Kelvin House is the first tall building in Adelaide to include the Art Deco style. It was built between 1925-1926 as an office for the Adelaide Electric Supply Company Limited. The company moved here from its former headquarters on the corner of Grenfell Street and East Terrace.
The architect, Eric Habershon McMichael, toured the United States and Canada in 1925 to study the latest North American tall building designs. He is well known for his contemporary tall building projects in Adelaide. They include the nearby Verco building on North Terrace and the Savings Bank of South Australia's Head Office on King William Street.
Kelvin House has a reinforced concrete frame and brick filling walls. The façade is finished in white cement tinted a buff colour. You can see the Art Deco detailing at the top of the building.
At the time of its construction, the building was fitted with the latest technology, including two modern Waygood-Otis passenger lifts. The total cost of the project was approximately £50,000.
The name of Kelvin House pays tribute to William Thomson, Baron Kelvin of Largs. Thomson was a Scottish engineer, mathematician and physicist who made important contributions to early experimentation of electricity.