Commonwealth Bank wanted to promote for itself.

The Commonwealth Bank closed the Roseville branch in March 1998.

Picture of the bank in 1959

Roseville branch in 1959

View of the building in 1992

The branch in 1992


- Ku-Ring_Gai Heritage Listings
- Commonwealth Bank Archives

More Art Deco information can be found on the DecoWorks Pty Ltd website.

Commonwealth Bank - Turramurra

Commonwealth Bank Turramurra
The old Turramurra Commonwealth Bank is located at 1356 Pacific Highway in Turramurra. It was built by the Commonwealth Bank during the 1930's in the then popular Art Deco style. Banking institutions of the period commonly used a pool of architectural firms to design their premises and adopted popular and distinctive architectural styles to promote their operations and corporate image.

The Art Deco monumental style suited the image the Bank wanted to promote at the time and they have left a great legacy with many excellent buildings still in existance.

Turramurra Commonwealth Bank branch closure

With the advent of modern banking the Commonwealth Bank closed many of its suburban branches. When the Turramurra branch was closed it was acquired by Gillian Adams in 1994. She converted it into a beauty salon and spa which is still operating today in Turramurra.

Front door detail

Turramurra front door detail

More Art Deco information can be found on the DecoWorks Pty Ltd website.