The woeful Westin Hotel

Can we just talk about how truly terrible the architecture of the Westin Hotel is ? It was built as part of a deal with David Marriner that saw the City Square reduced by half, and restoration of the Regent Theatre, and it opened in c2000. The architects were Desmond Brooks International (a resort specialist based on the Gold Coast) with locals #PeckvonHartel. Firstly it’s way too tall, about 51m where the limit is 40m, which I heard they managed by measuring at the Collins street front, which is about 6m higher than the City Square level (don’t know where the other 5m came from! And that’s not counting the plant level). They then made it look less tall by putting the top five floors (apartments, not hotel) in a giant mansard. But the ends are just glass and concrete, and it sticks up behind St Paul’s from Prince’s Bridge. The style is very American, that is traditional, but simplified, with no fine detailing, so it’s all rather clunky. Hence the zinc-look mansard, the little balconies, the ‘bay windows’, the thin cornice things, and the light brown precast panels, no doubt intended to look like sandstone, but don’t. The cornice strips exaggerate the immense length, which they’ve then tried to break up with the stacks of bay windows, not terribly successfully. They’re applied symmetrically but most oddly of all, the foyer on the lower two levels isn’t central, so there’s some extra bay windows. Maybe I’d think it was ok if it just didn’t have the mansard apartment floors, but maybe I’d still dislike it. All photos from various websites.

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