Three Sixty Architecture 5 The Muse
Creative DirectorDean Cowell
Design DirectorDean Cowell
Team MembersRobert Smart, Tom Norman, Caleb Vanderpyl, Daniella Pizey, Joel Cowell
ContributorKyla K Design
The Muse Hotel, formerly the Canterbury Building Society Building, designed in 1961 by Peter Bevan as one of his first commercial commissions, the building was half finished when Bevan set about redesigning the whole thing. The building stands as the last of Bevan’s commercial buildings left in the CBD. In 1961 the building made a statement above the skyline, and in 2021 the statement remains due to the reduction in buildings post-earthquake.
Our task was to turn this former office building into a boutique hotel, while respecting Bevan's original design intent, and working around significant structural remediation. The building was in part awarded a council grant for the restoration, on the condition that no strengthening work was visible from the exterior.
One of the heritage items that needed particular care was the seventh floor pergola. As well as repairing damaged areas in a like for like fashion, we had to sympathetically incorporate a glazed screen to act as balustrade - the original one being well below modern building compliance.
The project was originally nicknamed 'The Pink Lady' - a title that eventually became the name of the roof top bar. This came from a memory that one of the project team had of the building when she was growing up - the pre-quake, unloved old facade would glow a distinctive soft pink in the sunrise. This story struck a chord with the building owner, and everyone involved, so we hunted down a pink shade that matched the memory, which went on to become a theme throughout the fit out and exterior colour scheme. A custom coloured pink carpet through the corridors is the most overt iteration of this.
Another theme that drove materiality was the celebration of the original building fabric - being a 1960s office block, this was predominantly concrete. We exposed as much of the concrete as possible, elements of structure peeking through in the lobby and rooms, which contrasted beautifully with the soft pink and complementary colour scheme.
We collaborated closely with a local Christchurch artist to select many of the furniture and soft fitout elements. She coordinated a selection of artists who have created murals on each floor of the hotel. We also worked closely with the hospitality operator to ensure their requirements for a working bar and restaurant fitted into the heritage fabric and big picture of the building as a whole, giving the entire building a cohesive, unified feeling.