State Savings Bank building
Description and history
The building was originally constructed as the headquarters of the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales. It was subsequently owned by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. It has a distinctive terracotta and pink granite façade in the Beaux-Arts style. The interior features large scagliola columns, extensive use of marble, and a plaster and pressed metal ceiling. The exterior features four massive Ionic columns and detail in pink glazed ceramic tiles. The building's square trading hall was originally one of the largest in the world. A stately vault is housed in the basement.
The main portal, opening onto Martin Place, features a unique bronze door which descends into the floor when opened. The building has been described as "a masterpiece of civic scale and precise detail." It has a federal heritage listing.
This building is currently subject to an integrated development application submitted to the City of Sydney (DA number D/2011/733) by architects Johnson Pilton Walker, "for stage 2 refurbishment works of the existing Commonwealth Bank Building including internal restoration and renovation work and a rooftop addition," to the value of $82,871,346.
The building was purchased by Australian financial services company Macquarie Bank in March 2012 along with an adjoining building, with suggestions that the State Savings Bank building itself might be refurbished and on-sold.
- James Semple Kerr, author of Elephant castle: an investigation of the significance of the head office building of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation of Australia, Sydney, Sydney: National Trust New South Wales ISBN 0947137173 (1989)
- A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture, Apperly (Angus and Robertson) 1994, p.162
- The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/106
- "Macquarie Group buys building from Commonwealth Bank". The Australian. 29 March 2012.
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