QVB Queen Victoria Building Sydney, is a late nineteenth-century building designed by the architect George McRae in the central business district of Sydney, Australia. The Romanesque Revival building was constructed between 1893 and 1898 and is 30 metres (98 ft) wide by 190 metres (620 ft) long. The building fills a city block bounded by George, Market, York and Druitt Streets. Designed as a marketplace, it was used for a variety of other purposes, underwent remodelling and suffered decay until its restoration and return to its original use in the late twentieth century.
The site has been under the control of the Council of the City of Sydney since 1842, when Sydney Town was incorporated. It was previously the location for municipal markets, the first of which, a “simple storehouse”, was put up by Gregory Blaxland.Under Governor Macquarie’s leadership, it was subsequently envisaged as a “grand civic square” by architect Francis Greenway. In the 1830s, “four substantial stone halls” were built to the design ofAmbrose Hallenand later the site was selected for the construction of “a marvellous centre of trade”.
The building, on the “scale of a cathedral” was designed by George McRae, a Scottish architect who had emigrated to Sydney in 1884. At the time, Sydney was undergoing a building boom and since in architecture “no one school or style predominated”, McRae produced four designs for the building in different styles (Gothic, Renaissance, Queen Anne and Romanesque) from which the Council could choose. The Council’s choice of Victorian Romanesque style conveys the influences of American architect Henry Hobson Richardson. The use of columns, arches, and a prodigal amount of detail such as was used by McRae in the chosen design are typical of Richardsonian Romanesque, an eclectic style identifiably established between 1877 and 1886.