The Alex hotel aspires to appeal to the independent traveler, offering hotel accommodation with a twist. Embracing the independent traveller ethos, the building is designed to surprise and delight from within and without, and to engage energetically with its context.
Our conceptual approach was to interpret the clients brief for an ‘independent traveler hotel’; small guest rooms, large communal living areas, environmentally conscious and ‘of the place’, the resulting 74 room, 7 storey building is shoe-horned into its tight urban site while maximizing amenity to all the habitable spaces; opening windows to all guest rooms, natural light and views in corridors, roof terrace garden, active engagement with the street at ground level. The building mediates between a low rise, heritage streetscape and the imposing scale of the Alexander library building behind.
Public and cultural benefits:
Sited on the edge of the cultural precinct in Northbridge within walking distance to the train station and city, the hotel is in a prime position to engage with the artistic, cultural and dining opportunities at its doorstep.
The hotel offers visitors the opportunity to get up close with the vibrant life of the city and also to be able to step off the footpath into the relaxed calm of the mezzanine or linger over coffee while catching up on emails at the communal table in the lobby. Bikes parked in the entrance laneway are offered for guests use, the curious visitor, eager to explore the locale and seek out the hidden gems, energises the precinct.
The design intention was to create a relaxed and comfortable environment that encourages guests to 'make themselves at home,' to inhabit the communal areas; the lobby, mezzanine and outdoor terraces.
To achieve this we looked at removing some of the traditional barriers between the staff and the guests - so that guests are on the same side of the 'counter' when checking in, or standing next to the person making the coffee in the lobby café.
Guest rooms are deliberately compact in contrast to the spacious living areas, all guest rooms have opening windows for fresh air, and small en-suites have large obscured glass partitions or floor to ceiling windows with built in blinds, allowing the guest to control natural light and privacy. A meeting room on the top floor opens onto up to the roof garden terrace with views of the city.
Internally, finishes are raw with exposed services and off-form concrete soffits. The timber of the window and stairs help to soften the space, the timber stair connecting the lobby with the mezzanine is a focal point and acts a dynamic organizing element in the volume, incorporating the bespoke reception desk that is moored at the base.
Part of the ethos of the independent traveller hotel is environmental awareness, guests are encouraged to be sensitive to issues such as water use, explore on foot and by bike, support local business, products, events and local seasonal produce. The building is designed to achieve a Green Star ‘5 star’ equivalent rating.