"Amp Building" Including Interior | NSW Environment & Heritage

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"Amp Building" Including Interior

Item details

Name of item: "Amp Building" Including Interior
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Insurance company/building
Primary address: 33 Alfred Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
33 Alfred StreetSydneySydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The AMP Building adjacent to Circular Quay is a 25 storey tower of Post war International Style. The building is historically significant as the first building to officially break the 1912 Sydney height of Buildings Limit of 150 feet and thus become the tallest building in Australia, at the time of its construction. It is both historically and socially significant for its powerful ability to exemplify the dominant role of the AMP Society in the Australian insurance industry. The building is socially significant for its ability to reflect through its location and form , the considerable public controversy created by its construction of a massive curved facade on such a prominent site so close to Circular Quay. The building is aesthetically significant as an important work by a significant firm of architects Peddle Thorp and Walker and as a landmark site at Circular Quay which with Goldfield House defines the 1960's Gateway to the city. The building is aesthetically significant as the first fully free standing skyscraper in the city of Sydney which set a precedent keeping its tower free of the podium High Significance:The intact fabric of the North, East, South and West facades to the building. The intact fabric of the ground floor lobby and upper lift lobbies. Medium Significance:Remaining intact interior fabric. Low Significance:The shopping mall. All remaining interiors.
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: Peddle Thorp and Walker
Builder/Maker: Concrete Constructions
Construction years: 1962-1962
Physical description: 25 storey Post-War International style office building. The AMP Building has pedestrian plazas at the north and south which relate to Alfred and Young Streets. The 5 storey podium faced in black granite and white marble, incorporates steps and level changes and the curved tower on a recessed colonnade. The seven bay elevation is defined by marble clad columns with double columns at the ends. Each bay comprises five panels of curtain wall in which bronze vertical mullions are set forward of the horizontal members with bronze paneled sills. The plaza columns are recessed and faced in black granite with white wombeyan blue marble panels. At the observatory level the glazing to the kiosk is set back behind circular columns and the roof extends as a cantilever. Internally the foyers are intact and feature Wombeyan marble, green marble and stainless steel columns. Most floors have been remodelled internally but retain the travertine marble foyers. On level six the original mosaics are retained. Category:Individual Building. Style:Postwar International. Storeys:25. Facade:Granite, Marble, Curtain Walling. Side/Rear Walls:Granite, Marble, Curtain Walling. Internal Walls:Rendered brick. Roof Cladding:Waterproof membrane. Internal Structure:Reinf. conc. and beam. Floor:Reinf. conc. slab. Roof:Reinf. conc. slab. Ceilings:Susp. plasterboard. Stairs:2. Fire Stairs:1. Sprinkler System:Yes. Lifts:2.AirConditioned:Yes
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In general the building retains its original design appearance but some 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 observatory, and lift foyers are retained intact. The lower level public spaces are highly intact..
Date condition updated:24 Aug 05
Modifications and dates: 1962
Further information: 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: Commercial Office
Former use: Commercial Office

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 )

The site chosen for the AMP headquarters building, fronting Alfred Street, was a consolidation of building lots. Part of the site originally housed a massive 107 year old wool store, of 5 storeys, built for Thomas Mort. AMP was determined to obtain a site sufficiently large enough to comfortably accommodate the needs of the organisation while allowing only a minimal site coverage. Negotiations regarding the building began with Sydney City Council in late 1956. At this time the planned building would breach the 150 foot height limit placed on Sydney buildings in 1912. In March 1957 the AMP Insurance Society applied to the NSW Chief Secretary for permission to exceed, by at least 100 feet, the existing building height limit for their proposed new skyscraper. A precedent had already been set with concessions gained by ICI, in Melbourne. A month after AMP's application, a bill to breach the old height restrictions was introduced to the NSW Legislative Assembly. AMP's desire to exceed the established height limit provoked twelve months of investigations by the Government and Sydney City Council. A second Development Application for the proposed 383 feet tower, covering only fifty five percent of the site with the rest given over to an urban plaza, was submitted in 1958. Approval was finally granted with the building applications being submitted in 1959. A high level of public debate accompanied the construction of the AMP building with objections not restricted to the impact of its height on the Quay, but also to its curved facade this was almost as controversial as its height. The AMP adjacent to Circular Quay, together with Goldfield House, forms the 1960's gateway to the city, a three dimensional parabola which defined the height of buildings until 1985.

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]
This building is significant as the first building to officially break the 1912 Sydney height of Building Limit of 150 feet, to become the tallest building in Australia at the time of its construction. It is important for its powerful ability to exemplify the dominant role of the AMP Society in the Australian insurance industry. It is an important work by a significant firm of architects, Peddle Thorp and Walker. Has historic significance at a State level.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The AMP building was the tallest building in Australia at the time of construction. Has aesthetic significance at a State level. Cultural:The building is significant as a landmark site at Circular Quay and for the role that it forms with Goldfield House in defining the 1960's Gateway to the city, a three dimensional parabola which defined the height of buildings until 1985. The building is significant as the first fully free standing skyscraper in the city of Sydney which set a precedent keeping its tower free of the podium.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The building is significant for its ability to reflect through its location and form, the considerable public controversy created by the construction of a massive curved facade on such a prominent site so close to Circular Quay. Has social significance at a State level.The building is significant as a landmark site at Circular Quay and for the role that it forms with Goldfield House in defining the 1960's Gateway to the city, a three dimensional parabola which defined the height of buildings until 1985. The building is significant as the first fully free standing skyscraper in the city of Sydney which set a precedent keeping its tower free of the podium.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The building is significant as head office of the AMP Society insurance company and symbolic of a revitalised city centre, Circular Quay. The AMP building is significant for the role it forms with Goldfield House in defining the 1960's gateway to the city.
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 AMP 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, granite and curtain wall 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 of the tower, such as the marble, granite and curtain wall, should be retained and conserved. As the original building is a significant feature within Circular Quay the addition of further floors to the building should not be contemplated. Any future development should preserve the existing form, external surfaces and materials of the facade. Door and window openings should not be enlarged or closed in. Interior: All remaining intact fabric on the interior such as the ground floor foyers and upper lift lobbies should be retained and conserved. As the general office interiors have been extensively remodelled and there is little of significance remaining inside the building, further alterations could be carried out, provided any future internal work does not further compromise the facades of the building. 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 2012I166214 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenClive Lucas Stapleton1999Conservation Plan
WrittenJennifer Taylor Post World War II Multistoried Office Buildings in Australia 1945-67 The design of Sydney 3 decades of Change in the City Centre Webber Planning Sydney's Future Spearitt and Demarco

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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2423922


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