Blog

Railways Road Services Building, Dunedin

Dunedin’s former bus station

This long, horizontal edifice is the former New Zealand Railways Road Services Building in the South Island city of Dunedin. It was the city’s main bus station and garage for many decades. Located at 35 Queens Gardens, it was designed by James Hodge White and Eric Miller and constructed in 1939. The building now serves the Dunedin Otago Settlers Museum.

Art Deco features include irregular pleating above the ‘Exit’ and ‘Entrance’ found near the façade ends. It also has smooth, hemispherical curves at the ends. The upper part of the centre of the building has vertical bands topped off by crenellations. The building was registered under New Zealand’s Historic Places Act in 1980. Thanks to Robert Piggott for providing the photographs.

The central block of the builiding
Note the sawtooth line along the top

Hotel Waterloo, Wellington

A dash of the Jazz Age in the NZ capital

The 1937 Hotel Waterloo was designed by the Wellington firm of Atkins and Mitchell and was constructed for New Zealand Breweries company who wanted a luxurious, modern look. The location at 28 Waterloo Quay was close to the Wellington train station and to the ferry terminal, a strategic placing for travellers who would appreciate its fine bars. After fifty odd years of service it shut its doors in the late 1980s for a few years, only to be reborn as a backpackers’ hostel. The bands of decorative motifs consisting of chevron forms and semi-circles are still distinctive. Thanks again to Taika Kyriak for providing these photos.

The full façade of The Hotel Waterloo
The chevron forms and semicircle motifs

Halford House, Leicester

The mixed façade of Halford House

Originally constructed as headquarters on Charles Street for the Leicester Temperance Building Society, 1955-59, it was later taken over by the Alliance & Leicester Building Society. Now known as Halford House, it is in part occupied by Pick Everard Keay and Gimson, the architects who first conceived it. The building is a fascinating fusion of new norms of modernism with existing Art Deco forms, notably the central clock tower flanked by two wings, and the use of a bay window. Certainly the most striking feature is the decorative clock found top centre of the main façade. This depicts the Four Winds Blowing, and was designed by local artist and educator Albert Pountney (1915-1982).

A unity of wind power, and time
The central, hexagonal clock tower

Condes Cinema, Lisbon

Façade of the Condes Cinema

While the Condes Cinema opened in 1951 buildings at this location of Praça dos Restauradores at Rua Condes already had a long history as theatres. First opening as the Teatro da Rua dos Condes in 1738, the theatre began its life as an opera house. It was constructed on land on land owned by the Conde da Ericeira (Count of Ericeira) by what is now known as the Rua Condes. This was a part of the city popular with the nobility, and several aristocrats had their palaces there. The theatre had to be rebuilt in 1755 after being badly damaged by the terrible Lisbon earthquake earlier that year.

A new theatre, the Teatro Novo da Rua dos Condes, was constructed in 1888 on the same location, and ten years later it  remodelled inside to increase seating capacity. Then the twentieth century and its technological marvels arrived and by 1915 theatre had been converted into a cinema. This survived for decades until 1951 when it was torn apart to make way for a purpose-built cinema, the building we see today. The architect Raul Tojal began with the shell of the previous theatre and the new cinema was able to project 70mm films. The new Condes Cinema almost survived until the twenty-first century, closing in 1997. It was converted into the Hard Rock Café, Lisbon, in 2003.

The angel of cinema
The corner location at Praça dos Restauradores

Calle Xativa 21, Valencia

A nine-storey mixed-use building

This 1930s apartment and commercial use building is located in the elegant Sant Francesc area of central Valencia on Calle Xativa, across from the Valencia North train station. It folds around a corner lot and has upper divisions, though these are not fully stepped in. There are some excellent Art Deco carved relief panels on the horizontal interstices of the windows. One of these depicts a modern sun god with a gear wheel representing the sun.

The upper part of the edifice
Carved stone relief panels
An exuberant, flowing image of a sun god

Anscombe Flats, Wellington

Curves galore on this pleasing apartment block

Located at 212 Oriental Parade, the Anscombe Flats were named for the prominent and prolific New Zealand architect Edmund Anscombe. He purchased the land in 1933, designed the building, and the apartments were completed in 1937. Anscombe planned to sell the apartments and live in the top floor penthouse. He lived there until he passed away in 1948 at age 78. A spectacular New Zealand example of Streamlined Moderne, it has curved corners and moulded window hoods at the front. A big thank you to Taika Kyriak for providing these photos.

Cream and light brown bands for colour
A right-hand side view

ANZAC Memorial, Sydney

A redoubtable structure

The ANZAC War Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park was built in the early 1930s originally to commemorate those who had served in World War 1. In 1984 this was extended so that the Memorial was to be for all Australians who served and serve their country. It is the main war memorial for the state of New South Wales. The monument’s design was by Charles Bruce Dellit, a Sydney born architect, and the sculpture programme for it was created by George Rayner Hoff, an English artist living in Sydney who had served in WW1. The original dedication ceremony for the Memorial was held on 24 November, 1934.

Bronze frieze by George Rayner Hoff
More of the bronze frieze
Gazing upwards at the monument

Brighton Kiosk

A projecting roof provides shelter

This former bus shelter and convenience store in Brighton is now used as a little kiosk coffee shop for the adjacent park. It has a distinctive Art Deco curve that runs from the broad roof down through the windows and the building itself. Somehow it appears to have retained its original metal window frames. It is located halfway between the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Beach.

View from the park side

Chancery House & Chancery Park, Dublin

Chancery House has a variety of exterior surfaces

Dublin has many fine Art Deco buildings, and this residence, accompanied by an adjacent public park, is a fine example. Chancery House is a four-storey 1935 apartment block which features curved corners, curved overhanging eaves, flat roofs and a channelled render along the top floor. Overall the building has a clear, horizontal emphasis. Beside it is Chancery Park which has a delightful kiosk with a geometric window grate and a stepped parapet for a square clock. Curving top hexagonal gates to the park, and apartments, are another feature.

The man responsible for all of this was Herbert George Simms, a London-born architect who moved to Dublin in 1924 after studying architecture at the University of Liverpool. By 1925 he was working for the Dublin Corporation where he eventually became responsible for designing and constructing 17,000 new residences, thereby alleviating Dublin’s chronic housing problem. In addition to British contemporary architects he was also inspired by the Dutch, in particular Michel  de Klerk in Amsterdam and J.P. Oud in Rotterdam.

Chancery Park & Chancery House are in the northwest of Dublin, Chancery Park at Charles Street West and Chancery House at 1-36 Chancery Place/Chancery Street, and Charles Street West. Global Art Deco is very grateful to Ian Byrne for providing these photos.

The hexagonal entrance to the park
Chancery Park and Chancery House
Chancery Park’s kiosk
Chancery Park’s octagonal fountain
Entrance to Chancery House with bronze plaques commemorating Herbert Simms

Rua Abade Faria 52, Lisbon

A modest stack of pleasing curves

We could certainly label this Lisbon apartment building as being Streamline Moderne with its racy, curving balconies. The street it is located on is named after a fascinating character known as Abade Faria, or Abbot Faria, born in 1756 in the Portuguese Indian colony of Goa as José Custódio de Faria. Aside from being a man of the cloth he was a revolutionary, and also one of the first to study hypnotism.

The building stands on a corner lot