Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

Trust Building, former Daily Telegraph Building

architect

Designer/Maker: Robertson & Marks; Interiors Samuel Lipson (1934-36)
Builder/Maker: Stuart Brothers

location

72-72A Castlereagh Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

date

1912 - 1914

style

Commercial Pallazo

construction

Steel/Concrete frame, stone cladding.

type

Office Building
 
The Trust Building is principally significant aesthetically as an unsurpassed example of a building exterior in the Edwardian Grand Manner, equalled only in public buildings of the period. It is also significant architectually, The exterior fabric is one of the best buildings designed by the architectural firm Robertson and Marks who were responsible for a large number of Sydney buildings, and includes oustanding examples of architectural detailing in the stonework, ironwork and cupola roofing. Its original planning was an excellent example of mixed use planning and now, in its altered state, it is a rare surviving example of non-domestic art deco interiors by Samuel Lipson. The Trust Building is historically significant as one of the major buildings erected in Sydney in the period before WW I, and, together with Culwulla Chambers (Item 2046), as one of the leading examples of the first generation of skyscrapers in Sydney. It was originally the site of the Daily Telegraph offices, Sydney's highest circulating daily newspaper at the time it was built, and is one of four surviving former newspaper offices from the period 1900-1930. It is also significant historically as the location of the Sydney office of the leading pastoralist and entrepreneur Sir Rupert Clarke (1865-1926), second Baronet of Rupertswood, from 1919 to 1926.

The Trust Building has a concrete encased steel frame, with stone exterior walls and a steel mansard roof (originally slate). The facades are of sandstone and trachyte and feature three cupola-topped towers and dormer windows. The Trust Building currently houses a branch of the Westpac Bank, the Cornelius Fur Shop which has been there since c.1938, and several other tenants. The building has been fairly well preserved externally, although some changes have been made to the entrances with the original entrance on the corner having been removed. Internally, the Art Deco interiors in lobbies and corridors survive largely intact, as do significant interior spaces such as the banking chamber and former Board Room. Category:Individual Building. Style:Federation Free Classical. Storeys:11 + Lower Ground Floor and 2 Basement levels. Facade:Sandstone, trachyte cladding. Side/Rear Walls:Sandstone. Internal Walls:Plaster brick, marble facing. Roof Cladding:Corrugated steel sheeting, slate tiles, waterproof membrane. Internal Structure:Conc. encases steel frame (auxiliary concrete and steel beams added). Floor:Reinf. conc. slabs, marble, carpet, timber. Ceilings:Decorative plaster. Stairs:Reinforced concrete stairs - many entry, internal + rear stairs some with marble cladding. Fire Stairs:Yes. Sprinkler System:Yes. Lifts:3. General Details:The conservation plan shows that materials and construction date from different years and architects. Significant changes are outlined under Historical Notes and Alterations. The main change to the structure took place in 1938 under Robertson & Marks, Architects when auxiliary steel and concrete beams were added.

The blocks on the corner of King and Castlereagh Streets had been occupied throughout the nineteenth century by commercial and residential premises. The Daily Telegraph , the leading competitor of the Sydney Morning Herald, levelled the site, had designs for a grandiose building prepared by Robertson and Marks in 1912 and engaged Stuart Bros to erect the 11-storey offices in 1914-6. The board room was on floor 4, the compositors and their linotype machines on floor 3, the stereotyping was done on floor 1 and the actual printing of the newspaper in the basement. Floors 5 to 11 were leased to tenants.

After the Telegraph was absorbed into Associated Newspapers in 1929, the building was sold to a consortium which engaged Ross and Rowe to remodel it into the Hotel Savoy in the same year, with a great deal of additional plumbing. The hotel failed in the Depression in 1932 and the Southern British National Trust bought the hotel very cheaply, hired as architect Samuel Lipson and re-employed Stuart Bros to refurbish the building. Bowral trachyte was now used as cladding, and art deco informed the new interior for the insurance company. Now known as the Trust Building, it was however sold in 1936 to the Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac), who again made alterations in 1938, using Robertson and Marks, the original architects of 1912. Cornelius Furs opened their well-known shop in the lower ground floor and the main building has remained a bank with tenants above and below.

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The Daily Telegraph Building (1912-16) is on the
corner of King and Castlereagh Streets opposite the lofty Culwalla
Chambers. Between 1897 and 1912 the architects, Robertson
& Marks, had designed twenty-three substantial commercial buildings
on the western edge of the city in York, Clarence and Kent Streets, but
they were all in the Federation Warehouse Style which the firm did so
much to develop in Sydney at the turn of the century. The Daily Telegraph,
in the heart of the city, warranted more sophisticated treatment.
Its two Commercial Palazzo facades are perhaps not always appreciated
due to the narrowness of the streets they address and to the strongly
emphasised, chamfered corner treatment which extends above the cornice
into a tower and cupola. The Daily Telegraph was designed to
house all of the newspaper's functions, with the printing presses located
in the basement and sub-basement. The greater part of the ground
floor was given over to large, high, public space - the Advertising
Hall - with offices on two levels grouped around it. Above it there
was a complicated arrangement of low storeys, double-height storeys
and mezzanines accommodating paper storage, stereo room and composing
room. On the fourth floor, high-ceilinged spaces were provided
for the board room, library and editorial staff, with five storeys of conventional
office space above. While hardly satisfying Sullivan's dictum
about form following function, the Daily Telegraph's facades loosely
acknowledged the existence of the differing activities going on behind
them, especially the bi-partite treatment of the building's base.

Richard Apperley

 

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