The grand shopping arcade in the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) is a Sydney icon built in 1890, becoming a major city attraction since its reopening as a retail centre in 1984. Conrad Gargett’s new interior refurbishment concept updates the facility, while respecting and re-establishing some of the original 1890 features and retaining the unique heritage qualities of the building.
The two new banks of escalators in the existing north and south gallery voids of the building have been carefully located to one side in order to preserve the vistas along the arcade to the central dome space, the symbolic heart of the QVB. The escalators are clad in backlit, translucent glass to help de-materialise their immense forms and reflect the shop fronts, creating the perception of openness.
The new, historically interpretive colour scheme and carpet design, with frameless glazed shop fronts and signage, revitalises the shopping experience and unique architectural interiors. Together with the major refurbishment work, the building’s safety systems, lighting, lift car re-fit outs, balustrade and disabled access provisions are upgraded to meet current building requirements.