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The Heritage Hotel, Rockhampton
by Brown, Evans + Associates, Architects



The Heritage Hotel project revitalizes an existing Heritage Listed Hotel in the heart of Rockhampton. Formally The Commercial Hotel, the building, located on a prominent corner of Quay and William St. is a notable example of late 19th Century commercial architecture. Throughout its life, the building was subjected to a series of renovations and layers of re-interpretation. Scarborough Queensland VC Pty Ltd, acquired the building in late 2005 and were dismayed at how little of the buildings potential was being utilized. When Brown, Evans + Associates (BE+A), Architects were engaged, they found a building without a clear point of entry. Its upper levels were largely cut off from the rest of the building and both the ground and first floors ignored their river views. The second floor had been carved up into basic residential accommodation and a manager's residence, which commandeered one of the buildings primary outlooks for itself. A dark internal ‘hideaway bar' provided gloomy, smoke filled spillover space for a nightclub in the building next-door. Thankfully the exterior of the building was largely retained, it being one of a series of Heritage listed buildings along Quay Street, facing the Fitzroy River which the National Estate notes as being one of "the finest of colonial streets" on its' register. The second floor, renovated in 2003, contains budget accommodation. That renovation addressed issues of access and egress, introducing fire services and infrastructure. BDA Fire Engineers and Wormalds worked with us to expand on this, including fire rated doors and

windows to maintain safety, while providing physical and visual connections between spaces. The building undoubtedly has cultural heritage significance. The owners and architects believed this could only be retained if the building engaged with the Rockhampton community. We aimed to reclaim the buildings links with Quay Street and the Fitzroy through its internal planning in the same way it so obviously does externally. A new double height hotel lobby links various functions on all three levels. Clearly articulated towards the primary William Street frontage it re-establishes the idea of a grand staircase within the hotel. Areas of high public use, within the building, were re-opened to vistas of the Fitzroy on both ground and first floor. Through liaison with the EPA, we gained approval to open part of the Quay Street frontage providing the restaurant with river views. The managers' residence was relocated within the first floor so the original rooms on Quay Street could be re-established as lounge rooms with some of the best river views in Rockhampton. The ‘Hideaway Bar' and its roof were torn out creating a first floor courtyard. This provides outdoor space, light and natural ventilation, which the building, whose footprint takes up the entire site, could otherwise, not enjoy. A mezzanine floor over the courtyard, toward Quay Lane, provides a designated smoking area and unexpected views of the river. In addition to the variety of spaces offered within the hotel, The Quay, cocktail bar, towards Quay Lane provides Rockhampton with a more intimate social venue.

Rockhampton, QLD
Brown, Evans + Associates, Architects
(07) 4922 0000
Project Team
Project architect: Carl Brown
Project manager: Leo Iacuone
Developer: Scarborough Queensland VC Pty Ltd
Structural consultant: Cardno Consulting Engineers
Lighting consultant: Euroluce
Builder: Trustyle Constructions - Paul Iaonnou
Design team member: Gerard Cullinane
Design team member: Gina Barrett
Building Certifier: C.Q.Building Certification
Fire Engineer: BDA Fire
Fire Services: Wormald Rockhampton
Furniture + fitout: Nigel Farrow
Specialist Glazing: Rockhampton
Caninet Makers: Bencraft
Photographer: BE+A Architects and Luke Marsden

Photographs by BE+A Architects and Luke Marsden, text by Brown, Evans + Associates, Architects

Link directly to this award entry: is the website of The Royal Australian Institute of Architects