The 399 Little Lonsdale Street development is a 35 storey tower for 3 and 4 star hotel, plus ground floor retail. It is near the corner of Hardware Street and there is a laneway connecting the site with Hardware Street; which, with its voids above, makes a more permeable frontage to the development’s lower levels.
Historically, how tall buildings in the city engage with the skyline has been an expression which is a mix somewhere between the functional purity of the façade grid, and the elegance of its detailing. There have been few that have ventured outside that area of engagement.
The facades here at 399 Lonsdale Street subtly try to invert that traditional spandrel/window relationship. With the use of colour shifts, opacity and transparency in the curtain wall panels, the facade manages to disguise the transition in floor levels throughout the height of the tower. What it does instead, through the use of these devices, is provide layers that map a shift in activity up the tower, over and above how the extent of accommodation might naturally express activity within a hotel. This condition where the facades fade and shift, permanently engages the building in an active dialogue with the cityscape or skyline.
The lack of hierarchy in the spandrel and window heights provide an almost illusory view of the building where it is difficult to tell if it is a 30+ or 50+ storey building. This play on scale and the active colour shifting on the façade are direct attempts to engage with the City as An Idea, a vertical habitat that is lived in, worked in, and is continuously alive and active.