Good As New

Perth’s talent for connecting old architecture with new design continues with the unveiling of the Sage Hotel. Clare Ryan writes.

Perth is gaining a reputation for injecting life back into its historical architecture, with a number of new projects in the hotel and hospitality sector leading the way in smart sustainable design.

The latest addition to this rejuvenating design scene is West Perth’s Sage Hotel, which officially opened its doors on August 4th by the SilverNeedle Hospitality Group, in partnership with Australian Development Capital (ADC).

The $35-million-dollar project not only leverages the Sage Hotel into Perth’s high-end hotel market but also introduces a unique design aesthetic to the inner-city suburb.

The site consists of two juxtaposed buildings that are seamlessly interconnected by the historical Walsh family residence that was built in 1902. Towering over this historical building, that is now home to Julio’s, where Beyoncé and Lady Gaga have dined, is a new hotel that holds 101 guest rooms and meeting facilities.

Banham Architects executed the interior architecture and closely worked alongside a team of architects and builders to resolve a number of planning and construction issues. Architect Steeg Banham says the primary consideration for the project was to integrate the historic house with the new hotel tower and to fit the required amenities for the hotel into a tight footprint.

“To create a sense of space and connect the hotel lobby with the bar, we opted to remove the back wall of the old house,” says Banham. “The old plaster, lathe ceilings and plaster render to the internal walls had to be removed due to poor condition and to allow installation of services, so it was decided to leave the walls and ceilings ‘naked’ with only a light white wash to seal the brickwork.”

Historical references and a sense of honesty are showcased throughout the space, with lathe marks left on the timber joists and old jarrah boards recycled as wall cladding in the lobby.

SilverNeedle’s commitment to environmental and sustainable practices is apparent throughout the project with the hotel lobby and reception area effectively integrated with Julio’s restaurant, which maintains original feature work and fireplaces.

“All the decorative timber work was carefully restored and a large window reinstates views of the stairway and lead light feature window from the restaurant,” says Banham. “Within the new building, prefab elements were adopted in an attempt to meet a tight construction timeframe. The external walls and structural walls/ columns are precast concrete panels and the bathrooms in the guest rooms were constructed as finished ‘pods’ off site in Melbourne.”

The guest bathrooms were custom designed in collaboration with The Hickory Group and then installed and connected on site. This process reduced material requirements and wastage while maintaining the latest building innovations – a nod towards smart architecture and development.

Banham Architects

Sage Hotel

Words by Clare Ryan.