Saturday, 22 November 2008

Sydney Water

With Sydney Open you always get to see one or two things you really didn't expect. Like the unrestored men's toilet in the old Sydney Water Head Office. I used to work in a building designed in the same style and built during the same period. We always referred to the half tiled corridors as "public toilet architecture". However, I never thought that art deco urinals would form part of a tour of Sydney's architectural heritage.

The Sydney Water head Office building is probably the most significant architectural work by the architects H E Budden and N G Mackey and is listed on the State Heritage Register for its architectural and social values. Elaborate use of granite and marble finished combined with terracotta tiles, bands of bronze and copper, also makes this building an exquisite example of the Art Deco style and detail in Sydney.

Bronze bas relief panels are located above the entrance in Pitt Street which depict the water industry and its progression of technology. The building has an interior light well where the external walls are finished with white glazed ceramic tiles to maximise light reflection. Many of the internal terrazzo and travertine floor and wall surfaces survive, as does a considerable amount of original timber joinery.

2 comments:

JM said...

I am an Art Deco big fan and I think it's the 1st time I see urinals as a piece of that art! :-) Shame I can't enlarge the photo...
The building fa├žade is abslolutely awesome! Glad you have shown it. Well done!

Anonymous said...

I used to work in that building and, I can say as a fan of Art Deco, that the SWC building is amongst the most beautiful buildings of 1940s Art Deco style. The stairwells are tiled with that same slightly white-off-green tiling not only on the walls but the balustrade, with a nice rounded top. It oozes style in ways that modern buildings just fail miserably to do so.

It's a magnificent building and I'm shattered to learn SW are leaving it behind for Parramatta. I wonder what we happen to this bldg now??