Top architect floats river hotel plan
A FLOATING hotel on the River Derwent championing technology pioneered in Tasmania is the newest pet project of award-winning local architect Robert Morris-Nunn, the Mercury can reveal.
Anchored next to the Regatta Grounds, the proposed hotel would follow in the tradition of Hobart’s floating bridge, the predecessor to the Tasman Bridge, and more recently the new Brooke St Pier.
It would have capacity for about 270 rooms, but with potential for more, with restaurants, retail space and bars on the ground floor.
Prof Morris-Nunn, the man behind the designs of the Saffire Resort, Henry Jones Hotel, MACq 01 and the Brooke St Pier, said the development could create a unique tourism asset for Hobart.
“This hotel proposal responds to the fundamental logic of adding to what is special and different about Hobart, rather than replicating what is done elsewhere,” he said.
In partnership with Sydney-based Waterborne Developments, Prof MorrisNunn said a development application was expected to be lodged with the Hobart City Council in late January.
The circular design would feature suites facing both outwards and inward, with the latter looking into a central court.
Prof Morris-Nunn said the number of rooms could easily be varied as the diameter of the building could be increased or another floor could potentially be added.
The building would be created in three parts, with each manufactured and floated separately into pos- ition. “It is generally agreed there is a shortfall in quality hotel accommodation currently available in Hobart and there will be considerable pressure from certain sections of the tourism industry to build large new hotels in the CBD, regardless of any longer-term detrimental consequences and ongoing community opposition,” Prof Morris-Nunn said.
He said the purpose of this proposal was to demonstrate alternatives exist to preserve the city’s low-rise character.
The floating pontoon would draw on the same Tasmanian technology, innovation, design, and engineering used to create the $13 million Brooke St Pier completed in 2014.
It would be secured to sea anchors beneath the water, allowing it to rise and fall with the tide.
Lord Mayor Sue Hickey said while she would need to see all the details when the development application was lodged, the council wanted to see more innovative architecture in the capital.
“It’s an exciting proposal — a world-leading development that shows there’s not always a need for height for something to be quite innovative.”
Incat chairman Robert Clifford supported the idea and said there was potential for a marina at the site that would allow supermaxi yachts to moor.
Macquarie Point Development Corporation chief executive officer Mary Massina said the corporation supported the hotel proposal in principle, while Royal Hobart Regatta president Geoff Lucas said the development had the potential to change the dynamics of the Derwent.