Cann’s Ladieswear, Swanston Street

Looking spooky in the rain yesterday – this black tower on the corner of Swanston and Little Collins was built for Cann’s Drapery, in two stages, the first 6 floors in 1919, designed by #NahumBarnet, using Monier #reinforcedconcrete (photo 3) which allowed for another 2 floors in 1935, designed by #MarcusBarlow (who did the same trick at Normans Store on Bourke the same year). The top floors were offices. Seems they stayed open during the works (photo 4). Thought it went black recently but no it’s been this colour (a greenish black ?) since the early 80s, around the time Cann’s finally closed. Converted to flats in 1998, I always thought they’d be nice, but seems like small and badly planned and rarely for sale, mainly for rent. You could fix one up much better though (the corner flat 2nd floor has been, doing a lot with a little, photo 9). From old real estate listings, seems there’s two penthouses, but similar finishes, some flats have most windows on the north side (a boundary wall, what if they build up next door??), and the corner flats in the lower section are nice with high ceilings, but still just one bed, with kitchen in the main room. Entry area redecorated 2013 in all marble by Shelley Roberts Architects.

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