Property Australia

History stands tall at Shell House


Brookfield Properties begins to unveil its revamp of the historic Shell House building as part of its $2 billion Brookfield Place Sydney development.


  Why we love this project:

  • At 65.5 metres high, the Shell House façade is one of the tallest retained heritage facades in the world
  • Shell House will soon open its doors as the new headquarters for one of the largest banks in Australia, NAB
  • The project will deliver a new transit hall and urban room as a grand new entry point to Wynyard station.


Located on the corner of Carrington and Margaret Streets, Shell House is now fully integrated into the Brookfield Place Sydney project. With basement works complete and all 10 levels of concrete flooring poured, fitout works are now underway to accommodate NAB’s new Sydney headquarters in 2021.

The new 27-storey Premium Grade commercial tower will feature an interconnected atrium that will celebrate the nexus of the old and new, with contemporary office design by architects MAKE and Architectus and new NAB fitout by Woods Bagot.


Mike Russell, Brookfield’s project director, says, “when Shell House was built back in the 1930s, establishing a worldwide corporate office was seen as a symbol of commercial confidence in Sydney”.

“Almost 100 years later we are unveiling the restored Shell House at a time when economic sentiment is also improving and the revitalisation of the Wynyard precinct can again be viewed as a symbol of confidence in our city.”

Shell House is the only surviving interwar commercial palazzo style building in Sydney clad with glazed terracotta ‘faience’ – the conventional name for fine tin-glazed pottery – blocks. At 65.5 metres high, Shell House also boasts one of the tallest retained heritage façades in the world.

“This was an incredible feat of engineering and construction which has already garnered our partners, TTW, an Australian Engineering Excellence Award,” says Russell.

For two years, the building’s iconic 400-tonne clock tower was wrapped in scaffold and temporarily supported by more than 1,400 tonnes of structural steel while Multiplex demolished the existing floors and excavated the sandstone beneath. A new basement was constructed while the clock tower was simultaneously restored and left suspended above the live construction site.

Originally manufactured by Gillet and Johnstone, the clock was imported from England during the construction of Shell House in 1936 and quickly became a landmark in the Sydney CBD.

“Brookfield Place Sydney is arguably one of the most significant revitalisation projects in the Sydney CBD for some time and once complete will deliver a new activated precinct to the city core,” concludes Russell.

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