From Crone Partners:
Sebel Pier One is a low rise international boutique style hotel occupying the original 1912 Pier One Maritime Wharf Shed. The heritage listed wharf has been adapted, refurbished and extended to provide accommodation for 165 guest rooms and associated facilities including restaurant, bar, cafe and business centre. The existing structure has been retained and 2 new floors have been constructed within the existing building envelope to create 4 levels of guestrooms.
The southern end has been extended by the addition of a new 4 storey annex. The exterior remains largely true to its heritage and the interior spaces portray an interpretation of marine style. Original interiors such as large rough columns, timber beams, steel members and trusses are integrated into the design with a 12m² glass floor in the hotel lobby revealing the harbour below.
The Pier One structure was originally designed to provide a 640ft long wharf with a double decked Federation style timber longshore shed measuring 421ft long x 70ft wide. Pier One is unique in the Walsh Bay precinct as it lies parallel to the shore and was designed to service both cargo and passenger vessels. It featured the first two electric travelling cranes in Sydney and hand powdered travelling gantries. The gantries have been retained and incorporated into the design of the hotel.
Pier One had previously been adapted to a shopping and amusement complex in 1982 after serving as both the P&O passenger terminal (until 1963) and a cargo wharf (until 1977). Fortunately the previous adaptation had left the wharf fabric largely intact.
In the early 1990’s, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority was considering the redevelopment of the entire Walsh Bay Precinct and invited French Architect Philippe Robert to advise on the overarching vision for the precinct. This revolved around preserving the heritage ambiance and creating a public promenade around the harbour edge. Pier One was the first wharf structure to be redeveloped adhering to this vision and providing the first link in the chain for the public promenade. It was imperative that the new works within the original shed preserve the building fabric and this lead to the guestroom planning evolving around existing fenestration, columns and truss structures. The original floor decks were retained but levelled as the structure had settled over its life and the changes in floor level were perceptible over the length of the long shed. Two new floor structures were inserted between each of the original floor levels to provide guestroom accommodation.
The new annexe to the south of the wharf was developed in association with Tonkin Zulaika and while respecting the original building grid and height, it is obviously detailed as new construction so as to maintain interpretation of the original wharf structure