North, South, Central and Administration Blocks | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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North, South, Central and Administration Blocks

Item details

Name of item: North, South, Central and Administration Blocks
Other name/s: Sandstone Buildings
Type of item: Built
Primary address: Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Parish: ST. JAMES
County: CUMBERLAND
Local govt. area: Sydney
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
     
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Macquarie StreetSydneySydneyST. JAMESCUMBERLANDPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Ministry of HealthState Government20 Jul 05

Statement of significance:

The institution is the oldest hospital in Australia; it has been on the present site since 1816 and as an institution has links with the earliest European occupation of the nation.
It is associated with a variety of historically important persons. The oldest building on site is directly associated with Florence Nightingale and as such is of major importance.
The buildings reflect the growth and changes of the institution and in themselves are important symbols for the medical history and the social history of the nation.
The hospital complex forms an important and sympathetic component of the most important historical institutional precinct in Australia.
The 1890's buildings are substantial buildings, most of which are crafted in fine materials reflecting the important stylistic influences of the latter part of the 19th century. These buildings are a significant asset, which, with proper maintenance, will have a considerable life.
The 19th century buildings form an important visual focus to Martin Place, a major urban space in the city and as such are an important element in the urban townscape. From the elevated viewpoint of adjacent buildings the hospital buildings present a roofscape of extraordinary interest.
An imposing group of late Victorian buildings forming an integral part of Sydney Hospital institutional building complex. Major landmark and streetscape impact on the centre of Sydney. Historically, an important record of the early history of medicine in Australia.
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: T Rowe
Construction years: 1884-1894
Physical description: A three building complex with a central 4 storey administration block linked to 3 storey ward blocks. The formal street elevation is symmetrical about the main entrance in the central admin block. Exterior richly decorated. Side wings originally had 1st and 2nd floor colonnaded verandahs which have been sympathetically enclosed. Interiors much altered apart from main entrance space.
Smooth dressed sandstone with copper domed roofs and pitched slate roofs; attached timber balconies with decorative cast iron.
The 1879-1894 Rowe/Kirkpatrick stone complex comprises the three Macquarie Street buildings (North, South and Administration Blocks) and the rear ward (Central) block on an east-west axis.
The buildings in the Late Victorian Style are arranged in a formal scheme characteristic of late Victorian hospitals. The plan arrangement is in the shape of a T with ward blocks radiating from the dominant Administration building which forms the centrepiece of the composition. A grand stone entrance stair flanked by two domed roofed gatehouses and a stone and wrought iron fence completes the imposing Macquarie Street facade.
The three storey ward/office pavilions, linked to the central Administraiton Building on the two upper levels by large arched sandstone bridges are again the characteristic Victorian arrangement, with large open wards and offices contained by four service towers held together on the front and rear elevations by rhythmically arcaded stone verandahs, infilled with ornately decorated cast iron and timber balustrading, with stone parapets at the uppermost level. The towers are enriched with corner pilasters and ornate Corinthian capitals which include a variety of sculptured "heads". These are mostly of stylised lions, cherubs, and heroic men and women, (some of the latter are individually diffferentiated so as to suggest they may in fact be portraits). Completing the ensemble are segment cupolas, clad in copper fish-scale shingles (originally muntz metal) and crowned by flesches in the form of classical tempietta.
The central Administration Building, originally on four levels, has arched windows and large arched verandahs centrally located over the formal entrance and steps, and surmounted by a balustered parapet and a sculptured pediment. Projecting cornices delineate floor and roof levels.
The rear and side elevations of the Macquarie Street blocks and the facades of the Central Block reflect the pressure for economy that developed during and after the first phase of construction. The upper walls at the rear were completed in rendered brickwork and the rear verandahs reflecting the current Italianate influences were constructed with cast iron columns to receive the extended roof slope, not with a stone arcade as originally conceived by Rowe.
The design of the tower cupolas and detailing of the rear verandahs are the work of the office J. Kirkpatrick.
The eaves detail of the rear verandah is repeated in the 1895 and 1901 extensions of the Nightingale wing.
Some of the 1890s buildings are still serving the specific purposes for which they were designed, although many of the ward spaces have been converted to offices (the present uses are listed in Appendix 2 - Physical Condition of Buildings).
They are generally sound buildings with loadbearing walls of smooth dressed Bondi sandstone and rendered brickwork as previously described. Internal walls are stone before 1884 and plastered brickwork after. The floors are constructed by a system of steel joists, arched corrugated steel permanent formwork and ash concrete toping (noted as Traegerwellblech on Kirkpatrick's working drawings, and said to be fireproof) finished off with timber boarding on timber battens. This was a common form of floor construction of the period employed in hospitals to exclude miasms or pockets of unclean air (for the same reasons timber skirtings were not used in clinical or ward areas). The main roof construction was of timber trusses and rafters with a slate covering.
