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2009/55/1-6 Architectural model, No.2 Bond Street, Sydney (unbuilt), part of design archive, John Andrews / John Andrews International, Australia, 1987-1988. Click to enlarge.

Architectural model, No.2 Bond Street, Sydney (unbuilt), John Andrews

Made 1987-1988
The model and related documentation of the No.2 Bond Street design is an important record of a John Andrews project which despite its unbuilt status briefly enjoyed a high profile.

The Andrews design was created as a solution to the heritage controversy surrounding an earlier development proposal for the site, which would have involved the demolition of George Street buildings between Bond and Bridge Streets including George Patterson House. Andrews' design featured two polygonal-plan connected towers elevated above street level, connected and supported by a cylindrical lift and service core, permitting the coexistence of the office tower development and the heritage buildings. George Patterson House was to be redeveloped as an apartment complex.

A similar controversy took place during the same decade with the nearby Grosvenor Place development designed by Harry Seidler. The original design for this commercial complex assumed (but did not require) the demolition of buildings facing George and Grosvenor streets, but the retention of these structures became a condition of its approval much to the architect's displeasure. John Andrews was less convinced than Harry Seidler by the appeal and necessity of plazas and public space surrounding commercial towers, arguing that Sydney was 'plaza-ed out'. He eschewed this solution for IAG House (corner George and King streets) in favour of retail and cafe spaces.

The prospectus for 2 Bond Street stated that Andrews' 'design approach allows the consolidation of the streetscape established by the Metropolitan Hotel and the Holdsworth MacPherson Building, firmly reinstating the traditional street building pattern of central Sydney which had been greatly eroded by nearby plaza/tower development'.

Approved by City Council and widely praised, Andrews' No.2 Bond Street was an innovative attempt to accommodate city heritage to commercial development at period when this was a major urban issue.

This project is one of 22 unbuilt designs (11 historic and 11 contemporary) created via digital media for the Australian Pavilion, 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale.



Charles Pickett, curator.

Summary

Object No.

2009/55/1-6

Object Statement

Architectural model, No.2 Bond Street, Sydney (unbuilt), part of design archive, John Andrews / John Andrews International, Australia, 1987-1988

Physical Description

Architectural model, No.2 Bond Street, Sydney (unbuilt), part of design archive, John Andrews / John Andrews International, Australia, 1987-1988

Dimensions

Height

470 mm

Width

520 mm

Depth

390 mm

Production

Made

1987-1988

Notes

John Andrews (b.1933) grew up in Sydney. His father was a stone mason whose business struggled during and after World War II. A cousin of the designer Gordon Andrews, John Andrews attended North Sydney Boys High, worked as a builders labourer and studied architecture at the University of Sydney.

In 1957 Andrews won a scholarship to the Harvard Graduate School of Design, completing a masters degree in 1958. With fellow students he entered a design competition for a new Toronto City Hall. When the entry was selected as a finalist Andrews moved to Toronto; he worked on the City Hall project with the winning architects.

Andrews also taught at the University of Toronto and in 1962 was commissioned to design a new campus for the University. Known as Scarborough College, the new campus attracted international attention for its novel solutions to the specific needs of staff and students, especially its integration of building, circulation and landscape design. In deference the fact that the academic year occupied Toronto's severe winters, Andrews designed internal pedestrian streets bathed in natural light, contained within a massive castle-like structure formed of site-cast concrete.

According to the journal Canadian Architect, the new campus 'with its iconic chimneys and massive use of site-cast concrete caused initial controversy when viewed as architecture that is a massive, introspective and snaking complex overlooking a valley located far from the cultural centre of the region in Toronto...But Scarborough College was an ambitious social and architectural exercise that has become an architectural landmark and a defining example of 1960s architecture in Canada', [Canadian Architect, February 2004.] Featured on the cover of Time magazine, extolled by luminaries including MOMA's Phillip Johnson, Scarborough College created Andrews' reputation.

Andrews' success was perfectly timed for the 1960s boom in university education. His work responded to changes in university and college cultures, notably independent and unstructured student activity, and was influential on numerous new campuses. Andrews went on to design tertiary education residences and schools at Guelph University, Ontario, Brock University, Ontario, the University of Western Ontario, Kent State, Ohio, Smith College, Massachusetts, as well as campuses at Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne. His most prestigious education commission was George Gund Hall (completed 1972), a new home for his alma mater, the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Its terraced workspaces and glazed roof form an appropriately bravura home for a high-profile design school, while its interior creates interaction between staff and students of varied disciplines.

