MLC Building North Sydney added to NSW State Heritage Register following successful DOCOMOMO campaign

The MLC Building (by Bates Smart McCutcheon, 1954-57), previously proposed for demolition, has been protected on the NSW State Heritage Register following successful and overwhelming campaigning instigated by  DOCOMOMO Australia.

MLC Building Max Dupain
MLC Building, North Sydney (Image: Max Dupain)

The MLC Building (by Bates Smart McCutcheon, 1954-57) is proposed for demolition.  The MLC Building, 105-153 Miller Street, North Sydney, is the most significant large office building dating from the 1950s in Australia. It is an important component in the development of North Sydney and makes a significant contribution to the streetscape.

DOCOMOMO (Vice-Chaired by ACAHUCH Co-Director Hannah Lewi), in their petition noted the buildings value and the lack of certainty regarding the buildings current heritage listing.

It is listed on the North Sydney LEP as an item of Local Significance, it is listed on the Australian Institute of Architects Register of Nationally Significant 20th Century Architecture, and it is listed on both the Docomomo Australia and Docomomo International Registers.

Proposed MLC Building Bates Smart
The proposal for the MLC Site by Bates Smart (Image Source: Bates Smart)

Bates Smart, the modern day iteration of the original firm who designed the building, are the architects for the new proposal (shown above). According to ArchitectureAU, Bates Smart indicated in their planning submissions that “it had worked with the building’s owners for more than a decade to find a way to refurbish it, but the plan was eventually deemed unviable because of an “unsympathetic relationship to the heritage of MLC [and] overshadowing of [the adjacent] Brett Whiteley Place.”

MLC Building Sydney
MLC Site by Bates Smart (Image Source: DOCOMOMO Australia)

Accepting the recommendation of DOCOMOMO Australia, echoed by the Heritage Council of NSW,  NSW arts minister Don Harwin announced the recommendation on June 2 and placed the building on the Register, agreeing the State significance of the building and also that the listing will not detrimentally impact the owner financially in future.

Read the Section 34 Heritage Act 1977 Review Report from 21 April here.