Canberra Hotel By The Bates Smart

Our goal was to design a hotel that was truly “Canberran,” responding to both Griffin’s original idea and its unique location at the gateway to Canberra Airport. We used Griffin’s geometry of circles and axes to build an entryway to the new airport terminal after researching his Canberra proposal. The interior is visually interwoven with the hotel’s architectural expression, resulting in a holistic approach to the expression of the structure.

Unified And Holistic Omnidirectional Form At The Hotel

Canberra Hotel  / Bates Smart,© Anson Smart

We employed a striking omnidirectional circular form to create a landmark gateway that defines the terminal entry regardless of approach and is spectacular when viewed in motion from a passing vehicle. A straight edge running tangential to the circle connects with Terminal Circuit, confirming the terminal’s entry axis. The airport terminal also has a second tangent that allows for diagonal views into the terminal. At the apex of the design, a complementary smaller circle completes the form, giving it a friendly geometry when approaching from the terminal. The geometry generates a unified and holistic omnidirectional form.


Within the terminal complex, the curvilinear form has its own distinct identity. Alternating broad and narrow façade modules produce residential-scaled ‘framed’ windows in the rooms, while straight parts allow for a smooth curve on the outside. The glass façade features a circular ring screen that provides privacy for visitors without obstructing their view. Externally, it unifies the facade into a single expression, emphasising the hotel’s landmark status while obscuring the effects of the draperies on the hotel’s appearance.

Circular Interior Atrium On The Perimeter

Canberra Hotel  / Bates Smart,© Brett Boardman

The hotel’s centrepiece is a stunning circular interior atrium that connects all of the rooms. White circular balustrades contrast with darkish circulation corridors, allowing visitors to approach their rooms quietly while also adding to the interior drama. A symphony of circular skylights pours dramatic beams of light into the interior while also creating a sense of enclosure.


The hotel’s social activities are located on the ground floor, which can also be used as a public area for events. The circular geometry of the structure is referenced in the design of the interior parts. The base of the atrium is alive with a bar and lounge sections. For views, there is a restaurant and a fireplace on the perimeter. The decreased ceiling height and rod screens create intimacy while keeping the main space’s connectedness.

Written By Ankit Lad | Subscribe To Our Telegram Channel To Get Latest Updates And Don’t Forget To Follow Our Social Media Handles Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter. To Get the Latest Updates From Arco Unico


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