Hotel and Serviced Apartments

This site is located between two heritage-listed buildings – Cavendish House to the north and the Forum Theatre to the south. The Russell Street Theatre, which was built in the 1930s, was a home to the Melbourne Theatre Company from 1966 to 1994. It has been vacant ever since. The existing building is equivalent to three levels only and exposes large portions of the side elevations of the neighbouring buildings. The site therefore presents as a gap – a ‘missing tooth’. The design response to this situation, however, is to leave room. The proposed building has a transparent zone on either side of the street elevation to create distance between it and the other buildings. The projecting balconies to Russell Street are restricted to an area closer to the Forum and only up to the same height as the Forum fly tower. They are also transparent but read as a ghosting of the tower beside them.
The Russell Street block rises to the forty metres datum consistent with heritage buildings within this precinct of the city and the mass at the rear of the site rises to the same height. Between these two elements is a third – set back from the Forum to the south is a light court that is the full height of the building. This part of the building rises a further three levels, the last being almost fully glazed and incorporating an overhanging roof.
This project was granted planning approval and was into documentation when the joint clients sold the site to the owner of the Forum. The existing building remains derelict.

location Russell St, Melbourne
client Outrigger Hotels
date 2001