DESIGN COMPETITION – NEWCASTLE
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789 Hunter Street, Newcastle
We were recently selected, along with two other architectural firms, to participate in a design competition for a PBSA project in Newcastle. Although we were not chosen, we are very proud of our submission and delighted to share it with you.
The design seeks to provide a built form outcome that is highly considered, respectful, and contextually fitting, while contributing positively to an evolving precinct. The site offers three frontages and the opportunity to provide a meaningful public domain environment.
The design is responsive to the significance of architectural narrative set by the Cambridge Hotel with its strong positioning on the corner, as well as integrating connecting to country within the fabric of the building. The tower form follows the geometry of the site to establish alignment to the street and expressing compatibility to its transitional location, proximity to the adjoining heritage building, and the Cambridge Hotel.
The proposal would include the restoration of the Cambridge Hotel facade as well as integrate important origin fabric and elements into the design. This includes reinstating the original openings and materiality of the ground level, while restoring the level 1 brick facade, which would include returning the brick to its original colour. The openings on the ground level would enhance activation as well as flexibility of use. The streetwall is also highly considered and influenced by the existing architectural narrative. The street wall is designed as an extension of the existing facade, maintaining a simplicity in form and detail to ensure it complements the existing architecture rather than competing. The same materiality and colour is proposed to further complement the relationship between new and old. The breaks in street wall separates and simplifies the junctions between existing and new and further provides a three dimensionality to the form with the returning walls of the existing hotel restored and expressed.
The tower form is refined with a strong sense of verticality and response to the architecture and form of the hotel. The base of the tower is set with a coarser grain and solidity as it grows out an up from the Cambridge Hotel. The granularity of the tower becomes more refined as it extends upwards, feather-like at the top influenced by Shane Smithers work – Earth to Sky. The corner is celebrated and formally integrated with the architecture of the Cambridge Hotel. The tower is lighter in colour to reinforce and highlight the hotel form and relationship to the street.
The architectural outcome has a strong reference to country and in particular the significance of the eaglehawk or wedge-tailed eagle to the Awakabal people. The proposal considers opportunities for further engagement with the elders and local artists to contribute to the outcome of the building and its connection to country. These provisions would be from ground up from the public domain at street level to strategic and highly visible locations on the tower form.
A divided spine is established through the building that provides natural ventilation, light and outlook from the common area corridors. A range of communal areas or places to gather are located across every level of the building to enhance the social dynamic and access to amenity.
The proposal would be seen to be a positive and contextually fit insertion into the West End precinct of Newcastle.