Located in Sydney’s busy King Street, Reid House has been undergoing a transformation which will be completed very soon. It’s a special project for Hector Abrahams Architects, as not only have we been the architects for the work, we were also occupants of this interesting building for six years.
Consisting of eleven floors, Reid House was constructed in 1907 with a hardwood frame, long predating the current crop of timber high rise. The building was extended in the same style by one bay in 1914. The shops were part of the original design but the warehouse was converted into offices in 1936 to a design by the building’s original architects, McCredie and Anderson.
The shopfronts have undergone many changes from their original facades, while the foyer had received an unsympathetic fitout undertaken in the 1980s. Windows in some of the upper levels had also been replaced with aluminium frames, breaking up the unified effect of the façade.
HAA have replaced the three larger shop fronts with reconstructions base on the original Edwardian design. The entrance to the offices and the adjoining barber shop were reinterpreted in an art deco style, reflecting the timing of the conversion to offices. Sandstone has been reinstated around doorways, removing the 1980s pink granite tiles.
The lower façade has also been improved by the restoration of the awning, creating a more delicate structure with dramatic end signage for the building in red steelwork.
Restoration of foyer
The foyer has undergone a major rebuild. HAA had the layers of previous finishes stripped away, recovering width and height for the narrow space. The floor has been laid with terrazzo and the lower walls lined with a marble dado. A major intervention is the introduction of more light via a window slipped in on the side of the building. New signage and modern LCD directory panels give clear directions to visitors.
New window frames for levels 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8 were reconstructed from existing evidence and plans, to once again give a unified appearance to the Reid House street façade.
The idea for the project was conceived by the Reid House Strata soon after Hector Abrahams Architects moved into Reid House six years ago. It is a very visible example of the positive outcomes achieved through the City of Sydney’s Heritage Floor Space scheme, which enabled funding for the works.
With the arrival of the light rail in George Street, this section of King Street will become even busier and central to the city’s business. As newer, neighbouring buildings are undergoing refurbishment, this restoration work on Reid House allows it to stand proudly in its historic section of the streetscape. HAA may no longer be occupants of Reid House but we will derive much satisfaction in its newly polished appearance when walking past.