Civic Tower

PTW Architects commends City of Sydney’s recommendation of nine Modern Movement projects for local heritage listing under the City of Sydney LEP.

Of these culturally significant projects is the listing of Sydney Masonic Centre, including Civic Tower, located on the corner of Goulburn and Castlereagh Streets. The completion of this iconic and rare brutalist period landmark occurred over a time span of 30 years.

Joseland Gilling and Associates were the architects for the design concept of the podium and tower. However, only the dramatic first stage podium was completed in 1974. This podium accommodated and still does contain the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of NSW and the ACT of Ancient, Free and Accepted Freemasons.  With the Lodge requesting a “monumental building to portray Freemasonry in NSW”, concrete became the predominate material. The distinct architectonic form of the podium was finished in boarded marked and smooth finished concrete, with some internal walls being constructed in a single pour 5m high.

The second stage of the building – the tower – remained incomplete until 2004 when the developer Grocon bought the airspace over the podium and committed to the construction of the Joseland Gilling design concept for the 24-storey Civic Tower.

Peddle Thorp and Walker (PTW Architects) were commissioned to develop and document the tower to complete the original concept for the building. Working collaboratively with Grocon, engineers Connell Mott MacDonald (Connell Wagner) and fabricator Allfab Constructions, an ingenious, innovative and complex transfer structure was designed to realise the tower design while an ‘ultrafloor’ construction method enabled the tower to be built in 5 months. During the period of construction, the Lodge remained open on the podium levels. The neutral finishes of the Civic Tower compliment the remarkable concrete work of the podium completed 30 years earlier.

The Sydney Masonic Centre, conceived as a distinct monumental city building with a landmark quality to a concept by the well-established Sydney architectural practice of Joseland and Gilling, was completed sensitively by PTW Architects.