Project's Summary

Bates Smart Creates Unique "Canberran" Hotel at the Airport Gateway

Bates Smart, an Australian architectural studio, has designed a landmark hotel that responds to Walter Burley Griffin's original vision for Canberra while being a gateway to the Canberra Airport. The objective was to create a unique "Canberran" hotel that would stand out and be a visual treat for visitors. To achieve this, the design team used Griffin's geometry of circles and axes to create a gateway to the new airport terminal.

Dramatic Circular Form Welcomes Guests

The hotel's design features a bold omnidirectional circular form that marks the terminal entry regardless of approach. The form has a straight edge that aligns with Terminal Circuit, reinforcing the terminal's entry axis. A second tangent radiates from the airport terminal enabling diagonal views to 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 provides an omnidirectional form that is cohesive and holistic, without a front or back.

Circular Interior Space Connects the Rooms

The hotel's focus is a dramatic circular interior space that connects the rooms together. The 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. The base of the atrium contains the social functions of the hotel and can be used as a public room for functions. Interior elements and the screen are designed referencing the circular geometry of the building. Enclosed functions on the ground floor are contained within gold-clad pods.

Curvilinear Form Creates Unique Identity

The curvilinear form has its unique identity within the terminal complex. Alternating wide and narrow façade modules create residential scaled 'framed' windows to the rooms while enabling a smooth curve to be made from straight sections externally. The glass façade incorporates a screen of circular rings, which creates 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.

In conclusion, Bates Smart has successfully created a unique "Canberran" hotel that responds to Griffin's original vision and the airport's gateway. The bold omnidirectional circular form, the circular interior space, and the curvilinear form create a cohesive and holistic design that stands out and provides a dramatic visual experience to visitors. The hotel's design is a testament to Bates Smart's creative and innovative architectural skills.

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