Harry Norris

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For the early 20th century conductor, see Harry Norris (conductor). For the American pioneer in dairy distribution, see Harry L. Norris.
Harry Norris
Born (1888-06-12)12 June 1888
Died 15 December 1966(1966-12-15) (aged 78)
Occupation Architect

Harry Norris (12 June 1888 – 15 December 1966) was an Australian architect whose works are spread across Melbourne. He was well known for his strong Art Deco Style combining American and Australian architecture. He was one of the most prolific commercial architects between 1920 and 1930. Most of his works were inspired by his regular overseas trips to observe current architectural trends, mainly to the United States, which became annual from 1928 to 1941. As a consequence, his style developed and transformed continually. In 1929, Harry’s client, George James Coles sent him to Europe and America to study trends in designing chain stores. Soon after he came back, he finished the design of the new Coles store (now David Jones) in Bourke Street, Melbourne. He was elected an associate of RVIA 21 February 1946.

Key buildings[edit]

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Nicholas Building, Melbourne
Nicholas Building

Address: 27-41 Swanston Street Date of construction: 1925-26, 1939-40 (extension) Client: Alfred Nicholas, G.J. Coles (extension) The Nicholas Building is the most distinctive commercial palazzo in Melbourne. The building has many classical and Greek revival elements such as large columns, balconies, wide cornice, marble stairs and tiled corridors. The facade is clad with terracotta faience. The cathedral arcade is located on the ground floor and its glazed leadlight barrel vaulted ceiling is a main feature of the building. The Nicholas Building was originally used as offices and currently accommodates many art studios.

Block Court

Address: 288-292 Collins Street Date of construction:1929 Client: Benjamin Fink Harry Norris' Block Court was a remodelling project where the shopping arcade was introduced to the ground floor to connect Collins Street with the block arcade. The building was originally the Athenaeum Club built in 1890. Block Court is significantly Art Deco displaying characteristic features like zigzag copper shop window frames, stained glass, terrazzo flooring and elaborate ceiling decoration with stepped geometric shapes and floral motifs. Block Court was a significant contribution to the emerging trend of shopping arcades in Melbourne.

G.J. Coles Building
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David Jones Store(Former G. J. Coles Store), Melbourne

Address: 298-304 Bourke Street Date of construction: 1928, 1938-40 (extension), [1984 Bates Smart McCutcheon (conversion to David Jones)] Client: G.J. Coles Builder: Clements Langford Pty. Ltd. Engineer: Mr. Clive S.Steele The building is noted for its extensive use of colorful jazz moderne detailing in its mauve terracotta facade which is represented in a commercial gothic moderne style. It was the first major Chicago-inspired Commercial Gothic building in Victoria and is one of the more colorful interwar buildings in Melbourne.

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Mitchell House, Melbourne
Mitchell House

Address: 325-362 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne Date of construction: 1937[1] Mitchell House is located at the junction of Elizabeth Street and Lonsdale Street. The building distinctively reflects the architecture language of a European modern architecture of the 1920s and '30s with its clean horizontal glass and plain wall surfaces, broken by a contrasting vertical stairwell element.

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Carlow House, Melbourne

List of selected works[edit]

  • Tattersall's Club premises (now Curtin House) at (originally 252) 248 Swanston Street, Melbourne, 1922
  • Deva House, 327 Bourke Street, Melbourne, 1924
  • Nicholas Building, 27-41 Swanston Street, Melbourne, 1927
  • G.J.Coles Stores, 299-307 Bourke Street, Melbourne, 1928 – 1930
  • Majorca Building, 258-260 Flinders Lane, 1928-1930
  • Former Kellow Falkiner Showrooms (Kellow Houses), 375-379 St.Kilda Road, South Yarra, 1929[2]
  • Block Court, 288 – 292 Collins Street, 1929
  • Moonya, 9 Lakeside Drive, Country Club Estate, Emerald, c1935
  • Silver Birches, 1 Mary St, Country Club Estate, Emerald, 1937[3]
  • Burnham Beeches, Sherbrooke Road, Sassafras, 1934
  • Mitchell House, 352 – 362 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, 1936
  • Melford Motors Showroom, 615 Elizabeth Street, North Melbourne, 1937
  • Mission to Seamen, 1 Beach Road, Port Melbourne, 1937
  • Former Capitol Bakeries, 625 Chapel Street, 1937
  • Northern Bakery (later Tip Top), 170 Edward Street, East Brunswick, 1940
  • Coles Store, Ivanhoe, 115-117 Upper Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe, 1940
  • Nicholas Hall, 148 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, 1940
  • Ivanhoe Grammar School, The Ridgeway, Ivanhoe, 1954
  • Fowlers Vacola Manufacturing Factory, 275 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, 1955 (now The Works homewares store)
  • Australian and New Zealand Bank, 224-236 Queen Street, Melbourne, 1958
  • Ensign Dry Cleaning (former), 24 Leinster Grove, Northcote, 1959
  • Northcote Town Hall and Lobby, 197 – 201 High Street, Northcote, 1930


  1. ^ Mitchell House at National Trust (Victoria) database. Accessed 21 October 2013
  2. ^ "Former Kellow Falkiner Showrooms (Heritage Listed Location)". On My Doorstep. 2005-10-07. Retrieved 2013-05-11. 
  3. ^ Victoria, Heritage. "Silver Birches, 1 Mary Street, Emerald. Architect - Harry Norris. Client - Dr Bottomley". Heritage Victoria . Info. - Silver Birches, 1 Mary St. Emerald 3782. Victoria. Gov. Australia. Retrieved 23 January 2014.