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The White Hat Guide to the
37 Swanston Street
The Nicholas Building was designed by the architect
Harry Norris and
built for Alfred Nicholas - the
highly successful developer of
Aspro. The building was competed in 1926 and is influenced by the
'Chicago Style' of architecture. It adheres to the height limits imposed
at that period in the CBD and in these several blocks of Swanston Street
that constraining height can also be clearly seen in buildings such as
the Manchester Unity Building and Century Building.
The facade is of terra cotta with a deep green faience glaze which was
designed to be self cleaning. A delightful feature is the small
Cathedral Arcade with its glass roof. Note also in this arcade the (now
inactive) mailbox with its glass chute carrying letters down from the
floors above. The lifts remained, until recently, some of the last in Melbourne to be
operated by a 'lift lady'.
Initially the building
functioned as offices and a mixture of the type of small businesses
which do not require a streetfront presence such as milliners,
accountants, tailors etc. Over time the mix has changed and in recent
decades the building has become home to numbers of smaller artist
studios, jewellers and the like. One of the best known artists to have a
studio in the building was the late Vali
Myers. On the first floor you can find the Poets Bookshop.
Some forthcoming events at the Nicholas Building:
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