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Olderfleet Building

Peter Maltezos's picture

Text from Melbourne Architecture

Olderfleet Building

477Collins Street Collins Street

1889 William Pitt;

1985 Robert Peck Von Hartel Trethowan in association with Denton Corker Marshall (renovation and tower behind at 471-485 Collins street)


The stretch of Collins Street that begins with William Pitt’s Olderfleet Building and ends with his design for The Rialto at 497-503 Collins Street must be considered Melbourne’s most highly prized 19th-century mercantile streetscape. The Olderfleet Building, once stretching all the way to Flinders Lane, is comprised of a four-storey Venetion Gothic screen, an appropriately Ruskinian encrusted façade. Its spandrels are rich in colour, with tile inlays, and the emphasized central bay is crowned by a pinnacled Gothic Revival clocktower. Next door, at 479-481 Collins Street, Record Chambers (1887), designed by JAB Koch, is carried out in Mannerist Classical style with banded pilasters and engaged columns overlaid unto a pier and arch system. The next year, the New Zealand Insurance Company constructed offices at 483-485 Collins Street (1888). Designed by Oakden Addison and Kemp, it was another Gothic Revival Office building, rich in polychromatic brick and tile decoration. At 487-495 Collins Street, the exposed red brick and cement-dressed Winfield Building (1891) built as the first Melbourne Wool Exchange (1892-94) and designed by architects Charles D’Ebro and Richard Spreight reveals the next stylistic phase of the 1890s. Once housing an auction hall where wool sales were held, it incorporates eclectic architectural elements such as the picturesque Franco-Flemish Renaissance gable end and turreted corner tower, and the pier and arches of the brick Romanesque style.


Below, an Edwardian postcard, next an old very gothic looking photograph and after that, two of my own.

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