Nishi Hotel Cinema Retail

Canberra, Australia (Completed 2013)

Nishi Hotel Cinema Retail is a four-storey sliver within the larger environmentally thoughtful, pineapple shaped structure on the western end of NewActon.1

The building includes Hotel Hotel, which welcomes people via a sprawling ground floor of public lounges, Monster kitchen and bar and Roji hair salon.2 Above the public spaces of Hotel Hotel sit two floors of hotel rooms.

Palace Electric Cinema3 is an 800-seat, eight-screen digital cinema with a lounge, box office and bar. The building’s staircase is a geometric explosion of more than 2,250 beams of timbers salvaged from the Nishi4 building site itself, a basketball court and a house. The stair was designed in creative collaboration between the Molonglo Group, March Studio and Oculus and built by artisan carpenters over five months.

Nishi Hotel Cinema Retail has earned the support of our peers.5

We love pictures and story telling. With them we create visual essays of the landscape, our projects and curiosities.

Nishi Hotel Cinema Retail is a four-storey sliver within the larger environmentally thoughtful, pineapple shaped structure on the western end of NewActon.1

The building includes Hotel Hotel, which welcomes people via a sprawling ground floor of public lounges, Monster kitchen and bar and Roji hair salon.2 Above the public spaces of Hotel Hotel sit two floors of hotel rooms.

Palace Electric Cinema3 is an 800-seat, eight-screen digital cinema with a lounge, box office and bar.

The building’s staircase is a geometric explosion of 2,250 beams of timbers salvaged from the Nishi4 building site itself, a basketball court and a house. The stair was designed in creative collaboration between the Molonglo Group, March Studio and Oculus and built by artisan carpenters over five months.

Nishi Hotel Cinema Retail has earned the support of our peers.5

We love pictures and story telling. With them we create visual essays of the landscape, our projects and curiosities.

Project NameNishi Hotel Cinema Retail
Project TypeMixed use
Design TeamMolonglo Group, March Studio, Oculus, Fender Katsalidis Architects, Suppose Design Office and Arup, Clear Design, Round, Design Office, Don Cameron, Ken Neale and UP
Size68 hotel rooms, 800 seat-eight-screen cinema and 1,300 m2 of retail and hospitality space
StatusCompleted 2013

NewActon is a precinct on the edge of Canberra’s city centre that Molonglo Group is progressively restoring. It is built on the heritage grounds of Acton House, a late 1920s temporary housing facility for newly arrived employees of the capital. NewActon does at a precinct scale what the Burley Griffins attempted to achieve for the city: vegetable gardens deliver produce to the precinct restaurants; nature and architecture collide; and the architectural envelope folds into flora and art. The high-rise apartments (high but not too high) also feed into this ground level generously.

A roji (translated from the Japanese as “dewy path”) is a small garden that separates the teahouse (cha-shitsu) from the main house. A transitional zone between the outermost spaces of everyday life and the innermost sanctum of the sacred tea ceremony, the roji represents the first step in breaking communication with the outer world.
This pathway to the tea ceremony is the metaphor for the salon at Hotel Hotel public lounge.

A family business with 85 screens and 20 locations in Australia loyal to independent and art house film and monthly international film festivals including large French, Spanish and Italian festivals and smaller Greek and Israeli programs. Palace Electric Cinema are also friends and tenants in our Nishi Hotel Cinema Retail building in Canberra.

‘Nishi’ means ‘west’ in Japanese.It also relates to the last of three buildings built at the NewActon precinct: Nishi Commercial, Nishi Residential and Nishi Hotel Cinema Retail.

Awards are tricky. Do they mean everything or nothing? Are they laurels to be rested on or simply gestures of encouragement that say ‘keep going’? Who knows. But there’s nothing worse than someone who won’t accept a compliment. So we smile and say thank you for this recognition and to all our co-conspirators who made these awards possible for our many Molonglo Group projects. See them listed here.