Buildings and architecture of Sydney

Buildings and architecture of Sydney

The Buildings and architecture of Sydney are not characterised by any one architectural style, having accumulated and developed over an extensive period of time.

Under early nineteenth-century the tenure of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, the works of Francis Greenway were the first substantial buildings for the fledgling colony. Later prominent styles were the Victorian buildings of the city centre created out of local Hawkesbury sandstone, and the turn of the century Federation style in the new garden suburbs of the time. With the lifting of height restrictions in the post-World War II years, much of the cities older stock of architecture was demolished to make way for modernist high rise buildings; a number of the most notable were designed by Harry Seidler.

Early Architecture

Between 1816 and 1818, whilst still a convict, architect Francis Greenway, was responsible for the design and construction of the Macquarie Lighthouse on the South Head at the entrance to Sydney Harbour. His works also include the Hyde Park Barracks, St. James Church and the new Government House. ["The Heritage of Australia", Macmillan Company, 1981]

James Barnet's (1827-1904) buildings included the General Post Office, the Chief Secretary's building, Customs House, the Department of Lands and a number of court houses. Edmund Blacket (1817-1883) was particularly known for his churches, which included St Andrew's Cathedral in George Street and St Philip's Church in Clarence Street. Other buildings included St John's College (Sydney University), St Paul's College (Sydney University) and Bishopscourt (Darling Point), the official residence of the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney. His Great Hall at Sydney University "is generally considered to be the finest Gothic Revival building in Australia." [Architecture in Australia, J.M.Freeland, Penguin, 1968] These two men, along with Greenway, had a profound impact on the developing character of Sydney; their work is preserved on the Register of the National Estate. ["The Heritage of Australia", Macmillan Company, 1981]

Other architects who contributed to the development of Sydney, and whose work is represented on the Register of the National Estate, include J.F.Hilly, Mortimer Lewis, John Verge, B.Backhouse, Walter Liberty Vernon, W.E.Kemp, G.A.Mansfield, Thomas Rowe, George McRae and John Horbury Hunt.

Prominent styles

Listed below are examples of prominent architectural styles in the Sydney Central Business district and the surrounding suburbs.

Gothic revival

* Government House, Bennelong Point
* St Philip's Church, Clarence Street
* Bishopscourt, Greenoaks Avenue, Darling Point
* The Abbey, Johnston Street, Annandale
* Gladeswood House, 11 Gladeswood Gardens, Double Bay
* St John's Church, Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst


* Durham Hall, Albion Street, Surry Hills
* Cleveland House, Bedford Street, Surry Hills
* Waimea, Waimea Avenue, Woollahra
* Judge's House, 531 Kent Street
* Juniper Hall, Oxford Street and Ormond Street, Paddington


* Customs House, Alfred Street, Circular Quay
* General Post Office, Martin Place
* Lands Department, Bridge Street
* Art Gallery of New South Wales, Domain
* Library of New South Wales, Macquarie Street
* Australian Museum, College Street
* Darlinghurst Court House, Taylor Square


* Queen Victoria Building, George Street
* Church of St John, Bishopthorpe, St John's Road, Glebe
* Societe Generale House, 348 George Street
* Burns Philp and Company building, Bridge Street
* St Andrew's Church, 56 Raglan Street, Manly


* Central Police Court, Liverpool Street
* Home, 12 Lang Road, Centennial Park
* Former New South Wales Club, 31 Bligh Street
* Colonial Secretary's building, Bridge Street
* Holyrood (facade), Santa Sabina College, The Boulevarde, Strathfield
* Rockwall, Macleay Street, Potts point


* Pyrmont Fire Station, Gipps Street and Pyrmont Bridge Road, Pyrmont
* YMCA, 325 Pitt Street
* Former ANZ Bank, 52 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
* Former hotel, 2-4 Riley Street, Woolloomooloo
* Hotel building, 225 George Street
* Commercial Building, 161 Sussex Street
* Post Office, King Street and Erskineville Road, Newtown
* Homes, Appian Way, Burwood
* Homes, 388-396 Edgecliff Road, Woollahra
* Commercial building, 469 Oxford Street, Paddington

econd Empire

* Sydney Town Hall, George Street
* Downing Centre (former Mark Foy building), Liverpool Street

