Text description provided by the architects. Our aim was to create a uniquely “Canberran” hotel that responds both to Griffin’s original vision and its unique position as the gateway to the Canberra Airport. After studying Griffin’s plan of Canberra we worked with his geometry of circles and axes to create a gateway to the new airport terminal. The interior is aesthetically integrated with the architectural expression of the hotel, creating a holistic approach to the building expression.
To create a landmark gateway we used a bold omnidirectional circular form that marks the terminal entry regardless of approach and is dramatic when viewed in motion from a passing vehicle. Tangential to the circle a straight edge aligns with Terminal Circuit, reinforcing the terminal’s entry axis. A second tangent radiates from the airport terminal enabling diagonal views into the terminal. A complimentary smaller circle completes the form at the apex of the shape, giving it a welcoming geometry on approach from the terminal. The geometry creates an omnidirectional form that is cohesive and holistic.
The curvilinear form has its own unique identity within the terminal complex. Alternating wide and narrow façade modules create residential scaled ‘framed’ windows to the rooms, while externally enabling a smooth curve to be made from straight sections. The glass façade incorporates a screen of circular rings creating privacy for the guests without loss of view. Externally it unites the facade into a singular expression, emphasising its landmark quality, while screening the effects drapes have on the expression of the hotel.
The focus of the hotel is a dramatic circular interior space that unites the rooms together. White circular balustrades contrast with darkened circulation spaces allowing guests to discretely access their rooms while creating a heightened drama to the interior. A constellation of random circular skylights casts dramatic beams of light to the interior, while ensuring the space has a sense of enclosure.
The ground floor contains the social functions of the hotel, and can be used as a public room for functions. Interior elements are designed referencing the circular geometry of the building. A bar and lounge areas animate the base of the atrium. A restaurant and fireplace are located on the perimeter for views. The lowered ceiling height and rod screens provide intimacy, while maintaining connection with the main space.
Enclosed functions, including reception, administration, kitchen, and meeting rooms, are contained in golden clad pods. Gold louvres on the exterior provide views while maintaining privacy. A large circular function room at the apex of the hotel announces the entry from the terminal.
The radial geometry of the rooms maximises connection with the view. Darkened walls in the room interior heighten the drama of the view. Full height glass windows are framed to maintain a human scale. Warm natural materials including leather, wood and travertine creates a timeless interior, heightened by the use of reds, and oranges in the fabrics.