The brief was to explore and determine the best use for a small, narrow, level, vacant site zoned for commercial use. The existing streetscape consists of 2 storey retail buildings adjoining a residential zone of traditional houses to the west. A retail mall with car parking 5 storeys high is across the road from the site to the east located on the fringe of the Dunedin City CBD.
The client sought medium density residential apartments with car parking that could be sold for an early return on investment. The client however was also open to other development options that could provide a greater return on investment such as a mixed use development or a hotel.
Creative Solution & Design Features
A hotel was considered the most appropriate development to interface best with all existing buildings and the public realm to contribute to streetscape vibrancy and the mix of commercial and residential uses adjacent to the site. The economic model of a Hotel is the creative solution that can deliver a continued and higher return on investment with increased capital gain over a longer term with the brief amended to be a boutique hotel that meets a demand in the market.
Dunedin’s history of the site is the inspiration for the design of this hotel. Contextual research revealed the site was once a stones throw of the original shoreline of the Otago Harbour when Maori canoes first discovered Dunedin. Therefore it was important to reference this historical site, achieved by engaging local artist Simon Kaan to provide an image to portray a cultural heritage context of this location and reflect a sense of place. The images are contemporary interpretive art work to convey a Dunedin theme of sea, land and sky used to inform the architecture and the interior design.
The resulting artwork is colour printed on a grid of curtain glass panels for the 3 uppermost levels of the building street facade, court facade and car park facade all suspended above steel frames behind clear glazed facades at street level. The semi-transparent printed glass panels are designed to semi-screen views from within hotel suites to the surroundings plus provide privacy for hotel guests. The view from outside of the hotel is of activated façades of intrigue with blurred movement of colours, lighting and silhouettes from hotel suite use and social activity use of the hotel cafe and reception.