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Sir Samuel Way Building

Source: Go to the Register of the National Estate for more information.
Identifier: 17719
Location: 241-259 Victoria Sq, Adelaide
Adelaide City
State: SA
Country: Australia
Statement of
The Sir Samuel Way Building, formerly Moore's Department Store, built in 1916, is significant as one of Adelaide's former major department stores, illustrating commercial activity in Adelaide from the 1880s to the 1970s. It is also significant in its current role as one of Adelaide's primary law courts, located within a precinct of legal buildings. (Criterion A4) (Historic Themes: 3.19 Marketing and retailing; and 7.6 Administering Australia)

The building is important architecturally as an example of the Classical Idiom. Through its Classical features and decoration, its scale and dominant roof and dome, the building is of considerable aesthetic value. It is a prominent feature of the south-west corner of Victoria Square and complements the Supreme Court building and the nearby Magistrates Court. Of particular interest is the building's grand marble staircase dominating the interior. (Criteria D2 and E1)

The facade of the Sir Samuel Way Building is significant an early example of reinforced concrete construction. It is also important for its association with the architects Garlick and Jackman. (Criteria F1 and H.1)
Description: HISTORY:
Charles Moore arrived in South Australia in 1881, having immigrated from Northern Ireland. He worked for the merchants and drapers John Martin and Co and Matthew Goode and Co before opening his own general department store in Gouger Street, Adelaide in 1884. Moore's business thrived. By 1890 his business was the largest merchant and import business out of Rundle Street.

When selecting a site for a new building, Moore took a large gamble. He chose Victoria Square, some distance from the major shopping strip in Rundle and Hindley Streets. When Moore's decision was known, it was applauded by the retail traders in the adjacent area, hoping that it would help to shift or at least enlarge the retail area of the City. In Light's vision of the City, it was always the intention that Victoria Square would be the main commercial centre.

Moore's new building was opened in 1916 and was designed by prominent Adelaide architects Garlick and Jackman, who worked closely with engineer Herbert Jenkinson from the South Australian Reinforced Concrete Company. Moore's new department store is said to have been modelled upon a department store in Paris, (possibly the Bon Marche) with Moore supplying detailed plans acquired from Paris to his Adelaide architects. William Lucas, an English architect, was engaged to design the central staircase which is said to have been directly modelled on the Paris department store. Moore's gamble paid off, with the store enjoying many years of commercial success.

In the evening of Tuesday, 2 March 1948, Moore's was gutted by a fire. All that remained was remnants of the ground floor (i.e. the columns, ceilings and most of the external walls), and the imposing staircase. The re-building of the store was supervised by the architects Garlick, Jackman and Gooden. The upper levels were almost completely rebuilt. After its re-opening, the store enjoyed great commercial success for many years until a gradual decline in the 1970s. In 1979 the store was sold to the South Australian Superannuation Fund Investment Trust. The proximity of the building to the Supreme Court , their similarity of scale and architectural design, and the strong public feeling to retain the building, contributed to the decision to redevelop the building into law courts for the State Government. In 1983 the building was transformed from a department store into a comprehensive law courts building and was renamed the "Sir Samuel Way Building". It was officially opened by the Governor of South Australia, Sir Donald Dunstan and named after Sir Samuel Way, the longest serving Chief Justice of South Australia.

The facades of the 1916 Garlick and Jackman designed building remain as robust examples of the Classical idiom. The 'giant order' engaged Ionic pilasters set on pedestals, linked at the base by small segmentally arched windows. The composition is enhanced by a central bow fronted feature with Ionic columns as well as a large entablature which is broken over this central feature giving it further prominence. The roof is a dominant feature of the building and consists of a more recently added hipped terra cotta tiled roof and central dome. The elevations are terminated by recessed corner 'pavilions', the whole being vigorously detailed. The building consisted of a reinforced concrete shell with all surface treatments carried out in cast cement and run cement dressings. These facades and the staircase, are all that remain of the 1916 Charles Moore building after the fire and the later redevelopment as law courts. The original basement was extended and deepened and additional floor levels inserted. The new building now consists of eight levels, the lower levels stepped to match the existing openings of the external facade. The grand marble staircase was reconstructed in the atrium of the main building. The Sir Samuel Way Building now houses ten criminal courtrooms, sixteen civil courtrooms, a library, chambers, conference rooms and administration areas.

The Sir Samuel Way Building is a major psychological landmark and focal point in the City of Adelaide that also contributes to the amenity of Victoria Square. Its scale and style complements the Supreme Court building and nearby Magistrates' Court.

Report produced : 4/8/2015
AHPI URL : http://www.heritage.gov.au/ahpi/search.html