awa2.jpg (54283 bytes) Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

AWA Building

architect

Robertson, Marks and McCredie in association with DT Morrow and Gorden

location

York Street

date

1939

style

Inter-War Art Deco

construction

brick and steel 112 m 367 ft 

type

Office Building
Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd (AWA) was a household name from the 1930s to the 1950s as both a broadcaster and a manufacturer of radios, record
players and other electrical equipment. Wireless House, its headquarters on York Street, became a Sydney landmark when it was built in 1939, the steel tower being the highest structure in the city until the 1960s.

- The Tower has a viewing platform 97m above street level which was Sydney's highest for many years, it is no longer open to the public. 
- The AWA Tower was Australia's tallest building until 1958 when it was overtaken by ICI House, now Orica House, in Melbourne. 
- The white 159-foot tower on the roof was intended as a replica of the Eiffel Tower. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
For over 20 years the AWA building with its distinctive tower was the tallest structure in Sydney. Its skyscraper appearance was a radical change for the streetscapes of 1930s Sydney. It was built to house Amalgamated Wireless Australasia and gave the firm a progressive and prestigious image.
The building was designed by Robertson, Marks and McCredie in association with DT Morrow and Gorden and was completed in 1939. It is steel-framed and faced in brick with polished trachyte facing at the ground floor. The communications tower was designed as an integral part of the building and its supports are part of the structure of the building. The building is part of a significant group of Art Deco office buildings located along York Street.

A winged horse, Pegasus, was chosen by Sir Ernest Fisk to reflect the work of Australia's great wireless undertaking. Photograph by Leanne Gould

The AWA building is valued for its association with the development of radio and communications technology and industry. Indeed, a closer inspection reveals that these very themes are woven into the interior decoration. Over the entrance to the building is an AWA symbol surrounded by the signs of the zodiac. A series of small reliefs along the walls represent various nations, symbolising the unification of the world throughout radio. The public could even join the new world of radio from within the building, where radiograms could be despatched from the beam chamber on the ground floor.

The AWA building is covered by a Permanent Conservation Order.

 

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