The Old Clare Hotel has been conceived as a collection of interconnected buildings that have been woven into the fabric of the city. The new hotel stitches together the two inherited buildings the Carlton United Brewery Administration Building and the County Clare Hotel. The design encloses the former laneway, creating a rich hierarchy of public and private spaces.
The Hotel contains 62 rooms and suites, three restaurants, ground level bar, roof-top swimming pool and bar, along with a basement service space accessing all areas of the hotel. Primary uses, including reception, bar and restaurant and conference functions, are accommodated in the historic County Clare Hotel at the front of the site, whilst the repetitive pattern of the Administration Building naturally lends itself to the cellular nature of hotel room organisation.
Walking through the Hotel is like going on an adventure through a building that seems to be as much about un-building as it is about building. The process of un-building naturally leaves its own record of saw cuts and prop holes, all of which add to the composition of the finished building. In this way, moments in history and processes in past construction are captured and revealed in the fabric of the building, leading to a reinvigoration of the past and a sophisticated complexity in the fabric of the architecture.
The greenest building is the one that’s already on the site. The construction approach prioritised ‘un-building’ the inherited buildings in order to maximise the retained material. Several period rooms, including the existing Carlton United Brewery Board Room and its WC, have been retained in-situ. Where existing rooms and stairs weren’t retained, their panelling was reused elsewhere. Fixtures and fittings, including the historic and unusual urinals have been relocated. The timber roof trusses were reused in the interiors of ground floor restaurant, Automata.
The magic of the Hotel lies in its adaptive reuse, whereby the collection of inherited urban artefacts, each imbued with memories and associations, are linked by a series of new uses relevant to the Sydney of today.