Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

Sydney Morning Herald Building (former)

  Bank of NSW (former), aka Sydney Morning Herald Building, Radisson Plaza Hotel, Wales House

architect

Designer/Maker: Manson & Pickering
Builder/Maker: Stuart Bros

location

64-66 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

date

1924 - 1929

style

Commercial Pallazo

construction

Steel/Concrete frame, stone cladding.

type

Office Building
 

The Fairfax family controlled the Sydney Morning Herald for nearly a century and a half: the dynasty played a dominant role in Sydney society and the paper had an exceptional prestige. The newspaper first built offices on the corner of Pitt, Hunter and O’Connell Streets in 1856 when James Fairfax joined his father, the founding John Fairfax, as a partner in the family business.

By 1920 the newspaper had outgrown the 1856 building and when James Fairfax finally died in 1919 his son, another James, demolished his father’s offices and commissioned Manson and Pickering to build the present block. The contractors, Stuart Bros, erected it in three stages, completing the sections in 1924, 1927 and 1929. The 1856 building remained in use until stage I was completed in 1924 and was then demolished.

The sandstone building was clad at the lower levels in trachyte from Loveridge and Hudson’s quarries at Mount Gibraltar, Bowral, and was richly caparisoned internally with Caleula marble. It was largely used by the Sydney Morning Herald staff, but also had a number of tenants as well as, after 1934, both the SMH Art Gallery and the offices of Art in Australia.

In 1954-5 a new SMH building was erected off Broadway and the 1922-9 building was sold to the Bank of NSW (now Westpac), which took possession in 1956, opening a public branch-office in 1958. Various internal changes took place and a car-park was inserted in the sub-basement where the SMH had been printed for thirty years.

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Clearly out to take on its competitor, the Daily Telegraph, at its own
game, the former Sydney Morning Herald Building (1922-28) by Manson
& Pickering was built on an acute-angled triangular site at the corner
of Pitt Street and O'Connell Street. While having neither the
height nor the turn-of-the-century dateline of New York's sharp prowed
Flatiron Building, it is still one of the best 'comer buildings' in
Sydney. It is a sad commentary on the Herald's patronage of architecture
to compare the 1920s building with the paper's present headquarters
in Ultimo.
 

 

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