The Lenna Courtyard Hotel

Architectural Design Statement

Statement Index

Navigate the Design Statement with the section links below.
Reacting To Site Potential
Establishing a Footprint According to Precedent
Ensuring Heritage View Lines and Repairing the 1970s
Layered Stepping Building Form
Continuing the Salamanca Facade & Laneway Language
Interpreting Heritage Context
Dignifying Civic Identity With Roof Form
Façades Responding To The Adjacent Realms

Reacting To Site Potential –

Salamanca Place would likely benefit if it could be experienced as both a continuous lively edge and a link between two significant spaces; an engaging, nearly uninterrupted trip between Princes Park and St Davids Park. Development at the Lenna site offers an opportunity to extend the form of Salamanca Place in a way that enables more positive linkage, more choices within the ‘Salamanca Experience’, and a vantage point for an overview of it.

Both the liveliness and formal coherence of Salamanca Place tends to diminish as it rises up towards Prince’s Park. The deviation of historical development to the Castray Esplanade is currently disjointed and does not offer pedestrians a continuing sight line. Making the park more evident and more tempting would be a positive urban move. The Lenna Proposal is arrayed to support this outcome.

Establishing a Footprint

According to Precedent

In history, and currently, the Southern side of Salamanca Place is experienced as a nearly continuous built-to boundary facade interrupted occasionally with accessible openings for side-streets and Salamanca Square. The Lenna site offers an opportunity for extension and continuation of this specific and memorable characteristic.

The Lenna Proposal is arrayed so that its longest facade aligns with and continues the dominant heritage façades. The mass of the scheme is stretched across the frontage as per neighbouring blocks, such that Salamanca Place is understood as the main street, and Runnymede Street as the side street. This difference between ‘front’ and ‘side’ is supported by the proposed elevations treatments.

Ensuring Heritage View Lines

and Repairing the 1970s

The views to the original Lenna building from the Runnymede Street corner are undisturbed (the 1973 hotel building having largely obscured the original mansion).

Stairs, pathways and routes are incorporated into the view up Runnymede St to encourage pedestrian exploration and make the steep terrain less daunting.

The 1973 building is much less imposing in the streetscape and experienced as a ‘courtyard edge’ rather than an independent ‘block’ in the round.

The original Lenna and the proposed new Lenna are geared to be the dominant elements in a composition where the ‘70’s building is given an ‘infill’ role.

Read more about Lenna's history

Layered Stepping Building Form

In accord with Council aspirations for development in this particular area, a stepping form has been designed that climbs to enable the existing 1970’s Lenna building to act as the summit in the new composition.

The first or lowest step is formed from a podium base that wraps around from Salamanca Place frontage. This base platform is minimised in height; it does not reach to balustrade level, it is topped instead with bowl like planters that emphasise its shelf like character. The bulk of the scheme is setback from this podium/shelf/ platform and rises four stories to then step back again to form a final level.

Balcony divisions are not present. This last topping layer is treated with differing, continuous fenestration and a sloping roof edge. In this way, the main block portion of the new development is rendered at a lower height than the 1970’s Lenna block, creating a further expressed step.

The differing elevation treatments of each ascending element further assist the stepping expression; the development not only has a steeping outline, it has a distinctly characterised rise of differing layers. The form reads as an accumulation of stacking and receding parts, rather than a modelled, unitary block.

Continuing the Salamanca Facade

& Laneway Language

Although the existing historic Salamanca ‘wall’ of ex-warehouses forms a strikingly linear effect, it is made up from discernibly fragmented parts that give it a characteristic rhythm and sub-articulation through its length. Notably, there are slight variations in height of the combining forms and repeating vertical divisions, or infilled gaps (which historically facilitated loading).

This language is echoed in the proposed development. The podium frontage to Salamanca Place is slightly adjusted in through its length, with variations in setback yielding a direct line of site to the park edge and its welcoming greenery. Notably, the inclusion of a tall vertical slot, similar in proportion to the Salamanca originals, divides both podium and upper levels. This element not only rescales the proposal into pieces, it includes a climbing stair from footpath to podium. This ‘climb-to-an upper-vantage-point’ is well precedented in the lower Salamanca experience which characteristically involves stairs that ascend to the Battery Point platform above the streets and courts below.

