Atlas Insurance, Collins Street

Repost 2015:

#Atlas. Featuring #Australia prominently on his shoulders. Relocated from the top of the 19th century building here at 404 #collinsstreet when it was replaced in the late 50s by a new #atlasinsurance building. Sadly a bit high up to appreciate, and backed by an aircon intake. Moved here (a second time) from a more prominent lower plinth in the 80s. I’d assumed it was made for the original atlas insurance, but seems that the building here was originally built in 1879 as Mutual Assurance, then a floor added and the sculpture placed in top and renamed Atlas Chambers in c1904, so it’s an edwardian #bronzestatue, and then in 1919 Atlas Insurance bought the building having been elsewhere (perhaps they’d been eyeing it off?). The 1959 replacement by #GarnetAlsop notable as the first fully airconditioned office block, but otherwise not terribly interesting imho; with another 4 floors added early 60s, and the ‘marble’ spandrels panels are actually some kind of artificial stuff that has stained terribly.

As @billhartmanpt and @birddelacoeurarchitects pointed out, the Atlas now at the base of the ex-#AtlasInsurance building in Collins Street is different to the 1904 one that was on top of the previous building – a bit blurry but you can see the draperies are different, perhaps no beard, and no continents either, and it’s much much smaller – so the one that’s there must be 1959. They just have decided they wanted the image, but the old one too big, and possibly didn’t look great close up. Well spotted ! I was fooled.

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