Former Commonwealth Bank 2017

The Paddington Branch of the Government Savings Bank of NSW was built in 1914 to designs by H E Ross & Rowe. It became a Commonwealth Bank branch following the merger of the two banks in 1931. In about 1935 the front of the building was rebuilt in conjunction with the widening of Oxford Street. The bank made significant alterations to the building in the 1970s, including changes to the significant façade. After the bank vacated the building in 2013, Orwell & Peter Phillips was commissioned to design the extension and adaptation of the building as a boutique hotel. Construction documentation and interior design was undertaken by others, with Orwell & Peter Phillips retained as heritage consultants.

The design retains the significant façade, the former ground floor banking chamber as the reception and breakfast bar, and the former accommodation for the manager on the first floor as hotel suites, achieving interpretation through use as well as by more conventional means such as signage. The rear of the building has been demolished and replaced by a three-storey addition containing additional bedrooms, above a new basement parking and storage level. The design of the addition, while not copying the original building, has incorporated some of the façade elements such as glass block panels and concrete hoods to achieve a perceptible design relationship between old and new.

Conservation works have included reconstructing missing elements of the façade, notably the front windows removed in the 1970s, and revealing and repairing the original pressed metal ceiling in the former banking chamber that is likely to date from the original 1914 building. New services have been sensitively incorporated.

An alternative fire safety solution was developed to achieve adequate fire separation within and around the building while conserving significant elements.

Photos provided by Chris Bennett Photography.

  • Peter Phillips
  • Suite 1504, 109 Pitt Street
    Sydney, NSW 2000
  • Tel 02 9221 8882
    Fax 02 9221 8887