Reserve Bank Including Interior | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Reserve Bank Including Interior

Item details

Name of item: Reserve Bank Including Interior
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Bank
Location: Lat: -33.8697517372948 Long: 151.210514764895
Primary address: 65 Martin Place, Sydney, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
65 Martin PlaceSydneySydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Reserve Bank is a 22 storey high rise tower of Post War International Style, which occupies a full block on Martin Place. It has historic importance for its ability to exemplify a post war cultural shift within the banking industry. This shift led away from an architectural emphasis on strength and stability (expressed though massive walls and pillars) towards a contemporary design that would signal the bank's ability to adapt its policies and techniques, to the changing needs of its clientele. For these reasons the building has outstanding ability to reflect through its aesthetics the changing nature of financial institutions. It is a good example of a Post War International office building designed by an important government organisation finished in high quality Australian materials. Due to recent restoration work it has great potential to continue in its restored state. The building is of social significance for its ability to demonstrate the importance attached to the use of Australian public art, in prestige buildings in the post war era. The incorporation within the building of two residential flats is rare for its time. The two doors to the main strongroom in the building are of scientific significance as the largest and most technically advanced strongroom doors of their time in the Southern Hemisphere.
Date significance updated: 09 Jan 06
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Commonwealth Department of Works, Bank and Special Project Section. F.J.Crocker (architect in charge
Builder/Maker: E.A. Watts Pty Limited
Construction years: 1961-1964
Physical description: The Reserve Bank, located on a prominent site, has 3 glazed facades. A 4 storey podium is divided into 2 upper floors with projecting horizontal fins and 2 floors of full height recessed glazing to the mezzanine below. This contains the 2 storey public area and the banking chamber in the mezzanine over. The building is entered via a bronzed railed grey and black granite terrace which accommodates the site slope. The tower is capped with recessed balconies at L20. Above this is a roof terrace with full height glazing and an extensive cantilever roof. The vertical columns, faced in black granite and aluminium, define the 8 bays of the tower and extend up to form the supports for the balconies. Between the columns 4 panels of white marble spandrel panels over clad in granite alternate with recessed glazing. The glazing panels stop short of the corner. The plan is rectangular around the lift foyer core. The granite podium floor finish and external floor finishes continues internally. Internally 8 anodised metal ceiling panels sit within the structural grid. Most lift foyers are marble lined, L3 is timber. The original lead lined leather acoustic doors and timber panelling are retained extensively. The board room features a marble floor. Category:Individual Building. Style:Post-War International. Storeys:22 (including Mezzanine and Ground) + 3 basement. Facade:Granite, Glazed curtain wall. Side/Rear Walls:Granite, Glazed curtain wall, Marble overclad in granite above podium. Internal Walls:Rendered brick, Granite, Marble. Roof Cladding:Waterproof membrane. Internal Structure:Reinf. conc. structural steel frame. Floor:Reinf. conc. slab. Roof:Reinf. conc. slab. Ceilings:Susp. plasterboard metal pan tile. Stairs:4. Fire Stairs:4. Sprinkler System:Yes. Lifts:15. AirConditioned:Yes
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In general the building retains its original design appearance but some of the original fabric has been replaced with new compatible finishes. Internally the building has been remodelled at the upper office levels but specific significant spaces such as the boardroom, and lift foyers are retained intact. The ground level double volume spaces are highly intact, although there has been substantial alterations to furniture and fittings. The original marble ceiling panel has been replaced in metal. Intrusive Elements:The external stairs to the Martin Place underground.
Date condition updated:09 Jan 06
Modifications and dates: 1964
Further information: High Significance:The north, east and west facades of the tower, the podium space and the ground floor foyer, banking chamber, lift lobby and public art. Medium Significance:All original built in and loose furniture associated with the interiors of high significance. Low Significance:General office areas.
Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Current use: Bank
Former use: Bank

History

Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney.

