Tuesday, March 03, 2015

333 Collins Street

The building at 333 Collins Street is not so old, dating back to 1990. Within the building is a much older building. Property speculation was rampant in the 1880s and it all came to abrupt halt in 1891 with an economic depression, so it is a little surprising to me that work began on the original building in 1891 and completed in 1893 amid a severe property price crash. Banks closed their doors and financial institutions went belly up, just as the building was completed. One in ten Melbourne houses were repossessed by banks and building societies. Bad times for most people including my mother's grand parents who lost a substantial amount of money, real money not paper profits.

In 1973 the Commercial Bank of Australia decided to pull the old Victorian bank down and as there should have been, there were howls of protest and the government stepped in and created the Historic Buildings Preservation Council and the building was saved. In the late 1980s the Commercial Bank and merged with the Bank of New South Wales and the building was sold to the Becton Corporation, a development company. A new building to sit over the top of the old was designed and built and even if you detest modern architecture, you will agree this is a nice example of what can be done. The old bank received a full restoration and the project was completed in 1990. You can see the dome in this photo I put up a couple of weeks ago.


Look at the size of those lamps!


The entrance.


Would you believe the sign was put on the wall a little crooked? No?


Polished brass is lovely, as long as you are not the one who has to polish it.


Gazing upward in the banking chamber....


to the dome, with the new building above.


Beautiful mosaic floor tiles.


Maybe not original, but a walkway through to Flinders Lane.


There is a guard come guide who was showing this lad the model. Where the lad is standing is a cut away into the building to see the old one within.


Perhaps not the original position but obviously a bank serving counter.


Very clubby and comfortable. The guide on the floor was happy to answer questions and there is no problem with taking photos.


One last look at the dome. What a wonderful thing to have a restored Victorian building and a relatively modern building over the top. Credit to the Becton Corportation, who I have not always been so happy with. The Domed Banking Chamber is recognised by the British Society of of Architects as the finest of its type in the world.

30 comments:

  1. Thank you. I have a huge weakness for old buildings - and this is/was a charmer. How nice that it could be so sympathetically restored and saved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, there should be much more restoration and re-use of buildings. It was very well done.

      Delete
  2. That post was a real treat. How wonderful to see such a magnificent building restored.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fun60, and to think it was up for demolition!

      Delete
  3. What a wonderful old building, they are great places to wonder around in this one is just perfect.
    Merle..........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merle, you don't see people gazing in wonderment at many modern buildings.

      Delete
  4. Andrew, great building outside and inside. And the lamps amazing ang impressive

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosia, the lamps are magnificent. One winter day I will try to see them when they are alight.

      Delete
  5. The new building is very sympaphetic to the old. They just dont make them like they used too. Have you seen inside the Commonwealth Bank building in Martin Place, Andrew?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Allan, it is most likely we will be in Martin Place next week, so we will take a look.

      Delete
  6. Wow! That's is beautiful! But, the polished brass makes my fingers hurt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strayer, you, like I do, remember what it like to polish brass and silver.

      Delete
  7. That truly is a most fabulous building, I had no idea the upper story was a later extension until I read your text. There isn't a single thing to dislike here, and those lamps! Those are lamps very worthy of the name. Gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, the shell building is so timeless. It looks old, but when you look at it properly, you can see it is not at all.

      Delete
  8. The building is lovely - it appeals to me very much. Your shots of the inside detail are beautiful too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Craig, I was surprised the photos came out as well as they did with limited light.

      Delete
  9. What a beautiful place. I do like the inside. It's great it wasn't pulled down and that it was finished hoe it should be..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very special building saved WA, and worth it.

      Delete
  10. Thankfully the old bank received a full restoration and the project was completed in 1990. The two most important aspects of the restoration work would be
    a] to preserve the ground floor _exactly_ as it was. Your photos show that the internal and external lamps, banking counters and lift doors are still beautiful.
    b] to preserve the front 10 ms of the building so that from the street, the facade is still _exactly_ as it was.

    These might be pissy compromises, but they are compromises that developers will agree to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hels, I for one would allow some practical compromises by developers when they engage in such magnificent but expensive projects. It is a work of art and it is a pity more people who pass by don't step inside.

      Delete
  11. I love how this has worked out Andrew, brilliant idea it was and how beautifully you've shown us here.. One of my many future trips to Sydney just might have to involve a few days in Melbourne, its been a very long time since I was last there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, Melbourne would welcome you. It is a very changed city.

      Delete
    2. Oh yes, there must some sort of mural/graffiti guide book as I see tourists wandering around looking as such things with a pamphlet or book in their hands.

      Delete
    3. Yes it's the same here these days..

      Delete
  12. I like the walkway and the dome. It's looks like an eye.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susie, it did not occur to me, but it does look like an eye. Thanks.

      Delete
  13. I had a job interview in this building a year or so ago, it is truly magnificent!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fen, should be on tourist maps.

      Delete
  14. wonderful - thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really pleased you liked it Ann.

      Delete