Project Status: In progress
What we’re doing
We’re giving this state heritage listed building a new lease of life and preserving the history of our city for future generations.
- restoring the building’s exterior to its original appearance
- adding a new roof using the original timber structure
- cleaning and repairing the building’s façade
- repairing and re-roofing the awning
- replacing the corner shop entry to match the original design.
History of the Corporation Building
The ornate Corporation Building was designed in 1892 by City Architect George McRae for Sydney Municipal Council as a supplementary service building to the new Belmore Markets.
Constructed in 1893–94, the building provided offices, refreshment rooms and toilets for the Market Clerk and produce agents.
McRae used local materials such as terracotta panels and red double pressed bricks for the 2 storey Anglo-Dutch style building. The council’s Town Clerk proudly reported the exposed red brick and decorative terracotta tiling were:
‘a distinct departure from the ordinary character of such building[s], the ornamentation of terracotta work having a very pleasing effect, relieving the eye from the terrible whiteness and sameness of our ordinary cement plastered architecture.’
When they opened, the new Belmore Markets and the Corporation Building were among the most important and highly decorated municipal buildings in Sydney.
In 1913, the Belmore Markets were dismantled and adaptively re-used. Part of the site became shop and office space known as the Manning Building; the western part of the site was converted to become an entertainment venue. It then commenced its long life as various venues – hippodrome, picture palace, theatre. Elements of the original market building can still be seen in the façade of the Capitol Theatre today.
As the area changed so did the use of the Corporation Building. It has housed a variety of retail tenants and businesses and undergone many alterations and repairs.
Current tenants include the not-for-profit 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art which has a focus on understanding and developing the dynamic relationship between Australia and the wider Asia region.
Restoration works in the 1990s only partly covered the exterior of the building.