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    Canberra curves away to a Guggenheim Vibe with striking new hotel

    David Wheedldon

    Canberra's newest architectural feature has officially opened, with the Bates Smart-designed Vibe Hotel drawing comparisons with the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

    The 4.5 star Vibe Hotel Canberra, operated by Toga Far East Hotels (TFE Hotels), was set to open on Monday (November 2, 2015).

    The unique look of the completed project comes courtesy of architectural firm Bates Smart, who had won the design competition for the rights to carry out the building and interior design for the $50 million airport hotel.

    Winning concept: An artists’ rendition. Image via Canberra Airport

    Situated adjacent to the new terminal, the building centres around a dramatic full height circular atrium, designed in part in tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum, TFE’s Luke Saunder told the Canberra Times.

    The seven-story hotel has 191 rooms including 12 suites and nine apartments. Reception, conferencing facilities, restaurant, bar and lounges are positioned at the base of the atrium, forming the social focus of the hotel.

    The architects say the combination of circular and axial geometries was inspired by the geometry of Walter Burley Griffin’s plan for Canberra.

    “The circular geometries allow the building to be read in the round, responding to the site’s multiple approach and vantage points,” according to a design description by Bates Smart.

    “The circular theme is echoed throughout the building in the facade and interior detailing. A glazed curtain wall screen with circular aluminium hoops wraps the form and ties it together as a singular object. The hoops act as a privacy screen for guests without loss of view. The interior finishes are rich and tailored, inspired by the golden age of air travel of the 1960s and ’70s," the architects explain,

    Canberra Airport Managing Director Stephen Byron said the venture was intended to bring international flights directly to the ACT, the hotel accommodating business and leisure travellers.

    It is particularly aiming to attract more visitors from Asia, an objective which aligns with the hotel operator.

    TFE Hotels is a joint venture between Australian company Toga Group and Far East Hospitality, Singapore’s largest private property developer. Toga has a network of more than 65 hotels and serviced apartment complexes with more than 9,000 rooms across Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

     

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