CBD020-01.jpg (68533 bytes) Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

The MLC Centre


Harry Seidler


19 Martin Place 




Late 20th-Century International


reinforced concrete 228 m 748 ft  60 floors


Office Building Stands on the site previously occupied by the Prudential Building
  Figure 51
Several years later they again collaborated on the larger and more complex MLC Centre (1975), fronting Martin Place in Sydney, and incorporating a redesigned Theatre Royal. The high-rise office tower, octagonal in plan, its great structural corner shafts tapered towards the top, and the foyer ceilings to tower and theatre demonstrating anew Nervi's structural artistry, again allowed at street level significant public open space, here arranged on two levels. But Seidler went further and integrated the air-conditioning and service ducts into the concave-shaped beams that formed the spandrels to each floor, their deep reveals providing sun-protection for the offices within. It marked an overall design synthesis of structure and services rare in modern Australian architecture.
  Earlier proposals.
  On site.
The MLC Centre is a skyscraper in Sydney, Australia. This office building is 228 metres (748 feet) high [1] and has 67 storeys.[2] Occupants include the Sydney Consulate of the United States of America. The podium of the building includes a shopping centre with several exclusive fashion labels and a 1,186 seat theatre, the Theatre Royal. [3]

The building was designed by Sydney architect Harry Seidler, and it remains one of his most definitive works. The building's construction was controversial, since it brought about the demolition in 1972 of the opulent 19th century Australia Hotel and the Theatre Royal, which formerly stood on the site, as well as much of the historic Rowe Street precinct.

The building is a stark white, modernist column in an octagonal floorplan, with eight massive load-bearing columns in the corners that taper slightly towards the top. It is one of the world's tallest reinforced concrete buildings and was the tallest building in the world outside North America at the time of its completion. The MLC Centre was Sydney's tallest office building from 1977 to 1992[citation needed].

The building was awarded the Sir John Sulman medal by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

The MLC Centre is currently jointly owned by the GPT Group and Queensland Investment Corporation.
- Sydney's tallest building from 1977 to 1992 is 244 meters above sea level. 
- The MLC Centre was the World's tallest reinforced concrete office building on completion in 1977. It was Australia's tallest building from 1977-1985. 
- The tower was awarded the Sir John Sulman medal by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. 

Back when it opened in 1977 the MLC Centre was one of the pioneers of high fashion retailing in Australia. Today, lovers of leading international and Australian fashion brands still know where to head for the best range of designer labels in Sydney - the MLC Centre.

If you can pull yourself away from the sumptuous fabrics and wonderful designs, you´ll discover the perfect café for a coffee with friends, alfresco dining for a leisurely lunch and bars where you can soak up the city atmosphere over a cocktail. Or if you´re in a rush there is a range of eateries in the food court.

You´ll also discover a range of jewellery, giftware, beauty products and everyday services. More than an exclusive fashion destination, the MLC Centre is your complete city shopping experience.


Designed by the esteemed Harry Seidler (1923 - 2006), the MLC Centre is an integral part of one of Sydney´s architectural icons. At 67 storeys and a height of 228 metres (748 feet), the MLC Tower was the tallest building in Australia when completed in 1978 and remained the tallest building in Sydney until 1992.

The MLC Tower is impressive without being overbearing. That it only occupies 20% of the site area gives it breathing space and also opens up public areas for city workers and shoppers to relax in.

The demands of the site itself - specifically the intricacies involved in unifying the 23 individual sites which were amalgamated into the final site - influenced the design. The irregular octagon shape of the building was obtained by chamfering a square. Seidler rotated the square so that it aligns diagonally across the site, ingeniously avoiding a pair of underground railway tunnels.

Central to the success of the MLC Tower is the MLC Centre. It is designed as a podium of plazas on various levels which open out onto the surrounding streets and contain shopping arcades and a large plaza with outdoor restaurants at its centre. The interior is opened up to daylight by a circular open well covered with a huge freestanding glass umbrella.

The MLC centre was constructed to include the 1,100 seat Theatre Royal, a tiered restaurant opposite the tower lobby, new quarters for the Commercial Travellers Club, two levels of shopping arcades and parking for 350 cars. At street level, the outward facing boundary shops effortlessly integrate with the adjoining shopping along King and Castlereagh streets.

Harry Seidler was one of the last of the generation of ´machine age architects´ whose work is international, rather than self-consciously Australian. Although his work includes identifiably Australian values it is primarily orientated to the wider world. You see this reflected in his choice of art for the MLC Centre. The yellow 'S' sculpture by Charles Perry on the top plaza demonstrates the architectural principle of constructions based on standard elements. The blank wall of the adjacent office building overlooking the MLC plaza is enlivened by an aluminium relief by Josef Albers.

Vital statistics
Levels: 67
Height: 228 metres
Built: 1972-1978
Architect: Harry Seidler
Address: Corner of King Street, Castlereagh Street and Martin Place, Sydney
Sir John Sulman Medal, RAIA, 1983
RAIA Civic Design Award, 1981


The GPT Group

Established in 1971, The GPT Group (GPT) is one of Australia's oldest and largest property groups with total assets of A$10.4 billion and an investor base of over 45,000. GPT's assets include quality investment properties located around Australia in the retail, office, industrial/business park, and hotel/tourism sectors.

Other investments include a 50% interest in a joint venture with global investment and advisory firm, Babcock & Brown, which invests in a broader range of property related activities, including investments in a range of European and US assets. GPT also invests in the development of large-scale urban communities in Australia.

The Group's strategy focuses on creating secure income streams for investors with appropriate management of risk.

GPT's capabilities include a full range of property expertise and the Group employs approximately 240 industry specialists with dedicated, sector-specific teams. Visit website www.gpt.com.au

Queensland Investment Corporation

Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) is one of the largest wholesale funds managers in Australia. The corporation manages investments for State public sector superannuation and insurance schemes, the Queensland Government and other government associated bodies. QIC as trustee and funds manager, is a major investor in Australian and international shares and fixed interest, cash, currency and direct property.

QIC's mission statement is to provide high quality investment management and consulting services to maximise investment returns for its clients consistent with their expectations and risk tolerances. Visit www.qic.com.au