At 285 George Street in Sydney, Make Architects’ Sydney studio has completed the last piece of the Brookfield Place project, encompassing the new Wynyard Station as well as Shell House – one of the city’s finest surviving examples of interwar commercial palazzo style architecture.
Selected by Dyson as their home in Sydney, 285 George Street now completes the mixed-use precinct at Brookfield Place
At 285 George Street in Sydney, Make Architects’ Sydney studio has completed the last piece of the Brookfield Place project, encompassing the new Wynyard Station as well as Shell House – one of the city’s finest surviving examples of interwar commercial palazzo style architecture. The project by Make has prioritised revitalising two of the city’s heritage assets and integrated them into a mixed-use scheme which has also transformed the commuter experience in one of Australia’s busiest transport hubs.
285 George Street
Built in 1922, 285 George Street became Sydney’s first menswear department store, Peapes. It’s a rare example of interwar Georgian revival retail architecture.
Indicative of a new push in the city for working with embodied carbon through adaptive re-use, the 2,600m² building at 285 George Street has been carefully converted and refurbished to meet 21st-century environmental and operational standards. The 7-storey building now provides workspace and three levels of retail and is home to Dyson’s Sydney flagship store.
The arcaded sandstone facade at ground floor has been restored with its red brick elevation and timber-encased windows above. Internally, years of additions and interventions have been stripped away to reveal the original timber panelling, windows and flooring. Wherever possible, these have been retained; where a repair or replacement was needed, the original timber was carefully matched, making the distinction between old and new, but ensuring a seamless finish. The building’s services and engineering have been significantly upgraded to ensure this heritage asset complies with today’s carbon reduction goals.
Simon Lincoln Asia Pacific Director at Make says:
“Buildings such as 285 George Street are a great example of how old building stock can be transformed for new users and new uses. Here the building been integrated into the wider Brookfield Place Sydney project but it stands alone as a great workplace and shopwindow for internationally minded entrepreneurs or businesses.”
Another architecturally compelling heritage asset that weaves into the Brookfield Place scheme is Shell House. Originally designed by Australian practice Spain & Cosh and completed in 1938, the building design marries more traditional glazed terracotta facings and details, like the building’s opulent, decorative cornice on the upper storeys, with an early-modernist clock tower.
The facade of the 10-storey building has been fully restored, and the 400-tonne clocktower has been retained as a centrepiece of the building’s historic narrative.
Over 3,000 sandstone-coloured faience tiles were replaced with new tiles hand-moulded by specialist craftsmen. The south elevation has been retained and restored where it joins with the new Brookfield Place tower. Internal entrances punch through into the tower’s 10-storey atrium, merging the two buildings to deliver flexible floorplates of up to 3,200m² – among the largest in Sydney. On the rooftop, the award-winning Shell House restaurant and bar, has brought public hospitality and catering to the top floor for the first time.
Brookfield Place tower
The new Brookfield Place tower stands between Shell House and 285 George Street. It’s a mixed-use scheme which renews public connections, prioritises pedestrians and celebrates the two restored, fully-integrated neighbouring heritage buildings. Beyond the 75,000m² of welcoming office and retail space it offers, the project also revitalises the Wynyard Station pedestrian transit hall on George Street, demonstrating the benefits and power of urban densification.
The tower is sculpted to respond to the rhythm of the cityscape, appearing as a series of interlocking orthogonal blocks of differing scale. This contextual approach gives the building a sense of permanency and belonging. At 133m tall, the central and tallest block accentuates the overall height, while the other two blocks step down to reduce the overall volume, preserve sunlight and respond to the views from the various perspectives. Stepping the blocks also creates six roof terraces offering occupants 1,700m² of outdoor space, alongside a further 280m² of green roof.
By raising and suspending the core in the Brookfield Place tower, a new triple-height ‘Urban Hall’ has been created. Filled with daylight, it transforms the arrival experience for visitors and commuters.