Kyle House | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Kyle House

Item details

Name of item: Kyle House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Commercial Office/Building
Location: Lat: -33.8631572291 Long: 151.2093698020
Primary address: 27-31 Macquarie Place, Sydney, NSW 2000
Parish: St James
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT10 DP1044710
   CP/SP68748
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
27-31 Macquarie PlaceSydneySydneySt JamesCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Kyle House Pty LtdPrivate 

Statement of significance:

The site of Kyle House is of state significance as the centre of two major commercial empires, Lord’s and McArthur’s, since the eighteenth century. Its site on the eastern bank of the Tank Stream is also significant. The present building has high historical significance as one of the two surviving office buildings designed by Dellit, an uncommonly gifted architect who died young. Kyle House is aesthetically significant as an important example of Inter-War Art Deco style emphasising verticality and detail of cladding materials. It represents an early attempt to discard historical stylism and search for architectural forms and decorative elements more relevant to the 20th century. (City of Sydney Heritage Study)

Together with the adjacent commercial buildings in Macquarie Place, Kyle House forms an important landmark feature, and contributes to the historic streetscape character. The rear courtyard and access way arrangement is relatively rare in Sydney today, and reflects the nature of the area's association with the development of shipping and trading from the early 19th century. (Graham Brooks & Associates , 2000)
Date significance updated: 01 Nov 06
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: C. Bruce Dellit
Builder/Maker: Stuart Bros
Construction years: 1931-1931
Physical description: Precast concrete panel/decoration, Face brick, Alumin. frame windows Rendered masonry, Steel/alumin. frame windows (City of Sydney Heritage Study)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Refer to Archaeological Zoning Plan The upper floors of the building are cantilevered over the rear courtyard. The building is generally in good condition.
Date condition updated:18 Sep 02
Current use: Commercial Office
Former use: Commercial Office

History

Historical notes: Macquarie Place is quite literally the hub of New South Wales, for the obelisk erected there by Governor Macquarie in 1818 was the datum point for all distances within the colony. The western side of the triangular reserve was available for private purchase, while the south side was occupied by official buildings and on the east was the Government Domain. Significant emancipist traders such as Mary Reiby and Simeon Lord bought land on the west side and Lord's famous three-storied sandstone mansion with its warehouse next the Tank Stream occupied the site of the future Kyle House. Lord's property, reduced somewhat by a land exchange with the government, remained in the hands of Lord's widow until her death in 1864 and was thereafter owned by their son George William Lord and his family until 1920.

From the 1890s the property was leased to the McArthur Shipping Co, founded by Alexander McArthur (1814 - 1909), an Irish Methodist entrepreneur who had come to Sydney around 1840 and established a major retail and wholesale enterprise, with branches in Melbourne, Adelaide and Auckland finally a head office in London, which by 1880 represented 'all the colonial houses in the English and European markets' (Franklyn 412).

The McArthur Shipping and Agency Co Ltd bought the Sydney property in 1929 and in 1931 commissioned the innovative young architect C. Bruce Dellit to design a new building for the site. Lord's building was entirely demolished and Kyle House opened towards the end of 1931, constructed by Stuart Bros.

The principal occupant was, of course, McArthur, but there were numerous tenants in the rest of the building, including Dellit himself. Shortly after a major internal renovation in 1983, McArthur sold Kyle House to the Mercantile and General Life Assurance Co of Australia Ltd. (City of Sydney Heritage Study)

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 ground on which Kyle House sits is of state significance as the centre of two major commercial empires, Lord’s and McArthur’s, since the eighteenth century. Its site on the eastern bank of the Tank Stream is also significant. Has historic significance at a State level. (City of Sydney Heritage Study)

Kyle House is important as reflecting the site's close association with shipping and merchant trading during the growth of the colony. The area's association with early traders, being close to circular Quay and the Tank Stream, was strengthened by the opening of the Royal Exchange Building in Bridge Street, directly opposite Macquarie Place in 1851. This was to become the meeting place of merchants, bankers, businessmen and shipping agents, an association which was still relevant at the time of the building of Kyle House, and which still remains today.

Kyle House is important as representative of an era of the construction of prestigious office accommodation in Sydney.


(Graham Brooks & Associates , 2000)
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Kyle House is significant as a rare example of the commercial work of the prominent architect C.Bruce Dellit in 1931, who was to become a leading progressive architect in Sydney during this period, however died at a young age. It was the first commercial building designed by Dellit after starting his private practice in 1929. The structure is an example of his technical skills and use of construction materials of the period, reflecting the architect's innovative and progressive methodology.

