Do you know your Victorian from your Arts and Crafts and your Art Deco from your Modernist?

Potts Point has so many different architectural styles and eras on offer, that there really is an apartment or a house to suit every architectural taste.

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll see as you walk the streets, and the key characteristics of each.

Old Colonial

The Old Colonial or Georgian mansions and villas that you’ll see in Potts Point are some of Sydney’s oldest remaining buildings. They were built from the 1830’s until Victorian styles and sympathies took over in the 1840’s and 1850’s.

Key Old Colonial features:

  • Use of local materials like Sydney Sandstone
  • Old sash windows and balanced symmetry in their proportions
  • Freestanding on what were originally large land grants

Key examples of Old Colonial architecture in Potts Point:

  • Rockwall House
  • Tusculum
  • Elizabeth Bay House


The Victorian era covers a vast time-frame, and also a lot of architecture. Stretching from 1840’s till the 1890’s there are many Potts Point buildings from this time.

Key Victorian features include:

  • Terrace houses, with some larger freestanding homes
  • Iron lacework
  • Revival of the Gothic style
  • Ornate decoration, particularly in the latter Victorian period
  • Italianate style

Key examples of Victorian architecture in Potts Point

  • Victorian terraces from 1–13 Kellett Street
  • Pamela Terrace Row, Rockwell Crescent
  • Kenilworth


The Federation period covers anything built around the turn of the 20th century. In that sense, Federation is a coverall term, and enthusiasts will know there are many subtypes of Federation homes, from Queen Anne to Arts and Crafts, Filigree and more.

Key Federation features:

  • Red bricks and terracotta tiles
  • Beautifully ornate tiled floors
  • Outdoor verandas
  • Decorative coloured lead-light windows
  • Ornate timber work on exteriors and interiors (called fretwork)

Federation gems in Potts Point include:

  • Heatherdene – built in 1903.
  • Fire Station, Darlinghurst, New South Wales (in the Federation Free Style)

Art Deco

Think about Potts Point, and you’ll no doubt imagine the wonderful 1930’s apartments along Macleay Street. That’s no surprise when you consider Potts Point is reputed to have the highest concentration of Art Deco units in all of Australia.

Key Art Deco features:

  • Art deco motifs and designs on plaster ceiling and cornices
  • Use of steel and metal
  • Usually brick exteriors, often with geometric patterns in the brickwork, or curves
  • Porthole windows and lead-lighting.

Potts Point Art Deco icons:

  • The Macleay Regis, 10-12 Macleay Street
  • Twenty Macleay Street
  • Metro Theatre
  • Cahors, 117 Macleay Street
  • Wychbury, 5 Manning Street
  • Trent Bridge, 17 St Neot Avenue
  • Werrington, 85 Macleay Street
  • Carisbrooke, 11 Springfield Avenue


When World War Two was over, Potts Point’s architecture came into the modernist period. Modernism rejected the ornateness of art deco and earlier periods and focused on function ahead of form.

Key Modernist features

  • Clean lines
  • Use of simple building materials, including concrete
  • Flat roofs
  • Use of glass and focus on natural light.

Key Modernist buildings in Potts Point include:

  • 40 Macleay Street, formerly the Sheraton Marquee Hotel where the Beatles stayed on their 1964 Australia tour
  • 57 Macleay Street, the old Yellow House Artists Collective
  • Gemini Building, 40 Victoria Street (designed by Harry Seidler)


Potts Point is also home to new developments – from highrise new builds to converted hotels. Taking their inspiration from many architectural eras, these buildings offer diverse styles but tend to be built for the way we live today.

Key Contemporary features:

  • There’s an emphasis on luxury and amenities like parking and lifts.
  • A focus on outdoor living and capturing views, as well as on quality, and architecturally-designed spaces.

Key Contemporary buildings in Potts Point:

  • Pomeroy, 14 Macleay Street
  • Villard, 18 Macleay Street
  • Dorchester, 38 Macleay Street
  • The Rex, 50-58 Macleay Street
  • Ikon, 81 Macleay Street

Article by Jason Boon

In a real estate market that is the focus of Australian, and indeed worldwide attention, Jason Boon's results in the Sydney scene make him a highly significant figure within the industry. A long-term specialist in the Potts Point and inner eastern suburbs area, he is uniquely placed to leverage his skills and local knowledge as the area undergoes significant change and diversification. Jason ha…