A decandent transformation of one of Sydney's historic buildings

By Benjamen Judd

When Primus Hotel Sydney opened at the end of December in 2015, it also reopened doors into one of the city’s most historically rich and decadent heritage buildings. 

The original Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board building was designed by local architect firm, H.E. Budden and Mackey. 

Budden, a Sulman Award-winning architect and one of the leading Art Deco architects in Australia at the time, is also behind some of Sydney’s most iconic and locally loved buildings such as Griffith Teas on Wentworth Street and the David Jones store on Elizabeth Street.

In designing the original building, Budden refused to overlook even the smallest luxury and, in 1939, it earned the infamous distinction of being one of the most expensive developments in Sydney at the time. 



However, this distinguished detail was to become a sore point amongst locals when World War 2 broke out not months later who saw the cost as an extravagant indulgence.

When Woods Bagot was hired to reinvigorate the beauty of the Pitt Street Hotel, maintaining the integrity of the period and Budden’s aesthetic were a priority during the restoration.

This wasn’t only because of the site’s status as a heritage listed building – although that alone would suffice to want to stay as true to the original as possible – but because it was an opportunity to provide Sydney with an entirely new experience in luxury accommodation.

At once timeless, yet entirely new. Modern, yet classic. Luxurious, yet understated and refined.

That’s the Primus Hotel, Pitt Street, Sydney.


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