This development proposal in central Queenstown included retail, commercial office, resort hotel and spa on a small urban footprint. By refurbishing the old 1885 Mountaineer ‘pub for the people’ and contrasting this with the new, this proposal creates a balance of historical and contemporary architecture. A precise ascetic engagement with light, materials and abstracted nature was intended to create its own kind of luxury.
The re-establishment of the older patterns of circulation between the buildings encouraged discovery and exploration of this new destination within the CBD. Suspended vertical circulation around a new public space helped consolidate a strong identity for the development. Smaller retail frontages lined with warm wood activated the interior passageways.
An austere screen of 450x75mm timber mullions, tapered in section enclosed the main four-storey elevation. The spacing of these vertical timber louvres protected the more fragile lantern-like hotel floors from glare and heat and when viewed obliquely it created a kind of ‘abstracted forest’ with a fine grain of shifting shadows. This had the effect of dematerialising the building mass as well as giving the internal spaces subtly filtered vistas. It also articulated a new contemporary layer of building to contrast the heavy weight heritage façade of the original hotel.