Boutique hotel pipes in a new look

pra facade

How to get a client to go for your most adventurous design

When Melbourne’s Prahan Hotel was ready for expansion, they went back to Techné, a local architectural firm they’d worked with before and with whom they had a lot of trust equity.

The hotel’s creative brief called for a design that was more conventional than not, but something no other Australian pub had.

“We actually expected [them] to go with the most adventurous idea,” says project architect Justin Northrup.

Cue the mega-tonne standard drainage pipes … [about 2 to 7 tonnes] custom-fitted with steel reinforcements for the  dual-purpose of creating a striking  facade, as well as novel banquette seating. There are window booths that can seat two and as many as eight, and the “half-pipe” upstairs provides mezzaluna setting for 10.

I love three things about this project.

  1. It’s small in architectural terms, but enormous in what good design can do for a business.
  2. The addition worked out a way to encase the Chinese elm, turn it into a garden area and bring the sky indoors, so to speak, always a worthy feat.
  3. I learned about Karma Kegs, where a pub sets up a time for pay-what-you-can pints, all proceeds going to charity.

Why don’t we do this, Toronto?