Kyle House 27 Macquarie Place Sydney site of Kyle House is of state significance as the centre of two major commercial empires, Lord’s and McArthur’s, since the eighteenth century. Its site on the eastern bank of the Tank Stream is also significant. The present building has high historical significance as one of the two surviving office buildings designed by Dellit, an uncommonly gifted architect who died young. Kyle House is aesthetically significant as an important example of Inter-War Art Deco style emphasising verticality and detail of cladding materials. It represents an early attempt to discard historical stylism and search for architectural forms and decorative elements more relevant to the 20th century. (City of Sydney Heritage Study)
Together with the adjacent commercial buildings in Macquarie Place, Kyle House forms an important landmark feature, and contributes to the historic streetscape character. The rear courtyard and access way arrangement is relatively rare in Sydney today, and reflects the nature of the area’s association with the development of shipping and trading from the early 19th century. From the 1890s the property was leased to the McArthur Shipping Co, founded by Alexander McArthur (1814 – 1909), an Irish Methodist entrepreneur who had come to Sydney around 1840 and established a major retail and wholesale enterprise, with branches in Melbourne, Adelaide and Auckland finally a head office in London, which by 1880 represented ‘all the colonial houses in the English and European markets’ (Franklyn 412).
The McArthur Shipping and Agency Co Ltd bought the Sydney property in 1929 and in 1931 commissioned the innovative young architect C. Bruce Dellit to design a new building for the site. Lord’s building was entirely demolished and Kyle House opened towards the end of 1931, constructed by Stuart Bros.
The principal occupant was, of course, McArthur, but there were numerous tenants in the rest of the building, including Dellit himself. Shortly after a major internal renovation in 1983, McArthur sold Kyle House to the Mercantile and General Life Assurance Co of Australia Ltd.