Art deco Apartment, Sydney, AU


The dominant style of architecture in Sydney, Australia is that of a contemporary movement in art called Art Deco. The Art Deco style is characterized by simplicity, geometry, and functionality.


With the different drastic changes that occurred all over the world such

as the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression and the quick succession of two World Wars, the emphasis in architecture was

simplicity and abstraction of the modern movements combined with

the soft elegance of earlier styles.


The result was both masculine and forceful. The key phrase of the time was “mass production” and buildings had to be built fast largely because labor was more expensive with the emergence of human rights laws.


Sydney's most prevalent manifestations of the Art Deco style occurred mostly in residential buildings. Apartment buildings in particular exemplify the predominance of this style.

Sydney art deco apartment - art deco apartment sydney, au

The adjacent inner city precincts of Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay erected the most imposing and historically significant examples of the Art Deco style. These areas have the highest density of Art Deco architecture to be found anywhere in Australia.


Within 20 km of the city centre, lie hundreds of smaller apartment blocks and bungalows scattered throughout the ring of suburbs. Most of these structures are located in the vicinity of the city's railway corridors. This area is where most inter-war suburban residential development occurred.
The image shown here is that of Birtley Towers located on Number 8 Birtley Place, Elizabeth Bay. This architectural landmark has been described as "one of the great achievements of Art Deco residential architecture in Australia".

Built with superior finishes throughout, Birtley Towers is a fine example of Art Deco architecture which maintains the architectural and aesthetic qualities of a typical Sydney property. Built in 1934 and designed by Emil Sodersten (a Sydney architect of Swedish descent), Birtley Towers is amongst the first, and certainly the largest, apartment block built in Australia during the Depression. Comprising of 54 flats on nine floors it is a fine example of masterful masonry detail. Despite its impressive porte-cochere, it can accommodate only 14 cars, clearly an indication that the architect had not envisioned a city full of cars.

There are other fine examples Art Deco apartments all over Sydney. Among these places of interest are:

  • Belgenny - 389 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
  • Marlborough Hall - 4 Ward Avenue, Elizabeth Bay
  • The Rutland - 381 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst
  • Wychbury - 5 Manning Street, Potts Point
  • Tahoe - 67 Roslyn Street, Elizabeth Bay
  • Claridge - 28-30 Flinders Street, Darlinghurst
  • Mont Clair - 347 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst
  • Cahors – 117 Macleay Street, Potts Point