Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

Gowings building


Designer/Maker: Robertson & Marks (1912), C H Mackellar (1929)
Builder/Maker: John Grant & Sons (1929)


452-456 George Street, Sydney


1912 - 1929


Inter-War Stripped Classical


Steel frame, Sandstone cladding.




Closed 2006. Store open since 1868. Currently Supre.
  The Gowings Department Store addresses the intersection of George and Market Street with a 45 degree chamfered facade. The twelve storey sandstone clad building is a fine example of the inter-war Commercial Palazzo style. The building is clearly articulated with base, mid and top sections. The lower three levels define the base with a more elaborately detailed facade and imposing entablature which separates it from the mid-section. The brass/aluminium framed shopfronts address the street while the steel awning provides shelter and defines the two main entrances. The northern brass shopfronts incorporate the Gowings Department Store motif at sill level. The main entry doors off Market Street have elaborate bevelled glass panels with a decorative fanlight over. The mid section is restrained in its detailing while the upper section terminates the facade by repeating the details from the base level. The internal finishes are typical of large retail establishments with marble and travertine floors to the lower levels and timber floors to the upper levels. The reinforced concrete structural frame is clearly articulated at the lower level with free standing columns dominating the large space. Individual office spaces on the upper levels are defined by timber and glass walls. The original marble and travertine stair remains open to the ground level retail area with a solid timber handrail. Original metal air conditioning ducts are exposed on the underside of the slab at ground level. Category:Individual building. Style:Inter-War Commercial Palazzo. Storeys:12 + lower ground + basement. Facade:Sandstone cladding, brass/glass shopfronts. Side/Rear Walls:Not applicable. Internal Walls:Plasterbd. & stud, timber and stud, plastered brick, marble facing, ceramic tiles. Roof Cladding:Waterproof membrane. Internal Structure:Reinf. conc. column and beam. Floor:Reinf. conc. slab, carpet, vinyl, timber. Roof:Reinf. conc. slab. Ceilings:Exposed floor structure, decorative plaster, susp. plasterbd.. Stairs:Reinf. conc. stairs, marble walls, travertine treads (lower level), ceramic wall tiles and terrazzo treads (upper levels), timber handrail; curved reinf. conc. stair, ceramic wall tiles, terrazzo treads, timber handrail.. Fire Stairs:2. Sprinkler System:Yes. Lifts:4, 2 x tenant lifts, 1 x goods lift, 1 x store lift. AirConditioned:Yes FireStairs:2

Gowings Department Store was purpose built for the company. An earlier building designed by Robertson & Marks was constructed in 1912 on a nearby site at 486-490 George Street. This site has since been amalgamated with adjacent properties and is occupied by the Capital Centre and Sydney Hilton.

The building at 452-56 George Street was constructed in 1929. It was designed by C H MacKeller and built by J Grant & Sons. Between 1930 and 1931 MacKeller planned a subdivision of the third and fourth floors. In 1958, 1959 and 1962 several changes were made and partitions added to the store. A substantial refit was carried out in 1972-73.