(Information sourced from Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani )

Following the decision by the Australian government to separate the Central Bank from the rest of the Commonwealth Bank Group, it was proposed that land in Macquarie Street and Phillip Street be used for the site of a new Reserve Bank building. Clearing of the site commenced in March 1961, and the building was completed in 1964. The Bank's administrators made a deliberate decision to call for a design for the building that was contemporary and international. They wanted the design of the building to exemplify a post war cultural shift away from an architectural emphasis on strength and stability (expressed through massive walls and pillars) towards a design that would signify the bank's ability to adapt its policies and techniques to the changing needs of its clientele. At the same time the bank adopted a conscious policy of using materials of Australian origin and manufacture and chose to further enhance the prestige of the building through the use of works by Australian artists and sculptors. The bank no longer retains any information on the reason for the inclusion of the two residential flats. It is believed they were to accommodate senior executives travelling from interstate. They were an unusual inclusion. Major changes to the exterior and interior of the building were approved by the parliament of Australia in December 2000, following an investigation and report by the Parliamentary Public Works committee in 2000. A large percentage of the building, being vacant, is to be refurbished for lease to the private sector. The residential flats are to be demolished and the space used for a new cafeteria. The level 3 Auditorium, cafeteria and associated staff spaces are to be deleted. North elevation level 17 window sills are to be lowered. Former plant room space and squash courts on level 17 are to be replaced with office space.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Reserve Bank is of historical importance for its ability to exemplify a post war cultural shift within the banking industry . This shift led away from an architectural emphasis on strength and stability (expressed though massive walls and pillars) towards a contemporary design that would signal the bank's ability to adapt its policies and techniques, to the changing needs of its clientele.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The two safes at the time were the largest and most technically advanced in the Southern Hemisphere.
Has aesthetic significance at a State level. Cultural:The Reserve Bank is a good example of a Post War International office building designed by an important government organisation . The building is finished in high quality Australian materials and due to recent restoration work has great potential to continue in its restored state. The incorporation within the building of two residential flats of high quality is rare for its time.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The building is of social significance for its ability to demonstrate the importance attached to the use of Australian public art, in prestige buildings in the post war era. The incorporation within the building of two residential flats is rare for its time. Has social significance at a State level.The Reserve Bank is a good example of a Post War International office building designed by an important government organisation . The building is finished in high quality Australian materials and due to recent restoration work has great potential to continue in its restored state. The incorporation within the building of two residential flats of high quality is rare for its time.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Reserve Bank is important for the coordinated program of Australian public art, within the building. The incorporation within the building of two residential flats of high quality, is rare for its time.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Reserve Bank is important for its ability to exemplify a post war cultural shift within the banking industry.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

General: The overall form of the Reserve Bank should be retained and conserved. A conservation plan should be prepared to guide the future use and maintenance of the building. Finishes never intended for painting, such as the marble and granite should remain unpainted and should continue to be appropriately maintained. Surfaces intended for painting should continue to be painted in appropriate colours. Exterior: All remaining intact fabric on the external facades and the public art, should be retained and conserved. As the original building is a significant feature within the Martin Place streetscape and has a distinctive silhouette there should be no vertical extension. Alterations to the recessed podium should not be considered. Any future development should preserve the existing form, external surfaces and materials of the facade, and door and window openings should not be enlarged or closed in. Interior: All remaining intact fabric on the interior such as the ground floor foyer and banking chamber areas, public art, and lift lobby should be retained and conserved. As the general office interiors excluding the lift foyers and the boardrooms have been extensively remodelled, further alterations could be carried out in these areas, subject to a heritage impact assessment. The building should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to the building and no alterations to the fa├žade of the building other than to reinstate original features. The principal room layout and planning configuration as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces should be retained and conserved. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance, should not be visibly prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I189714 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1966Architecture in Australia September 1966 pp71-77
Written  Australian Heritage Commission Martin Place Urban Conservation Area
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenJennifer Taylor Post War II Multistorey Office Buildings in Australia 1945-67
WrittenNoel Bell Ridley Smith & Partners2001The Reserve Bank of Australia, 65 Martin Place, Sydney : conservation management plan
WrittenNoel Bell Ridley Smith & Partners2001The Photographic record for the Reserve bank
WrittenNoel Bell, Ridley Smith & Partners.2001Revised statement of heritage impact : Reserve Bank of Australia, head office consolidation, 65 Martin Place, Sydney

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez
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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2423917


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