The George Street North Branch of the English Scottish and Australian Chartered Bank was designed in Venetian Gothic style by William Wardell and completed in 1885. It is considered to be a ‘gem’ of non-ecclesiastical Gothic revival architecture in Australia.
The oversized 1930s rear section and other accretions were recorded and removed. An ice cube like glass ‘conservatory’ housing three floors of dining was added while the Wardell building was returned to a state which enabled its period features to be readily appreciated. The light filled elegance of the contemporary section is a foil for the pierced solidity of Wardell’s Gothic volumes.
At the rear, the glass addition addresses the pedestrian precinct of Nurses Walk. Surgeon’s Court is a former carriageway through the old bank and now provides pedestrian access to Nurses’s Walk. These pedestrian walkways form part of a series of pedestrian laneways and courtyards which contribute to the adaptive reuse of the fine grained urban character of The Rocks. The new glass addition opens out to courtyard seating under a large Plane tree in the former rear yard of the Bank which was carefully retained to provide a leafy ambience to the new dining areas.
The restaurant functions have been organised to maximise the ‘grand qualities’ of the original banking chamber and upper level with strong visual connections through to the new ‘conservatory’ revealing the rear leafy courtyard. The strong room takes on new life as the wine store and servery for the restaurant.
Location: The Rocks, Sydney, NSW
Design Architect: Luigi Rosselli
Project Architect: Milenko Mijuskovic & Kate Mountstephens (SCA)
Interiors: Luigi Rosselli
Structural Consultant: Birzulis Associates
Electrical Consultant: Shelmerdine & Partners
Mechanical Consultant: Shelmerdine & Partners
Hydraulic Consultant: Acor Consultants
Acoustic Consultant: Renzo Tonin & Associates
Quantity Surveyor: Widnell
Conservation Consultant: Robyn Riddett
Builder: A & DR Illes & Built (fit out)
Photography: Ross Honeysett