THE HISTORIC ARTHOUSE
Originally the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts (SMSA) and more recently, the School of Arts, the ArtHouse Hotel building was designed by John Verge in 1830 and is now a heritage listed property. Undergoing a number of renovations since opening, highlights include the years 1855-1857 with the eventual acquisition of the adjoining chapel by the SMSA, which then became the new lecture theatre; and the old theatre in the original building, which was converted to a reading room.
Another highlight soon after, in 1860, included the addition of a three-story sandstone façade to the original building, designed by architect John Bibb, remaining today as a good example of restrained classicism in the Palladian style, typical of a late Georgian sandstone elevation, now rare in Sydney. The original building was designed and built at a time when electricity was not available for lighting, power or climate modification. Natural lighting was a feature of the original design with conservation works including the reconstruction of large roof and ceiling skylights.