16 O’Connell Street Sydney is one of Australia’s finest examples of the Art Deco office building; the stylistic treatment of the main entry and lifts is unique in Sydney. Its formal qualities, especially at the top, make it significant in the streetscape. It is one of the finest works of Bruce Dellit, a leading practitioner of the period, responsible for notable Sydney landmarks including Hyde Park War Memorial and Kyle House (1931), his only other major office building. The ground floor interiors contain sufficient form and fabric to interpret the excellence of their Art Deco style. The building represents the departure, in the 1930s, from traditional architectural styles and adopted a new form of expression and adaptation of modern building technologies. These technologies are evident in the integration of decoration with the function of the building and its original zoned air conditioning system. AFT House is part of an ongoing tradition of the CBD as a financial and commercial focus and illustrates very well the principal design influence of the time.
16 O’Connell Street Sydney was originally a banking chamber with offices above, exemplifies the Art Deco style. The facade comprises two zones. The first consists of a decorative archway clad in granite, rising four floors in height, which dominates the streetscape. Above rises an expanse of sandstone. The building features stylised and geometric semi-abstract decoration. On bronzed doors and carved panels beneath the arch, the architect has allegorised the spirit of the machine age and NSW, “The Land of Plenty”. The entrance foyer has travertine clad walls and a marble floor, and retains original metal and glass light fittings and decorative lift doors. The former Egyptian Art Deco banking chamber is monumental. Two storeys in height, the chamber retains a vaulted ceiling and rich detailing. Contemporary office space on the upper levels consists of plasterboard and timber veneer stud wall with glazed sections and a suspended acoustic ceiling. The building is visually linked by design and materials to Manufacturers House adjacent, and fits well into the streetscape.