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Victorian/Federation Warehouse c. 1890—c. 1915

In the United States, the widespread popularity of the Romanesque style in the 1880s and 1890s stemmed almost entirely from the influence of Henry Hobson Richardson (see FEDERATION ROMANESQUE).
One of Richardson’s greatest works, completed shortly after his death in 1886, was the Marshall Field Wholesale Store in Chicago. This building achieved a sober grandeur through the direct expression of its massive load-bearing walls of quarry-faced granite and brownstone, pierced by carefully grouped window openings with arched, semicircular heads. Early in his career Richardson had drawn inspiration from Romanesque architecture, but in the Marshall Field Store he transcended the need to employ specifically Romanesque elements. This building was widely admired, and the Federation Warehouse style in Australia is evidence of its influence.
The commercial revival following the severe depression and drought of the early 1890s in the eastern Australian states created a demand for warehouses, wool stores and offices in the major seaport cities. This demand was especially great on the western side of Sydney’s central business district and in adjacent Ultimo and Pyrmont, owing to the establishment of the Darling Harbour wharves and railway goods yard. The buildings erected in the late 1890s and early 1900s in response to this demand were sturdy and forthright in design and construction. Internally, stout hardwood posts and beams were often used to create flexible-use floor space on each level; sometimes cast and/or wrought iron was used structurally. External walls were of load-bearing masonry. Street façades usually featured rock-faced sandstone up to first- floor level, with plain brick walls above. Windows were grouped together between brick piers which terminated near the top of the façade in round- headed arches. The brickwork of the upper floors was often relieved by sandstone arch voussoirs, sills and lintels. What little decoration there was, often took the form of some chunky Romanesque detail highlighting the main entrance at street level.
By far the greatest number of examples of the Federation Warehouse style are to be found in Sydney, where the firm of Robertson & Marks designed many buildings in this idiom.


Briscoe and Co. Bulk Store, Wattle Street, Ultimo, NSW. Robertson & Marks, architects, 1905. A subtle breakfront façade with dominant arched recesses.
007 Former Arthur Yates Warehouse
008 Danchen House
009 Former Edwards Dunlop and Co.

  Quoted from:
"A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture; Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present"
Angus & Robertson Sydney 1995 ISBN 0207 18562 X
Copyright © 1989 by Richard Apperly, Robert Irving and Peter Reynolds.
  The Big Store. Prahran, Victoria. Completed 1902, an early and exuberant example of the style.