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

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

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

Blunts Shoes, Leicester

Green trim and grey stone

The city of Leicester, in the English midlands, is home to Blunts Shoes located on the corner at 128-132 Granby Street. The building was originally constructed in 1933 for the business of Nathan Harris Furnishings and features many fine Art Deco details. It was designed by the architects Symington, Prince and Pike who clad it in Portland limestone and covered it with a stylish pantile roof. The extra part on the left is a carefully blended extension from the early 1960s.

The other side of the corner
A close-up of the metal window grate
Another delightful detail of the Blunts Shoes building

Imperial Arcade, Brighton

A grey and cream façade

The Imperial Arcade occupies the corner of Dyke and Western Roads in Brighton. The original building dates back to 1923-24 and was designed by Clayton and Black. It was remodelled in 1934 along the lines of streamlined Art Deco by Garrett and Son architects, and has a fine balance of horizontal and vertical elements. The windows of the vertical elements each have eight vertical segments in rows of four. These feature chevron forms dividing the glass.

Here a curving corner is used as a transition
A detail that shows the chevron forms

Charles House, Birmingham

A stepped-in tower

Emblazoned across the top of Charles House at 148 Great Charles Street in Birmingham are the letters ‘CML’ as it once housed the local offices of the Australian company Colonial Mutual Life Assurance. This company was founded in Melbourne, in 1873 by Sir Redmond Barry, who was also a judge there. His chief claim to fame as a judge was passing sentence on Ned Kelly.

Charles House stands at nine storeys in height and has some relief heads and other interesting details around the entrance. Constructed in 1939, the building was designed by the Sydney architectural firm of Hennessy & Hennessy & Co working with London’s Stanley Hall & Easton & Robertson.

Primark, Western Road, Brighton

A bold, commercial block in Brighton

This is a large retail and commercial building currently home to Brighton’s central Primark at 169-174 Western Road. Located not far from seaside Brighton, it had previously been a C&A store and started life as a British Home Store (or BHS) in 1931. It was one of several department stores that appeared on the main shopping streets of the city during the mid-war epoch. It features some wing-like motifs across the top of the façade.

The central winged motif

Alameda Beers, Valencia

Alameda Beers
A finely detailed exterior

Located at Paseo de la Alameda 15 at the corner of Calle de Don Armando Palacio Valdés, in central Valencia, this curved corner building is a mixture of commercial and residential. The Alameda Beers restaurant occupies the ground floor.

Department of Tourism, São Paulo

View of part of the façade

The building where the Department of Tourism of the State of São Paulo (Secretaria de Turismo do Estado de São Paulo) now resides was originally constructed for the 1938 Banco de São Paulo. Located at Praça Antonio Prado 9, it was designed by the architect Álvaro de Arruda Botelho. This building is composed of two interconnected wings, one twelve storeys high and the other sixteen. The façade is extensively decorated with Art Deco designs created from materials such as granite, marble, and bronze.

A metal window grill with plant forms
A variety of Art Deco motifs
Another view of the lower façade

Princes House, Brighton

Princes House on the corner in Brighton

Brighton-born architect Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel designed Princes House in 1935, though it was originally the home of the Brighton & Sussex Building Society. Located at 166–169 North Street, this brick faced, steel-framed building was constructed in 1936 and features such unique Goodhart-Rendel details as pleated fenestration and superb brickwork. It became a Grade II building in 1994.

A truly eclectic architect, Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel, was an architectural prodigy, who had an early design constructed when he was only 16 years old. An accomplished composer and pianist, he studied music at Cambridge, and, during this time, designed an important office that was built in Calcutta. Architecture won out over music, and he set up his own practice in 1909. One of his best known buildings is Hays Wharf/St Olaf House, on the Thames in London. This was constructed 1928-32, just a few years before Princes House. A property developer purchased the Brighton building in 2002 and had the upper storeys converted into 34 apartments.

Two types of windows
Detail of the pleated windows