Balancing Old and New

Melbourne Hotel Perth, Australia

Melbourne Hotel

Perth, Australia


A striking mid-rise boutique hotel development expanding the capacity of this late 19th-century heritage ‘gold rush’ hotel.

The completely refurbished hotel comprises 22 refurbished heritage rooms and 51 new rooms. Rooms share a circulation ‘street’ space woven through and around the heritage building. A three-level glazed conservatory space delineates the original 1897 building fabric and the new boutique rooms. Within, the materiality expressed contrasts the rustic and textural rear of the building with a contemporary internal façade. It includes an extended food and beverage offer, an expanded function and business facility and new rooftop bar.

Two scales predominate. Low rise frontages to the streetscapes, and new six-level bookend extensions to both heritage façades. These bookends are visually separated from the adjacent heritage building with a vertical glazed setback slot, allowing views out and expressing the extent of the original building.

The complexities of the development, such as a heritage listing, melding old with the new, creating potential for a second stage office or serviced apartment building and a very tight construction site led Buchan to be pragmatic and flexible with the design and construction method.

The result is a refurbished boutique hotel that engages with its history and creates a vibrant energy from the contemporary design of new facilities and spaces.

Photography by Joel Barbitta


  • Client /Oakesfield Pte
  • Discipline /AR. ID. BX
  • Sector /Hotels & Hospitality
  • Region /Australia
  • Awards / Commendation, Heritage Award, AIA Western Australia 2020, Winner. WA's Best Redeveloped/Refurbished Hotel, Australian Hotels Association Perth Airport Accommodation Awards for Excellence 2019, Commendation, Commercial Award, AIA Western Australia 2018