Queen Anne

* Westmaling, Penshurst Avenue, Penshurst
* Caerleon, Ginahgulla Road, Bellevue Hill
* Homes, Appian Way, Burwood

Contemporary Architecture

. [" [ Entry for Sydney Opera House] "; [ UNESCO World Heritage Centre] (accessed 2006-07-24)]

Harry Seidler was one of the main proponents of Modernism in Australia. His Rose Seidler House was a revelation to conservative 1950s Sydney; however, it was his skyscrapers, particularly in Sydney, for which he received most attention. His most notable high-rise buildings are arguably Blues Point Tower and Australia Square, and other prominent buildings include the MLC Centre, the Capita Centre, and Grosvenor Place.

Two other architects who influenced the Sydney scene were Glen Murcutt and Walter Burley Griffin. Murcutt was born in 1936 and was responsible for founding the Australian Architecture Association. His philosophy was that a building should blend in with its environment. He has mostly designed residential buildings and his work is represented in several parts of Australia. His Sydney work includes the Laurie Short House, the Berowra Waters Inn, the Ball-Eastaway House, the Magney House, the Done House and the Schnaxl House.

Walter Burley Griffin (1876-1937) was an American architect whose design for the new national capital was selected in 1912. He thus made his mark on Australia and Australian architecture; Lake Burley Griffin, in Canberra, was named after him. During the Depression he designed incinerators that were built in the Sydney suburbs of Willoughby and Pyrmont. In 1919 he set up the Greater Sydney Development Association, which was concerned with developing new residential areas in bushland settings. The suburb of Castlecrag was a direct result of this venture, avoiding the traditional grid layout and attempting to blend in with the bush.


With 134 skyscrapers over 90m, Sydney has the largest skyline in Australia. [ [ The World's Best Skylines ] ] Height restrictions were lifted in the 1950s and the AMP Building at Circular Quay became Australia's tallest building several years later. The late 1980s and early to mid 1990s resulted in a skyscraper boom in Sydney, but height restrictions limited future buildings to the height of 235 metres, in part due to the close proximity of Sydney Airport. The largest structure is Centrepoint Tower standing at 309 metres, and containing restaurants and observation decks. Although both the MLC Centre and World Tower are higher measured to roof at 228m and 230m respectively, the tallest conventional skyscraper measured to its spire tip is Chifley Tower, completed 1992.


Sydney buildings listed on the Register of the National Estate include: ["The Heritage of Australia", Macmillan Company, 1981]

*Sydney Town Hall, George Street
*Queen Victoria Building, George Street
*St Andrew's Cathedral, George Street
*Former Gresham Hotel, Corner York and Druitt Streets
*Former Bank Building, Corner George and Bathurst Street
*Department of Lands, Bridge Street
*Education Department, Bridge Street
*Burns and Philp Building, Bridge Street
*Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point
*Sydney Harbour Bridge
*Central Railway Station
*Corporation Building, Hay Street
*Government House, Bennelong Point
*Customs House, Alfred Street
*The Abbey, Johnston Street, Annandale
*Kirribilli House, Kirribilli
*Admiralty House, Kirribilli
*North Sydney Post Office, Pacific Highway, North Sydney
*Christchurch, Walker Street, North Sydney
*St Francis Xavier Church, Mackenzie Street, North Sydney
*St Peter's Church, Blues Point Road, North Sydney
*Loreto Convent, Carabella Road, Kirribilli
*Annandale Post Office, Johnston Street, Annandale
*Hyde Park Barracks, Macquarie Street
*St James's Church, Macquarie Street
*Mint Building, Macquarie Street
*Sydney Hospital, Macquarie Street
*Parliament House, Macquarie Street
*General Post Office, Martin Place
*Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery Road
*State Library of New South Wales, Macquarie Street
*Australian Museum, College Street

ee also

*Heritage homes of Sydney
*List of Art Deco buildings in Sydney
*List of tallest buildings in Sydney

External links

* [ SAW, architectural tours of downtown Sydney]
* [ A mapping of historic buildings in the inner city]
* [ Gallery of Buildings in Sydney]
* [ Gallery of Sydney Architecture]


External links

* [ Australian Architectural Styles]

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