Owners of Modern Movement buildings in Sydney have disputed a report by TKD Architects declaring they should be heritage listed.

Engaged by the City of Sydney, TKD Architects compiled a report recommending several Sydney Modern Movement buildings for heritage listing: Sydney Masonic Centre, Martin Place’s MLC Centre, Town Hall House, St Peter Julian’s Catholic Church and Monastery, the William Bland Centre on Macquarie Street, the former County Council building on George Street, the former Liverpool and London and Globe building on Pitt Street, the former Horwitz House on Sussex Street and the Earth Mother play sculpture at Cook and Phillip Park.

Of those recommended, the owners of the Sydney Masonic Centre, William Bland Centre and former County Council are disputing the listing.

Sydney Masonic Centre

sydney masonic centre
Image credit: visitsydney.com.au

The Sydney Masonic Centre was designed by Joseland and Giling and completed in 1979. According to TKD Architects, the building is an excellent example of post-war Brutalist architecture.

This is disputed in a report commissioned by the building’s owners, which argues that while the building originally included core elements of Brutalist architecture such as geometric forms, dominating scale and the use of off-form concrete as the principal aesthetic device, it has since been subject to significant alterations.  

For example, the additional tower built over the original podium is finished in painted concrete and lightweight cladding as opposed to raw concrete. This is one reason that the building is said to no longer be an accurate representation of the Brutalist movement.

County Council

Image credit: Joseph Tran

The architects engaged by the owners of the former County Council building on George Street have argued a similar case.

The building was designed by Fowell, Mansfield and Maclurcan and completed in 1968. TKD listed it as an important late-20th-century example of the post-war International Style.

However, a new report argues that the building has been altered significantly both internally and externally, with little of the original fabric remaining.

“The building is at best an ordinary example that draws on elements of the International Style,” reads the report.

“The tall rectilinear tower with a low horizontal podium is a typical building typology used since the 1920s to the present day and there are a number of other buildings built in the 1960s and 1970s in Sydney with this form.”

William Bland Centre

william bland centreImage credit: jagonal.com.au

The William Bland Centre on Macquarie Street was designed by Hans Peter Oser, completed in 1960. In a report commissioned to argue its heritage listing, the heritage consultant stated that apart from its glazed facade, the building does not demonstrate enough Modern Movement characteristics to warrant a heritage listing.

The report references the lift slab construction method used for the building, which reportedly was used in some 23 other projects by the time this building was constructed.

“The physical evidence of the lift form technique is now ‘buried’ within the structural system of the building and totally inaccessible for future research,” reads the report.