The ‘vertical-division’ language is also used in the levels of the development, where just as historically rendered in Salamanca, the slots are used as balconies.

Lenna site plan diagram

Lenna site plan diagram.

Diagrammatic view of north facade

Diagrammatic view of north facade.

Typical Salamanca place street elevation

Typical Salamanca place street elevation.

Salamanca place street elevation

Salamanca place street elevation.

Interpreting Heritage Context

Although opinions vary as to the aesthetic worth of the 1970’s Lenna building, it does observe critical features of the original Lenna in a helpful, noticeable way. Decorative horizontal banding is deployed between floor levels and window openings are aggregated into large ‘metaopenings’ which are then expressed with dominant vertical elements, (a combination of mullions and columns). This overall ordering principle of the facades in the prior buildings is continued in the proposed building. In this way the 1970’s building is given a heightened significance within the overall Lenna site, rather than render it negated as ‘the ugly duckling’.

Street view - existing facade elements, ordering and expressive elements.

Street view: Existing facade elements, ordering and expressive elements.

Runnymede st elevation

Runnymede St elevation.

Salamanca Pl elevation.

Salamanca Pl elevation.

Summit Cairns, Platform Peak, Tasmania
Mount Styx, Tasmania

Summit Cairns, Platform Peak & Mount Styx, Tasmania

Other expressive elements of the original Lenna are also transposed, in an abstracted way, to the new. Columnar presence within the exterior enclosing mass is deployed. Various urn forms and decorative flourishes from the original shift to become planters and garden elements. The rough sandstone boundary walls continue.

Drawn from the less immediate historical context are the distinctive small cairns and plinths, often formed from rough stone, that persist in Tasmanian landscapes. A conspicuous version of one these distinctly 19th Century forms is included on the Salamanca/Runnymede corner, where it will be present amidst vegetation, in accord with how these charming features are often experienced.

Dignifying Civic Identity With Roof Form

Early illustrations and photographs of Hobart’s development have a cue which is repeatedly evident as the city has developed. When seen from the harbour or from the many vantage points in the lower folds of the terrain, simple block-like structures can be seen – capped metal clad hipped roof forms. The relatively sparse development patterns of the city have seen these simple Georgian forms popping up at various scales at various times (the original Lenna building being a conspicuous although more highly worked example of this type).

A continuation of this silhouette quality is envisaged in the Lenna Proposal. Its straight forward Cartesian outline and resolution at the sky edge in an abstracted hipped form recognises precedent and offers a continuation of historic picturesque qualities particular to Hobart. This dominant outline negates any intrusive effects of the lift over-run structure.

Since the proposal will be visible from many vantage points it is judged appropriate that the building participates with tradition in an enlarged and nuanced way – using a roof form. It presents the building as more ‘mansion-like’ than ‘block-like’.

Local Context Photographs

View from the harbor.

Historic Photographs & Drawings

Façades Responding To

The Adjacent Realms

The Lenna Proposal is fashioned to yield a set of facade responses that have reciprocity with their adjacent realms and vantages.

The Eastern edge is rendered to complement the adjacent park with filigree screens, timber framed openings, integrated planting and climbing plants. Elevation elements take cues from the masonry ‘infill’ Lenna. The bulk of the new proposal extends the datum of the ‘70’s roof terrace as a horizontal ‘plane’ and adds a ‘roof form’ above it as was approved in the ‘90’s.

The West facade takes the character of Salamanca Place with a monolithic thick wall, masonry details, earthy hues and compact openings. It has a distinctive central recessed balcony as precedented in the nearby exstorehouse buildings.

The Northern facade, or stepping facade, in its upper levels, utilises the characteristic infilled divisions of the nearby warehouses that face north, towards the harbour. The lower podium level shares a material solidity evidenced in nearby warehouses. In addition to these overarching moves, a profusion of vertical elements are deployed to echo the maritime surroundings.

Robustly formed vertical balustrade stanchions have the character and scale of bollards and hefty posts that proliferate in working harbours. Theses smaller scale elements play a large part in shaping the overall character of the elevation and will serve to distinguish it from the smooth/sheer overtly glassy language so typical of contemporary residential accommodation buildings.

North / Harbour Language.