The brief for the Coppersmith Hotel was simple: deliver a contemporary hotel and hospitality destination while preserving an historic landmark in South Melbourne, Australia.
The landmark was the old Cricket Club Hotel, first licensed in 1870. Reborn as the Coppersmith, it is now a boutique hotel with 15 guestrooms, a gastronomic bar and dining room and a rooftop retreat.
The owners of Coppersmith Hotel are experienced and well respected hoteliers with an interest in the history of South Melbourne. They wanted to create “a home away from home for the busy traveller”. But they also wanted the Coppersmith to be “a neighbourhood hang-out, a place where you’re invited to become a local”.
Their vision was to create a venue that explored the theme of luxury on an intimate scale throughout.
“At the Coppersmith Hotel, we had to appeal to local people who knew and loved the historic building and travellers who demand modern amenities in a comfortable guestroom,” said Susan Standring, HASSELL Principal.
“That is the key to a successful business for the owners.”
Preserving the building’s historic façade which sits within a Victorian-era streetscape was a key to delivering on the client’s brief for the Coppersmith Hotel. Neglected brickwork on the building exterior and an inefficient layout made this difficult.
HASSELL met the challenge with what is effectively a new building behind the historic façade. The designers added a third storey and a timber rooftop deck to the building, but set them both back behind the original decorative parapet so they cannot be seen from the street.
“Referencing the existing building fabric, Victorian features have been reinterpreted into a modern design within the interior spaces,” said Susan.
Behind the façade, arched windows, painted existing brick walls and timber batten detailing echo the original hotel design. The use of materials such as wood, copper and leather and a restrained colour palette add to the environment.
Through the selection of artisan furniture and fittings, the team aimed to support local Melbourne design and craftsmanship.
The result is a modern building offering the comfort and amenity expected by hotel guests and diners today, with a welcoming ambience and a strong connection to the history of South Melbourne.Location: Melbourne, Australia
Client: Bagios Holdings
Scale: 15 guestrooms, dining room, bar and rooftop deck
Year: 2014 Completed
Photographer: James Morgan, Dianna Snape