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Chief Secretary's Building
by Government Architect's Office in association with Group GSA Pty Ltd



The magnificent Chief Secretary's Building (CSB), enthusiastically sponsored by Sir Henry Parkes, then Colonial Secretary, was designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet and completed in 1880. The 5th floor and dome were added by Barnett's successor as Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon in the 1890s. The building is a highly significant and exceptionally well executed sandstone public building which has served continuously as government offices to the present time. During the C20th changes were made to accommodate various agencies, to incorporate new services and to comply with changing building codes. Despite major stone conservation works to the facades in the early 1990's the building's interior remained neglected and provided only 2nd and 3rd grade office accommodation for a mixture of small agencies. The aims of the project were therefore to sustain continuity of use of a major historic public building with functions which befit its status and high integrity, to commit resources appropriate to the heritage significance of its fabric and to recognise, through good interpretation, its former occupants and

their contributions to the development of the colony and state of NSW. The motivation for the project was to both enhance the financial returns from the use of the building in line with good asset management principles and to integrate conservation works within the refurbishment in accordance with the principles of the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter for conservation of cultural heritage places. The recent and very successful refurbishment of the building has been a major project commitment by the State Government to achieve these aims. The project has incorporated essential upgrading of the base building services, safety and vertical access, the provision of accommodation for the NSW Industrial Relations Commission court facilities, retention of the Offices of the Governor and Executive Council as well as substantial restoration of public spaces and significant rooms. In the adaptive reuse process the layout design has been based on the principle of best fit and low impact while taking every advantage to interpret the original form, construction and changing functions of the building over the last 125 years.

Sydney, NSW
Government Architect's Office in association with Group GSA Pty Ltd
02 9372 8463
Project Team
Project architect: Bruce Pettman, Government Architect's Office (GAO) - Architects in association with Group GSA
Project architect: Michael Mandl, Group GSA Pty Ltd - Architects in association with GAO
Project manager: Jim Flaherty, Project Services Branch, Department of Commerce
Structural consultant: Tara Cheevers, Connell Mott MacDonald
Structural consultant: Mikhail Kogan, GAO
Electrical consultant: Ian Gordon, GAO
Mechanical consultant: San Mai, GAO
Mechanical consultant: Chris Courtenay, GAO
Hydraulic consultant: Christine Scantlebury, GAO
Acoustic consultant: John Andrews, PKA Acoustic Consulting
Quantity consultant: Vincent Shaw, GAO
Programming consultant: Malcolm Woods, Solid Support Pty Ltd
Coordinating Engineer: Anthony Patterson, GAO
Lift Engineer: Chris Finegan, Connell Mott MacDonald
Access Consultant: Michael Fox, Access Australia Pty Ltd
Fire Engineer: Don Alexander, Engineered Fire & Safety Solutions Pty Ltd
BCA Consultant: Sean Connelly, BCA Logic Pty Ltd
Interpretation Consultant: Margaret Betteridge, Musecape Pty Ltd
Interpretation Design: Jisuk Han, X Squared Design Pty Ltd
Artefact Management: Julian Bickersteth, International Conservation Services Pty Ltd
Photographer: Eric Sierins, Max Dupain and Associates Pty Ltd
Heritage consultant: Bruce Pettman, GAO (Heritage Design Services)
Other Team Members : Terry King, Chris Marks, Lucy Burke-Smith, Challis Smedley (GAO); Onofrio Marzulli, Amanda Stanaway, Garry Booth, Anthony Moorehouse (Group GSA); Peter Whiteoak, Perry Gardiner (PSG)

Photographs by Eric Sierins of Max Dupain and Associates Pty Ltd, text by Government Architect's Office in association with Group GSA Pty Ltd

Link directly to this award entry: is the website of The Royal Australian Institute of Architects