The National Hotel

The old Victorian shell was stripped of 100 years of renovations, down to its bones and internal workings. A rich and textural palette of recycled materials was then overlaid into the interior to divide and enrich the space. The space was then divided into 5 ‘provinces’. Each with it’s own vernacular, unified yet different: The café (the outward looking – the explorer) The booth seating (the developed and populated) The opium den (the reclusive) The dining room (combined cultural histories) The courtyard (the forbidden city) The 5 provinces are governed by one central body – the bar. Monumental, the bar stretches the length of the building from the inside to out, enabling staff to serve patrons in any of the ‘provinces’. The booth seating areas are ripe for intimate discussions. Steel cages overrun by vines separate the booths from each other. Recycled fence palings cut to form timber tiles reminiscent of the exposed lath and plaster ceilings above provide another layer of space definition. The decked courtyard is enclosed by tall, recycled brick walls from which a repurposed army tent has been stretched out taut to shade perimeter banquette seating clad with old stair timbers. Lamps in amber glass bottles hang from catenary wires across the courtyard, providing Chinese lantern strings with a twist. The hotel has been renovated with the highest regard for sustainability . A 2.5kW solar panel array and a solar hot water system complements the low energy output of the National. Passive solar design strategies along with natural ventilation systems are utilised to eliminate the need for energy intensive air-conditioning systems. 9000L of rainwater is harvested from the roof and stored in black recycled caged tanks and plumbed in to flush the toilets. A concealed services platform locates of refrigeration equipment remotely to reduce internal heat loading, while also housing kitchen plants and a worm farm. The National Hotel is now the new republic for the people of Richmond. A place for people to come together in their own community – where the architecture, like the staff, is proud to serve.