The site for Kyle House is of state significance as the centre of two major commercial empires, being Simeon Lord's and McArthur's, since the eighteenth century.


(Graham Brooks & Associates , 2000)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Kyle House is aesthetically significant as an important example of Inter-War Art Deco style emphasising verticality and detail of cladding materials. It represents an early attempt to discard historical stylism and search for architectural forms and decorative elements more relevant to the 20th century. The gigantic scale of the ground floor arch is notable, and found also in Delfin House, the other surviving office building by this architect. The building forms an important part of the streetscape to Macquarie Place. Has aesthetic significance locally. (City of Sydney Heritage Study)

Kyle House is significant as one of the first office buildings constructed in Sydney which broke away from the traditional stylism, in an early attempt to search for architectural forms and decorative elements more relevant to the 20th century. Kyle House reflects the influence of the American skyscraper and the high esteem and commercialism that it symbolised.

Kyle House is significant within the CBD of Sydney, as one of a group of buildings which contributes to the historic townscape character overlooking Macquarie Place, with a diversity of building forms and scales.


(Graham Brooks & Associates , 2000)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Kyle House has continued to serve the community as a place of commercial enterprise since its construction in 1931. It demonstrates, through its consistent nature of tenants, its link with the harbour and commercial activities of this area of the city.


(Graham Brooks & Associates , 2000)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Kyle House is a good example of office building of this era refecting the planning restrictions of the day as regarding height, and employed an early use of the cantilevered structural concrete, demonstrating the potential of this form of material.

The course of the Tank Stream ran along the western border of Kyle House and there may be some archaeological remains of significance under the rear courtyard. The sandstone wall along the northern side of the courtyard has archaeological significance as an early party wall dating from 1866.


(Graham Brooks & Associates , 2000)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Kyle House is significant as a rare example of the commercial work of the architect C. Bruce Dellit in Sydney. It is one of only two office buildings designed by Dellit in private practice.

Kyle House is significant as one of the few remaining examples of Inter-War Art Deco style office buildings within the CBD of Sydney. The building is significant as a good example of a style limited in representation today, the façade of which has generally remained in its original form and configuration since construction in 1931.

The rear courtyard and access way arrangement at Kyle House is significant, for its relative rarity in Sydney today, and as a reflection of the nature of the areas association with the development of shipping and trading from the early 19th century.


(Graham Brooks & Associates , 2000)
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Kyle House is significant as a representative example of office building constructed during an era of construction of prestigious office accommodation in Sydney.

The Kyle House site is significant for its close association with shipping and merchant trading, of which Macquarie Place provided a central focus for trading activities given its close proximity to Circular Quay and the Tank Stream.

Kyle House is significant as a representative example of the building heights that were allowed at the time of city ordinances. It also contributes to the aesthetic quality of the streetscape of Macquarie Place due to its scale and richness of materials and details.


(Graham Brooks & Associates , 2000)
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 Macquarie Place facade and streetscape appearance of Kyle House should be retained. No further addition should be made to the facade which would adversely affect the aesthetic value of the facade or the streetscape generally. Exterior: The Macquarie Place facade including the grand arch, steps and window and door openings and details should be conserved and appropriately maintained. Original facade elements, including precast concrete and brick walls and detailing should be conserved without alteration. Reconstruction of original windows and shopfronts could be undertaken in the future. The facade should not be painted. Interior: The significant interiors of the entry, lift lobby, mezzanine entry and original fire stair should be preserved intact. Further adaptation of the later interiors behind the facade should be acceptable, provided it does not detract from the significance of the facade or significant interiors. (City of Sydney Heritage Study)

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) The maintenance of any building or item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material; and
(2) Change of use
(3) Alterations to the interior of the building except insofar as such works would affect the exterior of the building including the central arched entrance vault and mezzanine entrance.
Dec 22 1989
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementKyle House CMP Feb 20 2001
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0065402 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0065422 Dec 89 1241152
Local Environmental PlanCSH LEP 4 07 Apr 00   
Register of the National Estate  26 Mar 85   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Management Plan (HC endorsed)Graham Brooks & Associates Pty Ltd2000Conservation Management Plan Kyle House 27-31 Macquarie Place Sydney

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

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045411
File number: S90/04497 & HC 89/1272


Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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