Monday, 12 December 2016

1961: Plans for Australia Square are unveiled


Australia Square Tower. Photo taken by the Author (2013).

Harry Seidler's Australia Square Tower (1967) is regarded as a Sydney landmark. Between 1967 and 1973, it was the tallest building in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere.

It is regarded as an innovative building for its time and is heritage listed.

Plans to develop the tower as part of the Australia Square complex date back to 1960, but formal plans did not eventuate until 1961. The plan was to demolish the buildings on a block bounded by George, Bond, Pitt and Little George Street's and build two towers around a public square. The taller tower would rise 58 levels above George Street with a 13 level tower rising over Pitt Street.

  Australia Square December 5 1961 daily telegraph 9

Source: Anonmoyous. 1961. "Skyscraper Project: 58-Storey City Block Planned". The Daily Telegraph, December 5, 9, 

In March 1962, plans were approved "in principle" by Sydney City Council but it was recommended that 10-15 floors be removed from the final design of the Australia Square Tower. It led to the tower that we see today.

Australia Square Tower (right) with the Plaza Building at left. Photo taken  by the Author (2013).
Construction began in December 1962, with the Pitt Street tower completed in 1964 and the 50 level tower in 1967.

The decision to ditch the setback at the top of the original design was a wise idea because the round shape of the tower is what makes it a great building and the fact its a simple design.