Hastings Dearing Building
Image: Max Dupain, photo source: State Library of NSW

Site Overview

site name:
Former Hastings Dearing Building
former name:
City Ford
Lipson & Kaad
date of commission:
date of completion:
46-48 Riley Street, Woollomooloo, NSW
Commercial (COM)
1938 Sulman Medal, Honourable Mention (RAIA NSW)
protection status:
Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 (I2191)
– DOCOMOMO Australia Register
– National Trust of Australia (NSW)


In 1936 Samuel Lipson designed a substantial new premises for Hasting Deering that encompassed an entire block in East Sydney. Harold Hastings Deering sought to expand his car dealership and servicing operations, purchasing land just off William Street, the recently widened route into the city from the east. Lipson’s commission was to design a modern headquarters and showroom, a servicing facility for Ford motor cars and offices for associated British suppliers.

Hasting Deering’s flagship, with its distinctive curved corners, was hailed as a triumph and an important architectural contribution to the city. The building incorporated a series of technically innovative features including the use of mushroom columns, waffle slab floors, pneumatic communication tubes, and the setting back of the columns from the façade to create the smooth curves that defined the exterior.  Internally there was a dramatic system of stacked car ramps which were clearly visible through the horizontal bands of glazing that wrapped around the building.

Although now adapted to contain a medical centre, offices and a supermarket, the ramp system, the distinctive directional signage and the curved bowstring ‘Stanley Patent Curved Truss’ roof survive.

Text adapted from an entry by Noni Boyd in Australia Modern: Architecture, Landscape and Design 1925-1975(2019, Thames and Hudson).