Abode, the Apartment Hotel (Adaptive Reuse of Juliana House)
Juliana House in Woden Town Centre sat vacant for a number of years before GEOCON acquired the property with an idea to adaptively reuse the building as a hotel – the third in its developing Abode chain. The design concept sought to reposition a drab and ageing asset with minimal but targeted changes to the external building fabric and extensive works to the ground level façade and external areas.
The works included a new entry stairs/ramp arrangement, external deck, full length glazing, lighting and new landscaping set around an established magnolia tree, all of which gave the building fresh, rejuvenated street appeal. One section of the original pre-cast panel façade was removed over the full height of the building and replaced with curtain wall glazing, with a series of striking raked fins high above the building entry adding visual interest to the monolithic facade. In keeping with the Abode brand, the plant room roof and fire stairs have been painted black which, when combined with the hotel’s distinctive signage, give the building a contemporary appearance.
The original building floor plate lent itself to an efficient arrangement of hotel rooms laid out along a central corridor, achieving 153 rooms in total over the 10 floors. There are a variety of room types, each spacious and comfortable with an attractive warm colour palette and excellent views. The reception and cafe concept builds on the retention of a number of existing features such as the existing black marble of the lift fronts and exposed concrete ceilings with a new palette of modern materials, finishes, lighting and furnishings. This is a highly successful and innovative example of an adaptive reuse development. This project was the first hotel to achieve a Green Star rating in Australia and was a Finalist in the Innovation category within the 2014 National PCA Innovation and Excellence Awards.