With its grandiose, futuristic-looking spires, grandiosed columns and soaring columns, the new Colonial Revival architecture in Sydney is the latest in a long line of modernist structures that have been reimagined to evoke the colonial past.
Built in the 1950s by architect George A. Wodehouse, the building was the first in Australia to include a church, the Sydney Opera House, a museum, and a theatre.
Today, a large chunk of the structure is gone, but it has been resurrected in a more modern form as a new urban landmark.
Photo: Andrew Meares The original Colonial Revival building is now the home of the Colonial Revival Society.
Built on the site of the former Sydney Opera house, the Colonial House is a contemporary version of the grand Victorian colonial Revival architecture that was popularised in the 19th century.
It was designed by British architect Sir William Wood for the Sydney Morning Herald in 1891.
It is also known as the Wodehous house, and it is the only surviving Victorian colonial building in Australia.
“It was the pinnacle of modernity in Sydney,” said Andrew McEwan, the executive director of the Society for the Restoration of Colonial Buildings.
“The Wode House was the beginning of modern architecture.”
This photo shows the Wodhouse’s building in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills.
“You can see in the building that it was a grand and grandiastic building,” he said.
“We hope that it will be seen as something that we hope will go on to be an inspiration for generations to come.”
While the building has been completely rebuilt and turned into a landmark, there is still much to do.
“There are still some structural issues that need to be addressed,” Mr McEwen said.
The Wodehouses building, in Surry Hill.
Mr McEnroe said the building had been a popular tourist attraction.
Photo by James O’Keefe It has been designed by Sir William Woods, who was a friend of the late Edward Winsor, a leading architect of the period.
Mr Woods was an admirer of the Wodes house and wanted it to be preserved, so he commissioned the construction of a massive new structure in the shape of the historic building.
The structure was completed in 1890, and in 1897, a plaque on the entrance was installed with a handwritten inscription from the architect.
“I thought that the Wods house would be a wonderful addition to the city,” Mr Wood told the ABC.
“But I was also concerned that it would attract some attention.”
It was a “big surprise” to learn that it had not been designed properly, Mr McEswan said.
Mr Wood, who died in 1894, was a prominent Victorian architect.
He was also a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
He died in 1913.
Sir William Wodehard Wood.
Photo courtesy of Sir William J Wood and Sons.
The first Victorian buildings in Sydney, which were originally built on the Wotos property, were built on a hillside near the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and were surrounded by the Sydney Cricket Ground, the site now known as Botanic Gardens.
“They were originally called Wodhouses,” Mr MacEwan said, referring to the Victorian names for the buildings.
“That was their name for the land.
But in the 1930s, they became Wodeshouses.
And Wodehands were the people who built them.”
A view of the building from the Wokehouse in Surray Hills.
Photo via Sydney Heritage Trust.
While Mr McEntroe said it was an “embarrassment” to be known as a Wode house, he said the site was still a place of significance for Sydneysiders.
“As a heritage preservationist, I have always looked at heritage sites as being part of our city,” he told the BBC.
“So to see it be demolished, as it was, is a real shock.”
The Wodhouses new building was recently completed.
It contains two churches, a theatre, the library, a library building, a chapel, and gardens.
Mr MacEswan hopes that the building will be preserved in its original form.
“For me, the Wodedhouse is one of the most important buildings in the city and I hope that the site will be left as a reminder of its history and the importance of the site,” he added.
The site of a Victorian Colonial Revival house.
Photo from Sydney Heritage.
Mr Ewan said the Woses building had inspired him to design a new building in Surroy Hills.
He is currently designing the new building, which will include a new museum.
“This is going to be the most historic building in Sydney that we have ever seen,” he explained.
“To see the Wodermans building, to be able to recreate it is a beautiful thing to behold.”
The building has already received a major facelift.
“All the windows are up,” Mr Ewin