The Fender Katsalidis-designed Midnight Hotel will open in Canberra, showcasing a unique design that complements the city’s newly operational light rail.

Fender Katsalidis director David Sutherland refers to Midnight as the ‘babushka building’, due to its deceptively simple exterior that internally reveals itself to be four buildings in one.

The building is a mixture of hotel, apartment, business and hospitality space, purpose-built to support Canberra’s new light rail with its commuter-friendly public spaces.

“Midnight is several buildings in one. The way in which those different uses are interrelated sets Midnight apart from most buildings,” says Sutherland.

“The hotel occupies the centre of the complex, with hotel rooms facing inwards into a central linear courtyard. That courtyard is a public space in the middle of the site and, at the bottom of the building, represents an internal pedestrian lane weaving together the office tenancies.

Midnight hotel fender katsalidis courtyard

“Because of its location, Midnight in effect acts as a linkage between the formality of the primary Griffin axis of Northbourne Avenue and the raffish polyglot environment of adjacent Braddon. In recognition of that diversity of location, the external representation of the building is very different on those two faces.

“Whilst highly sculptural, the building is calmly composed to Northbourne Avenue. On Mort Street, the materiality is tougher and a finer and more kinetic grain of building presentation is experienced. The Elouera Street frontage acts as both a transition between and a stitching together of the Northbourne Avenue and Mort Street frontages.”

As for its location close to the light rail station, the building includes a significant public courtyard integrated with food and beverage functions. Deliberately set below footpath level to provide shelter and a sense of privacy, the courtyard creates a place of public respite and enjoyment for travellers. 

Image credit: Fender Katsalidis