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QVB Refurbishment

Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building gets a makeover.

QVB Refurbishment


August 21st, 2009

While the Opera House and Harbour bridge vie for Sydney’s most iconic structure, the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) is at the heart of the city’s retail history.

Completed in 1898 the building was devised by Architect George McRae as a means of keeping skilled craftsmen in work during the depression of that era, the QVB has since seen a number of upgrades and refurbishments, the last in the 1980s.

The iconic shopping destination has now completed a $48 million refurbishment led by award-winning architects Anchor, Mortlock and Woolley – with Ken Woolley instrumental in bringing the building back to life.

As the building is heritage listed, the refurbishment needed to sensitively restore the building’s architectural personality. The new escalators are designed to be clearly distinguishable as a contemporary insertions, to not interfere with the traditional detailing and to be entirely reversible. ’¨’¨Columns in the building have been highlighted with the installation of new frameless glass shopfronts.

“The City of Sydney, as the owner of this historic and much-loved building, is passionate about preserving it,” says Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore MP.’¨

“These renovations strengthen the building’s heritage and character, while reinvigorating it as a world-class shopping destination.”

Perhaps the most obvious structural element of the refurbishment is a new ‘vertical transportation scheme’. Elevators and escalators have been upgraded and installed as well as renovation of the retail areas and the implementation of a ‘Victorian inspired’ colour palette.

One of the more difficult aspects of renovating a Victorian building, the work also includes an upgrade of the QVB’s water conservation and energy reduction scheme, using recycled water where appropriate and replacing electricity-based cooling with gas absorption chillers. ’¨

The project is a joint initiative of the City of Sydney, Heritage Council and IPOH.


Photography: Anthea Horton




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