Woolwich Pier Hotel - Alexander & Co. | ArchiPro

Woolwich Pier Hotel

Design Statement

Short Project Description

The Woolwich Pier Hotel can be described as the social epicentre for the greater Woolwich

community; a gathering point at the junction of Lane Cove and Parramatta river or Moocooboola, the indigenous name for the meeting of these rivers.

Throughout the project our team sought to uncover the history of this heritage listed building, whilst introducing its new persona as a demographically diverse dining hall for the local people.

This new Woolwich Pier Hotel includes a ground floor sports bar and dining hall with courtyard and gaming facilities as well as a newly relocated staircase and first floor saloon and bar with balcony.

Client Design Brief

The existing venue suffered from inadequate amenities inclusive of kitchen, storage, bar and sanitary. Equally, it was limited operationally by low ceilings and insufficient spatial planning; the first floor presenting as a series of displaced rooms. The courtyard and first floor balcony, were also tired and charmless.

The client brief required a space that is light, bright and fresh with the ability to allow for a more flexible, varied use of space and increased patron capacity. Creatively, it was our intention to bring Woolwich back to the Woolwich Pier Hotel - once a prospering meeting place the venue had developed a disjointed dialogue with its community.

Response To The Client’s Brief

In response to this brief, our team has introduced a flexible floor plan and furniture layout as well as relocated staircase. Cutting through the space the new staircase reveals the history of Woolwich exposing the hidden layers of concrete, brick, steel and timber built up over time. Existing ceilings are left exposed and by offering an array of seating and furnishing options we have met the clients request to increase capacity.

The courtyard has been returned to its original state and the integration of multifunctional surfaces encouraging patrons to sit and stand further communicates the venue’s community driven aspect. Upstairs, in what was previously a series of rooms, this first floor Saloon is now an open and elegant dining area. Lowered balustrades on the balcony allow for unimpeded harbour views.

Our intention was that the venue’s story should evoke a sense of the familiar without belonging to any particular time or place. To achieve this we have explored a modern European mid-century style. Reclaimed and restored furniture and lighting heralds a vintage feel, while mural artwork and exposed brickwork maintains a sense of the found and restored. A juxtaposition of tactile, earthy elements and finishes respond to the masculine notes of the existing space and the clean, feminine materials (velvet, linen, marble and brass) that celebrate the freshness of the new interior.

Remnants of a previous life are provided a new persona and written into the fabric of the building’s new interiors. This can be seen in the staircase mural where fragments of the existing first floor fireplace are entwined with fine lines and contemporary graphics.

The result is a space in which the performance of its various materials, textures and colours answer to the requirements of the greater Woolwich ‘family’. Sliding from day to night; young to old, the story told throughout falls in and out of recognisable genres but always acknowledging the heritage of the building.

How Did We Achieve Excellence/Beauty/Innovation In Our Design Outcome?

Excellence can be found in the building’s ability to communicate the history of Woolwich. The reveal of its heritage bones (concrete, brick, steel and timber beams) showcasing how the space developed over time.

This is most apparent in the staircase which acts as a cross section not only of the venue’s two opposing levels but of Woolwich at different eras, its various layers of construction exposed. It is here that we also find innovation; the Woolwich Pier Hotel successfully celebrates the heritage of the architectural form, reclaiming and repurposing the structural integrity of the building whilst breathing life into its new interior. Once a thriving meeting place, the venue had developed a disjointed dialogue with its community. In response, our intention to ‘bring Woolwich back to Woolwich Pier Hotel’ became a central focus.

The new architectural language and consequent opening of the space sees versatility returned and the pub transformed into a space which satisfies not only the traditional customer but young families and lunching retirees. Colourful and textural with the ability to oscillate between various genres and styles, the venue is inclusive, celebrating beauty, art and heritage without catering to any specific event or patron. This is of benefit to the client, the end-user and the greater Woolwich community.

Were There Any Design Challenges In The Project That Were Overcome?

There were several challenges for this project. As a building that has withstood multiple change of hands over time, it had collected many architectural remnants (concrete, steel, brick and timber) requiring sensitive structural strategy, additionally this venue is a heritage site with restrictions over what is retained, removed and restored. As a result, the project is a careful balance between revitalisation and respect of its history.

For Further Information Please Contact

Tess Glasson

PR & Marketing Director

Alexander &CO.

M: 0416 071 092

Location:2 Gale Street, Woolwich, Sydney, Australia

Principal Architect: Jeremy Bull

Interior Design Team:Rachel Wan, Larissa Orso

Date Of Completion: November 2018

Project Size:900 sq m

Photography by Tom Ferguson

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