Other prominent North American commissions included African Place, Expo 67, Montreal (1967), Toronto's CN Tower (1976), until recently the tallest structure in the world, the Miami Seaport passenger terminal (1970) and the Intelsat Headquarters, Washington (1988).

In 1972 Andrews returned to Australia, having won a commission to design a new group of government offices at a green field site at Belconnen, Canberra. Although the commission specified five fifteen story office towers to accommodate 4000 workers, Andrews convinced his clients to accept an entirely new solution of seven low-rise terraced office pavilions organised around landscaped courtyards. The pavilions were connected by walk ways and pedestrian bridges. The Cameron Offices, as they were named at their completion in 1977, was the first structure built at Belconnen and was designed to be integrated with the new town centre; however a town centre and shopping mall was eventually constructed some distance from the Offices, compromising its pedestrian-friendly design concept.

Andrews renamed his practice John Andrews International, maintaining a North American office at Washington, DC while situating his Australian office near his home at Palm Beach, Sydney. Attracting several commissions from the University of Queensland, Andrews opened a Brisbane office led by John Simpson, a Scottish architect who had worked for him in North America.

His Australian projects included IAG House (also known at different times as King George Tower, the American Express Tower and the NRMA Tower) at the corner of King and George Streets, Sydney (completed 1976). Andrews's sole office tower and winner of an RAIA Sulman Prize, this tower was an innovator in energy-saving design, given visual form by its plexi-glass 'sunglasses' facade. The building consumed just 60 per cent of the energy consumption of other towers. In addition its diagonal siting and triangular floor plan enhanced pedestrian access to the corner site.

IAG House also gained popular press for its 'loos with a view'; toilets and other services were grouped in the structural towers at each corner of the triangular floor plan, affording them spectacular city views.

As Conrad Hamann has written, during the 1970s Andrews was 'the great hope of Australian architecture' [Cities of Hope, OUP, Melbourne, 1993, p.139]. With Cameron Offices and IAG House, Andrews delivered two innovative and spectacular buildings. However the economic downturn of the late 1970s and early 1980s cancelled, delayed or diminished several projects, notably the RMIT Student Union and Library at Swanston Street, Melbourne, left part-completed due to funding shortfalls.

The subsequent 1980s boom brought a torrent of work, but arguably the moment had passed for Andrews' public profile, with major buildings expected again to make aesthetic and cultural statements, as well as creating functioning spaces. Harry Seidler also suffered in the postModern climate, however Andrews was fortunate in being able to introduce what was effectively a new building genre to Australia, designing convention centres in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide. The Adelaide centre is particularly notable as part of a complex which also includes a hotel, casino and exhibition centre in and around the city's 1920s railway terminal. Sydney's Darling Harbour project was a similar opportunity to recast a major city precinct, and Andrews' Convention Centre, his last major Sydney building, won wide praise. According to Bill MacMahon the centre. 'with its strong, precise geometry,,, and general clarity of execution, is simply the best building in Darling Harbour' [Bill MacMahon, The Architecture of East Australia, Stuttgart, Axel Menges, 2001, p.81.]

Andrews also continued introducing his North American university expertise to Australian campuses. One of his first such commissions, for student housing at the Australian National University, proved difficult. Andrews encountered official resistance to a design promoting an informal, independent student lifestyle. Instead of large dining halls and common rooms, Andrew's colleges grouped a small number of students' rooms around a shared common room and kitchen, combining independence and sociability, The result, named Toad Hall by its student residents, remains perhaps the best known of his several Australian campus projects and was the prototype for numerous similar campus buildings. This expertise in multi-unit dwellings was also employed by the Housing Commission of NSW, who commissioned Andrews to design a large low-rise public housing complex at Little Bay, Sydney in 1980.

Many of Andrews' projects were created through the design of a set of spaces which was then repeated, their arrangement creating the building's external appearance. A similar way of working was used for several of his office commissions where, instead of high-rise towers, hexagonal or octagonal plan spaces were arranged into groups of low-rise modules separated by courtyards. Examples include the Callam Offices complex (formerly Woden TAFE), the Octagon offices, Parramatta, and the Intelsat headquarters, Washington, a commission won via an international design competition.

Andrews retired from full-time practice after a bout of ill-health during the early 1990s. In 1979 he had designed a farmhouse for a family farming property at Eugowra, 370 kilometres west of Sydney. Incorporating a windmill, solar heat and water collectors, the Eugowra house is an innovative marriage of climate-sensitive design and traditional homestead forms. In 1995 Andrews established a vineyard at nearby Canowindra.

