Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

Orient House


Fowell, McConnel & Mansfield (working with London-based Brian O'Rorke)


Spring St, Sydney




International, suggestive of German architecture of the period (Fascist)


Steel/Concrete frame


Office Building



Orient Line window, c. 1930s, by Sam Hood

The Orient Line building in Spring Street, Sydney, was designed in 1938 by the architectural firm Fowell, McConnel & Mansfield (working with London-based Brian O'Rorke). This firm also designed other well-known commercial buildings in Sydney including the P&O building and the Sydney City Council building. The firm’s senior partner was Joseph Charles Fowell (1891-1970). He was later joined by K. H. McConnel (1928), J.L.S. Mansfield (1939), D.C.B. Maclurcan (1946) and O.R. Jarvis (1962). Both Fowell and Mansfield had worked previously with emminent architect Professor Leslie Wilkinson. They had a variety of commissions including commercial and public buildings, bridges, churches and private residential work.

The Orient Line building was described as the most valuable contribution to the architecture of Sydney in its day (Art in Australia, 23 May, 1940). Simple and modern in design, the building’s architects created a classic elegance. Unusually large windows flooded the building with natural illumination, giving the interiors an impression of spaciousness and light. The building was awarded the Sulman Medal in 1943 and the R.I.B.I Bronze Medal in 1947. A perspective drawing of the building’s façade was exhibited at the Academy of Art Exhibition, Sydney in 1940.

The Orient Line building can still be seen today, although much of the original interior was removed in the 1980s. The building's facade is now part of the neighbouring building at no. 1 O'Connell Street, Sydney.