COFFEE @ Pablo & Rusty’s – Sydney 2000.
It wasn’t long ago when a ‘Tea Lady’ served office workers sitting at their desks with a ‘cuppa’, a biscuit, a friendly face and a bit of chat. With Pablo & Rusty’s now serving great coffee and gourmet style food to city workers, the Tea Lady and her instant coffee and dry biscuit will certainly remain a thing of the past. Leaving the office for the daily coffee break has become a ritual that can really impact on workers’ wellbeing. Many creative ideas and solutions to problems are developed during downtime, and there is no doubt that great architecture can feed the soul and inspire the mind.
Pablo & Rusty’s Castlereagh Street cafe is located in a wonderful architectural space with high ceilings, loads of natural light and an arresting combination of contemporary but ‘warm’ finishes that sit effortlessly alongside the adjoining heritage listed buildings. The space is beautifully put together with the large area being successfully zoned so that it feels really comfortable. The cafe has a range of share tables, private tables, bar seating overlooking the street, and outdoor seating in the vibrant sunlit Liberty Place.
The food display looks fresh and wholesome and my vegetarian sandwich was really tasty. The staff was exceptionally accommodating and friendly, offering to remake my coffee in a cup when I mistakenly ordered it to take away.
A visit to Pablo & Rusty’s and a walk through Liberty Place to see how brilliantly the old and the new can be merged together is essential.
NOW & THEN – Sydney’s Tallest Building for almost 50 years.
When you look at the images, above and below, it’s hard to believe that Culwulla Chambers, located at 67 Castlereagh Street, once towered over Sydney’s skyline and even harder to imagine what local residents back then would say if they could see Sydney today!
At the time of its construction, Culwulla Chambers was the tallest building in Australia and it provoked serious debate about the future of Sydney. Residents were concerned that tall buildings would overshadow the streets of Sydney, whose skyline would soon resemble that of New York City.
The height of the building also raised concerns with regard to fire safety, as at that time, ladders could not reach the upper floors. The ensuing amendment to the building regulations of the day would prohibit the construction of any further buildings that were greater than 45 metres in height. Subsequently, Culwulla Chambers remained Sydney’s tallest building until the height restrictions were lifted in the late 1950s and the 26-storey AMP Building, designed by Peddle, Thorp and Walker, was constructed in the early 1960s.
Culwulla Chambers was designed by prominent architects Spain, Cosh and Minnett at a record cost of 100,000 pounds and reached fifty meters in height. The purpose built reinforced concrete commercial building with face brick facades and retail outlets at street level is a largely intact locally listed heritage item. The building is L-shaped and consequently has a street frontage on Castlereagh Street and King Street. It is a good example of a Federation free style office building.
I’m not sure whether or not the original office workers of Culwulla Chambers enjoyed the benefits of a Tea Lady or not, but it’s only a short walk to Pablo & Rusty’s so hopefully today’s office workers will enjoy a delicious fresh coffee there!
A photographic record of my visit to Sydney’s CBD
Images above: The iconic former Darrell Lea chocolate shop located on the corner of King Street and George Street was originally constructed in the 1860s for Ashdown Ironmongers. Following a multi-million-dollar makeover, the building is now home to the Telstra Discovery Store.
The two floors have been combined to create a double volume space with a glass ‘pop-top’ roof that floods the space with light. The result is a contemporary and exciting transformation of a heritage building that acknowledges the commercial realities of CBD real estate whilst enabling current and future generations to appreciate the aesthetic of the original building.
The development of Liberty Place at 161 Castlereagh Street incorporates five separate sites with a rich history originating as the home of the Sydney Horse Bazaar from the 1860s. Legion House, constructed in the early 1900s, is a locally listed heritage item fronting Castlereagh Street and was the first headquarters of the YWCA in Sydney. It was this history that inspired the precinct’s name Liberty Place.
The building required extensive engineering work to allow the structure to take the weight of additional floors and lead paint and asbestos had to be removed from the building along with other extensive restoration works.
Contemporary building elements have been cleverly added to the heritage listed building which, along with the other new buildings and public courtyard has resulted in an inspiring space that has become a place where workers gather to network, conduct business and, of course, socialise and drink coffee.
Australian Institute of Architects, City of Sydney Council website, Dictionary of Sydney, Office of Environemnt & Heritage – State Heritage Inventory.
Historical images courtesy of the State Library of NSW.