The Abode Hotel Woden has become the first hotel in Australia to be awarded a rating under the prestigious Green Star certification system by the Green Building Council of Australia.

Green Star is an internationally-recognised sustainability rating system for the design, construction, and operation of buildings, fitouts and communities.

The four star Green Star rating achieved by the Abode Hotel Woden builds on its 4.5 NABERS rating.

Formerly Juliana House, the building was home to a number of government departments and commercial organisations but was vacant for a number of years before it was purchased by GEOCON and transformed into a contemporary 152 apartment hotel.

“Our decision to do an adaptive re-use rather than knock-down rebuild meant we were on the sustainable path from the very beginning with this project.  We wanted to see how far we could take that, so we decided to work towards achieving Green Star certification,” said GEOCON Managing Director Nick Georgalis.

The design concept sought to reposition a drab and ageing asset with minimal but targeted changes to the external building fabric and extensive works to the ground level façade and external areas. The works included a new entry stairs/ramp arrangement, external deck, full length glazing, lighting and new landscaping around a beautiful existing magnolia tree all of which gave the building fresh rejuvenated street appeal.

A major focus for the project was the building interior. The original building floor plate lent itself to an efficient arrangement of hotel rooms laid out along a central corridor, achieving 152 rooms in total over the 10 floors. There are a variety of room types, each spacious and comfortable with an attractive warm colour palette and good views through the original windows.

The interior design theme built on the tension between old and new – the reception and cafe concept builds on the retention of a number of existing features such as the existing black marble of the lift fronts and exposed concrete ceilings with a new palette of modern materials, finishes, lighting and furnishings.

“It was a challenging proposition because we were new to the Green Star process and at the time there was no tool for rating hotels. So, we worked closely with the Green Building Council of Australia and our sustainability engineers Northrop Consulting Engineers to develop tools relevant for a hotel.

“Even though the process continued over a sustained period, we were fully committed to it and I’m grateful to the persistence and support from those involved including the ACT Government and particularly Chief Minister Andrew Barr who as then Minister for Economic Development got right behind the project, the Green Building Council of Australia, our architects AMC, our sustainability engineer Bridget Glasson at Northrop and our GEOCON personnel who delivered the project,” Mr Georgalis said.

Completed in 2013 at a cost of $12.5 million, Abode Woden was a national finalist in the 2014 PCA Innovation and Excellence awards in the Innovation category.

Read the featured article in the Canberra Times.


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