The Watson Hotel and Apartments, Walkerville
Boutique design for boutique hotel
Asian Pacific Building Corporation has developed a unique range of boutique ‘art’ hotels in Australia. In Adelaide, the concept was expanded with Art City, a boutique hotel, apartment and serviced office complex of 300 rooms built as a redevelopment and adaptive reuse of the landmark two-tower 1964 Highways Administration Building at Walkerville. Tectvs was approached to be the Architect tasked with developing a master-plan of the overall precinct and design the hotel itself.
Tectvs has retained the building skeleton and aspects of the original design intent in the redesign of a significant example of 1960’s international ‘brutalist’ style architecture and construction. However, its harsh lines and materiality have been softened and smoothed to change the visual identity from commercial workplace to aspirational lifestyle and residential location. The two existing 9-storey towers have been topped with two additional floors that include a penthouse level. New forms have been designed to complement the existing ‘60s style. Sculptural concrete spiral stairs wind their way from the ground to a sculptured first-floor rooftop garden. The landscape design was also inspired by free-flowing ‘60s design, specifically that of Burle Max, a leading exponent of the times.
At a technical level, Tectvs adopted sustainable design and adaptive reuse principles to enhance the existing structure in terms of maximising northern orientation, optimising living spaces for human well-being, and utilising large balcony overhangs to maximise shading and minimise heat load.
Named after significant Indigenous Australian artist Tommy Watson, The Watson is an integrated design solution that enhances the original 1960’s-built fabric to create a place worth visiting for a unique experience of boutique luxury.