Text from Melbourne Architecture
125-133 Swanston Street
1938-40 Marcus R Barlow
The Century Building is Marcus Barlow’s vertical Streamlined Moderne updating of his Modern Gothic Manchester Building on the next corner completed 6 years earlier.
With its abstracted corner tower, uninterrupted vertical fins and boldly horizontal and stepping streamlined canopy (the soffit is particularly notable), the limit-height Century Building is smartly Moderne. Common to both buildings, however, was the external cladding material: faience-glazed terracotta tiles, which Barlow used frequently as they provided a permanent and impervious finish. Wunderlich Limited, producers of faience, used the Century Buiilding in their advertisements, saying of it: ‘it gives a permanent freshness and sparkle to this fine building. Window spandrels are in hand moulded terracotta glazed neutral grey to achieve an arresting architectural contrast’.
Below, we see an old posctard showing the Century Building’s tower with the flagpole that is now missing.
Three of my own photographs after that.