Hastings Deering building

Built in 1938 by architects Samuel Lipson (1901-1996) and Peter Kaad, the Hastings Deering building (now City Ford) represented the latest trends in European ‘International Style’ of architecture. The building was a new corporate headquarters for Hastings Deering Ltd., a name synonymous with the motor industry and Ford vehicle sales and service for over 60 years. The building featured spacious car showrooms, fully-equipped workshops and office space. Occupying an island site between Crown and Riley streets, Sydney, it cost approximately 125,000 pounds to build.

“With no attempt at grandiose, this building may be regarded as an excellent example of modern commercial architecture. Straight forward, efficient – functional, if you like – it is admirably suited for the purpose … it undoubtedly adds an important new architectural contribution to the city of Sydney.” Building, 26 April 1938

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Max Dupain’s photographs of the newly completed building emphasise its form and structure. Streamlined and modern, the building pioneered a number of design and structural innovations in Sydney at the time. The elevations were simple horizontal bands of walls and steel framed glazing, and the rounded columns were set back from the external walls, so as to emphasise the sleek curved lines.

A revolutionary system of banked spiral car ramps for cars to enter the building and move efficiently between floors, made the best use of limited space on the site. Large flat floor slabs on each level and coffered ceilings were supported by mushroom-headed column construction.

Service station building for Hastings Deering building Ltd. Perspective view - Crown St. elevations, by Samuel Lipson & Kaad, architects, Sydney, ca. 1937. Architectural drawing. PXD 791/2

 

The building still exists and is now City Ford, a showroom for Ford cars. The original workshops have since been demolished to make way for the Crown Gardens residential development. The building is classified by the National Trust and the NSW Heritage Council.

 

> Find more photographs of the Hastings Deering building, including during construction, 1936-1938 catalogue link

> Find more architectural plans of the Hastings Deering building, by architects Samuel Lipson & Peter Kaad, 1836-1938 catalogue link