During the late 1990s Andrews' name returned to prominence due to redevelopment plans affecting two of his major projects. Andrews had included retail structures at the street level of IAG House in preference to the bare plazas then in vogue for office towers; part of this space was terraced below street level in the expectation that it would be connected underground with adjacent buildings. When this did not happen, the plaza was rendered partly redundant and the building's new owner proposed a substantial redevelopment. Although many of the redevelopment plans were rejected by the Sydney City Council in deference to the quality of the original design, the tower lost its distinctive sunshade facade.

Andrews was furious that an awarded and widely praised building could be so casually mistreated:"To add insult to injury ... the refurbishment is to be the work of Rice Daubney, designers of the pink and blue Coopers & Lybrand office tower, which Mr Andrews says has 'no depth, no guts, no idea ...' " (Anne Susskind, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 September 1997)

In 1999 the Federal Government, concerned at Canberra's oversupplied office market and depressed construction industry, sold the Cameron Offices complex to a private developer, which was permitted to demolish the offices despite their protection under heritage laws. After lengthy controversy, most of the complex was demolished. leaving intact only the two pavilions facing Cameron Avenue, now occupied by CommSuper. One of the landscaped courtyards is also extant and has been restored. Of the space formerly occupied by the other five pavilions, the area to the south of the remaining pavilions is occupied by an apartment development. The space once occupied by the two northern pavilions is now an asphalted carpark.

History

Notes

The No.2 Bond Street model documents an unbuilt Sydney project designed during 1987 and 1988. The John Andrews archive collection also holds design and presentation drawings of the project as well as photographs of other models.

This project is one of 22 Australian unbuilt designs created via digital media for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Apart from its significance as a design by John Andrews No.2 Bond Street featured in a high-profile heritage controversy of the 1980s centred on George Patterson House, 252 George Street. Built in 1895 as a department store for the retailer Holdsworth MacPherson, the seven-floor building became the editorial and production headquarters of The Bulletin for some decades. During the 1960s the advertising agency George Patterson leased the building conferring the company name on the structure.

Pattersons vacated in 1984 after the building was purchased by New World Properties, a company headed by the high-profile property developer Warren Anderson. New World submitted an application to City Council to construct a 31- storey office and retail building on a combined site comprising the George Street properties between Bond and Bridge streets. This application sought the demolition of George Patterson House and neighbouring properties including the Metropolitan Hotel. The decision of the City Council to approve the application caused a major controversy, as did the concurrence of the Heritage Council of NSW and the Minister for Planning and Environment, Bob Carr. Opposition was led by Frank Sartor and other City Councillors and the Council's own planning department. The application also incited opposition (on the grounds of potential overshadowing) from Lend Lease, owner of the neighbouring Australia Square complex.

In 1986 the Land and Environment Court declared New World's application void, primarily on procedural grounds. In the aftermath the consolidated site was purchased by Parramatta-based construction company McNamara Group. In partnership with two Japanese companies McNamara engaged John Andrews to design a retail and apartment tower which would retain and regenerate the heritage properties facing George Street.

The project prospectus claimed that the Andrews design conferred the multiple benefits of 'allowing the retention of the historic buildings while developing the site to the maximum allowed by the statutory authorities; providing maximum floor space at levels from which the best views and hence highest rental returns were available; and, with the tower support rationalised to a minimum, avoiding further overshadowing of Australia Square'.

The Andrews design was approved by City Council in 1988 and was widely praised. Lawrence Nield, president of the NSW AIA, stated that 'the developers' and their architects deserve the highest commendation for their sensitivity in retaining' George Patterson House (Sydney Morning Herald, 2 August 1988). However CBD property prices plunged in the aftermath of the 1987 Wall Street Crash, the project lapsed and the corner of Bond and George Street became one of Sydney's several undeveloped demolition sites.

George Patterson House remained vacant despite being heritage-listed in 1992. During 1996 the building was severely damaged by fire. It has since been restored for the Merivale Group as the Establishment bar, restaurant and nightclub complex.

Cite this Object

Harvard

Architectural model, No.2 Bond Street, Sydney (unbuilt), John Andrews 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 14 August 2020, <https://ma.as/423697>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/423697 |title=Architectural model, No.2 Bond Street, Sydney (unbuilt), John Andrews |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=14 August 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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