Monday, 11 May 2015

1964: Original Wales Bank Scheme

At the eastern end of Martin Place and directly opposite to the headquarters of the Reserve Bank of Australia is the Westpac Building.

Today I will share a clipping relating to the evolution of the building that occupies the site.

In 1964, a 20 level building was proposed, which would have been according to The Sydney Morning Herald as about the same height as the Reserve Bank Building directly opposite. It would have been a "giant" for Sydney but today would be a "dwarf" against the 70 and 80 levels that some Sydney towers are or will be.

Source: Anonymous. 1964. "Office Giant for City." The Sydney Morning Herald, November 6: 3. 

However, in 1967, we saw the conception of the eventual design. The tower would end up being 30 levels or 119 metres tall.

Source: Anonymous. 1967. "381ft over Martin Place". The Daily Telegraph, December 8: 9. 

It was completed in 1970 and would be the headquarters for the Wales Bank (rebranded Westpac) until 2006 when it relocated its headquarters to in Kent Street.

The tower as seen from Sydney Tower. Photograph taken by the Author. 
The building has been upgraded since. The podium was enlarged. Westpac still has offices in the complex. However, a development application has been lodged with Sydney City Council to demolish the structure and replace it with a taller tower. Hassall has designed a 35 storey (139 metre) tower. The tower would also overhang St Stephens Uniting Church, though the plans have been criticised by those associated by the Church.

The proposed tower to replace the existing Westpac Building. Sourced from the Skyscrapercity Forums. 

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