Photographs indicate the underside of the arched corrugated steel was exposed as a ceiling in the wards and verandahs, with pressed metal ceilings on the upper levels. Some of these areas now have under pressed metal ceilings or even later suspended fibrous plaster or plasterboard ceilings.
The Administration Building is similarly constructed to the ward pavilions except that the floors are timber framed and the original ceilings (generally intact) were pressed metal.
Further information: North Block: The external stonework should be preserved as part of the State Government stone restoration program. The rendered brickwork on the upper areas of the north, east and south facades should be preserved in original colours. Repair or replacement of the deteriorating stone cornices, parapets and sills on all facades, as well as damaged ashlar sections, should also be undertaken.
Intrusive external elements that should be replaced with more appropriate items include the downpipes and the external lighting fixtures.
The 1960's office infill above the main south-west stair is intrusive and should be removed if possible in the future. The recent north east fire stair infill has been fairly sensitively incorporated and should be maintained as an essential part of the building's viability.
The internal lighting fixtures are also inconsistent, and could possibly be replaced with more sympathetic units.
Administration Block: The external stonework should be preserved as part of the State Government stone restoration program. Stained ground floor areas should be cleaned. The rendered brickwork on the upper areas of the north, east and south facades should be preserved in original colours. Repair or replacement of the deteriorating stone cornices, parapets and sills on all facades, as well as damaged ashlar sections, should also be undertaken.
The links between this block and the North and South and Centre Blocks should be restored and reconstructed to their original designs. The two storey link between the east facade and the Central Block should be removed to allow this restoration. The stonework affected by this removal will require repair and replacement.
Intrusive external elements that should be replaced with more appropriate items include the downpipes and the external lighting fixtures. The large air conditioning ducts at the top of the building, electrical cabling and pipework should also be concealed if possible.
The staff cafeteria on level 3 of the block seems to be inappropriately positioned, and should be relocated if possible. Some internal lighting fixtures are also inconsitent, and could possibly be replaced with more sympathetic units.
South Block: The external stonework should be preserved as part of the State Government stone restoration program. Stained ground floor areas should be cleaned. The rendered brickwork on the upper areas of the north, east and south facades should be preserved in original colours. Repair or replacement of the deteriorating stone cornices, parapets and sills on all facades, as well as damaged ashlar sections, should also be undertaken.
The infills to the eastern verandah on level 2 of the block should be removed, and intrusive external pipework on the north facade concealed.
Intrusive external elements that should be replaced with more appropriate items include the downpipes and exernal lighting fixtures.
Some of the block's internal infills are intrusive, particularly the 1960's office infill above the main north-west stair, and should be removed if possible. The recent south east fire stair
infill has been fairly sensitively incorporated and should be maintained as an essential part of the buidlings's viability. The internal lighting fixtures are also inconsistent, and could possibly be replaced with more sympathetic units.
Centre Block: The external stonework should be preserved as part of the State Government stone restoration program. Stained ground floor areas should be cleaned. The rendered brickwork on the upper areas of all facades should be preserved in original colours.
The infills to the southern verandah on level 3 of the block should be removed, and the verandah restored and reconstructed to its original design. Intrusive external cabling on the east facade should be concealed if possible.
The two storey link between the west facade and the Administration Block should be removed, the original link restored and reconstructed. The stonework affected by this removal will require repair and replacement. The steel framed link between the south-east corner of the block and the Worrall Building should be remvoed and damaged stonework repaired. The recently reconstructed link between these two buildings should be retained.
The external steel stairs to the Courtyard Cafe and theBlock's downpipes should be replaced with more appropriate designs.
Many of the block's internal infills are intrusive, particularly the 1960's office infill above the main north-west stair and should be removed if possible. The recent south east fire stair infill has been fairly sensitively incorporated and should be maintained as an essential part of the building's viability. Most intenal fixtures are also inappropriate, and should be replaced with more sympathetic units. The use of the main space on level 3 as a kitchen is undesirable, and a use that allows more appreciation of the buildings original deisgn and fabric should be considered.
Current use: Hospital
Former use: Hospital

History

Historical notes: Designed by T Rowe; basement and first floor built in 1884. Due to changes in government, new architects J & H Kirkpatrick began work again in 1890; which was completed in 1894. Name changed from Sydney Infirmary Hospital in 1881 to Sydney Hospital.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Health-Activities associated with preparing and providing medical assistance and/or promoting or maintaining the well being of humans (none)-

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage registerDep. Of Health s.170 Register    

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenSchwager Brooks & Partners Pty Ltd Study

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

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 3540037


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