The City of Sydney Council has approved plans for a 121-room hotel, to be based in Surry Hills. Designed by Fox Johnston Architects, the hotel is conceived as an urban travellers rest, located on the south-east fringe of the Sydney CBD.

Fox Johnston are tasked with being both the project architects and interior designers for the hotel, with their plan adapting a former warehouse that straddles Goulburn Lane, Brisbane Street and Commonwealth Street. The hotel will continue much of the practice’s work to revitalise the area, after previously devising a masterplan and design for the public areas and entry gallery of Paramount House, that includes the Golden Age Cinema and restaurant Poly (designed by Anthony Gil Architects).

In an attempt to adaptively reuse as much of the building as possible, the original two-storey brick facade and interior mushroom columns will be retained, with a 7-storey building inserted above the original warehouse, that will house all 121 hotel rooms, with hospitality and retail facilities located at ground level.

The Brisbane Street end of the building, opposite to Harmony Park, will play host to the hotel lobby. The brick facade will be peeled back to reveal the double-height lobby, with group-floor retail spaces to be located along Goulburn Lane, to Commonwealth Street where the original building entry will be retained.

Two large courtyard spaces will be carved out from the building and given a considered landscape treatment, to provide a calming green space in the urban jungle. Design will be contemporary while materially referencing the robust buildings of this former industrial district. The site sits between the imposing Mark Foys Building and Art Deco Motor Trades Association building.

Fox Johnston Director Conrad Johnston says the hotel will contrast against its locale.

“This is a very densely built up part of the city, so our idea was essentially to create a series of courtyard buildings within the site envelope. We carved out two interior courtyards through the one building that act as light-wells to give most rooms a restful outlook and natural light,” he says.

Construction on the hotel will commence early next year.