The Pencil Tower Hotel in downtown Sydney is the latest to join the growing global trend of ‘skinny skyscrapers’, with the developers lodging a development application for approval.

Located at 410 Pitt Street on a 342-square-metre site with a 6.4-metre frontage, the proposed $150-million skyscraper hotel is designed by Sydney-based architecture studio Durbach Block Jaggers, whose submission won an international competition over three other shortlisted teams including Scott Carver, Sissons Architects and SJB Architects.

Flanked by neighbouring buildings, the tower stands 100 metres high and 34 metres deep, and will have 173 compact hotel rooms across 31 storeys with six suites on each floor. With a height-to-width ratio of 16:1, Pencil Tower Hotel will be Australia's skinniest skyscraper on completion, the studio explained.

The architects at Durbach Block Jaggers describe the tower as a ‘sky scratcher’ as it is ‘too thin to really qualify as a skyscraper’.

“Our proposal embraces this extraordinary attenuated quality, proposing a ‘column’ tower on a low scale podium. The podium references the delicacy and detail of its heritage neighbours, using the language of grand arching brickwork,” the studio said.

Design highlights of the hotel include an exaggerated three-storey urban/street room within a six-storey podium, which will house the lobby, cafes, restaurants, bar and lounge across multiple levels; a walled courtyard garden; a rooftop sundeck, pool and ‘hammam’ spa; and a ‘flying balcony’ that projects from the upper levels of the building. The street room occupies the full width of the building.

The facade begins with compressed horizontal screening, slowly transforming into exaggerated verticals at the top. The super compact hotel rooms draw light from the street, rear court or internal voids, which are tiled to reflect light and colour into the rooms.

The site’s proportions are too constrained to allow the use of cranes, which means traditional construction techniques including manual methods will come into play. The six-storey podium will be constructed using conventional concrete columns and slabs while steel formwork will be used for the upper floors.

Depending on council approval, construction on the skyscraper may start this year with the completion scheduled for 2023.

Images: Durbach Block Jaggers