131 Margaret Street, Toowoomba
‘An innovative approach’ and ‘to set a new standard’ were key client aspirations in commissioning Conrad Gargett to create a solution to this complex development.
The client’s brief for a new facility augmenting their already successful 4.5 Star Hotel operation, also aimed to cater to the needs of a growing CBD, act as a community gathering place, provide a significant regional meeting venue, and contribute to social interaction opportunities in Queensland’s ‘Garden City’ of Toowoomba.
With a development site located at the traditional Margaret Street entry point to the CBD of this regional capital, and flanked either side by significant heritage buildings, the architectural solution required balanced and sensitive handling. Notably, a locally significant heritage Church from 1904, located on the site of the clients existing hotel was an historic legacy requiring great respect.
The architectural scheme focuses on a public piazza which acknowledges and dignifies the church, enhancing its street presence. Located on the main frontage, this new ‘town square’ encourages public interaction with, and facilitates an urbane approach to the new development. The piazza and public facilities incorporate a modern Australian ‘Campfire’ – a powerful embodiment of successful social interchange from our shared indigenous, colonial and rural pasts.
The masonry streetscape of adjacent facades and nearby traditional civic buildings is continued, and promotes the creation and recognition of a localised precinct. An important visual connection between the redeveloped Hotel and the City’s most important green space – Queens Park – is maintained.
The development provides valuable new public hospitality venues – a Restaurant-Café, and a separate Bar or Wine-Bar Tenancy. It establishes a major local Conference and Meeting Venue, with separable spaces also configurable as a ‘grand exhibition’ hall, and provides an additional 25 boutique Hotel Suites, together with Guest Health and Leisure facilities.
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