2019 National Architecture Awards: The Lachlan Macquarie Award for Heritage

Premier Mill Hotel by Spaceagency Architects.

Jury citation

Heritage awards seem to either laud historical absolutism or accept heritage fragments as a mere backdrop to the contemporary commercial requirements of a redevelopment. Displaying neither of these tendencies, Premier Mill Hotel is refreshing and revelatory in its deep integration of a plethora of heritage artefacts and spatial leftovers, textures, materials and images that don’t simply invoke a past but celebrate its ingenuity and authenticity. This is a project that exhibits sincere and respectful care without being museum-like or overtly deferential. It celebrates the past by making it visible, relevant and part of the commercial allure of the hotel.

The building is effectively a spatial and material superimposition. A sophisticated and well designed boutique hotel has been integrated into the fabric, the volumetrics and the residual hardware and mechanics of a redundant flour mill. This was not a stripping out of the old and a re-presentation of various bits and pieces of the mill in a new context; rather, it involved a delicate merging of a significant portion of the systems, mechanisms and engineering of the original mill. Simultaneously, it also provided bespoke details and hospitality features that give the hotel a one-of-a-kind confluence – a contemporary heritage.

Briefed to resurrect and transform an important remnant of Katanning’s agricultural/industrial past, and to position it as a hotel that celebrates and advances tourism in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, Spaceagency Architects has redefined the meaning of a heritage project. The historic hardware (machines, belts, cables, shafts and conveyors) of the flour mill remain in situ, with the hotel rooms, corridors, circulation areas and stairs inserted into the mill’s carcass in such a way as to retain an appreciation of the building’s original purpose. This is a master achievement, born of intelligence and attention.

Premier Mill Hotel is located in Katanning, Western Australia, and built on the land of the Wagyl Kaip and Southern Nyoongar peoples.

Credits

Architect
Spaceagency Architects
Fremantle, WA, Australia
Project Team
Michael Patroni, Dimmity Walker (design architects), Alessia Mercuri (graduate of architecture)
Consultants
Base-build documentation Archserv
Builder Masterbuild Constructions
Building surveyor Resolve Group
Engineer Peritas Group, Maitland Heritage Engineering
Heritage consultant Hocking Heritage Studio
Project manager Dome Developments
Site details
Category Commercial / public buildings
Type Heritage, Hotels
Project Details
Status Built
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