The Rialto Building at 497-503 Collins Street was designed in the Venetian Gothic palazzo style of commercial architecture by William Pitt for businessman Patrick McCaughan and constructed in 1890-91. The building was originally home to merchants and manufacturers' agents and was equipped with the very latest office technology, including speaking tubes, fire-prevention measures and external winches to hoist goods to upper floors. The newly formed Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works was an early tenant. An original bluestone cobbled delivery laneway survives in this heritage-listed complex, as does a rear five-storey external urinal enclosure. The battle to save the urinals in the 1980s reflected an emerging preservationist philosophy that valued social history as well as architectural style.