Macq 01 Hotel – harnessing the architecture of its surroundings 

The timber is an important contextual cue to the working nature of the port

The expression “If these walls could talk…” could very well apply to the new Macq 01 Hotel located on Hobart’s waterfront. It is situated on a wharf imbued with history and tales of flames, bushranger hangings and the city’s convict past.

However, there is little about the outward appearance of this stylish contemporary 114-suite hotel to suggest its location’s dark past, although the interiors feature quirky images of the colourful characters who once eked out a living here.

On closer inspection, there are details introduced by architects Circa Morris Nunn that reflect the old pier’s robust, functional construction such as the visually-heavy timber framing of the building. In fact, the integration of this new hotel with its neighbouring heritage buildings has been held up by Hobart community groups as a leading example of how old and new can co-exist in this historic location.

As well as solving the challenge of seamlessly blending old and new visually, timber was selected as the preferred material for cladding and decking in order to deal with the weight-bearing limitations of the existing concrete wharf piles which previously only supported a single-storey shed. Timber cladding and decking around a steel frame was a lightweight solution which in no way compromised on quality and actually appeared more in-keeping with the historic waterfront location than other materials.

Lined in White Cypress, finished by hand with orbital sander

White Cypress with Responsible Wood accreditation was selected for its robust characteristics and ability to “grey-off” and age gracefully in a marine environment. Timber was also selected for the decking and for a large central vertical atrium that runs through the central space on each level of the hotel providing an opening for natural daylight from above. Externally and internally it is timber which defines the hotel’s character.

Circa Morris Nunn Director, Robert Morris Nunn explains the importance of specifying certified timber for this project by saying: “Circa Morris Nunn has a proud history of innovative timber use. As the value of timber as a sustainable construction material becomes more widely known it is important for us, as architects, to take responsibility and only specify certified timbers. This is particularly the case in Tasmania where forest practices are at the forefront of public consciousness. Public buildings or those commercial buildings with a public interface such as Macq01 are increasingly being constructed using timber and chain of custody is a critical component of this public awareness.”

By using timber from Hurford Wholesale, a timber mill certified by Responsible Wood, Circa Morris Nunn enjoyed the assurance that the timber was not only of optimum quality but was sourced from a forest exercising best practice in sustainability. This is verified by independent, ongoing and transparent checks against the two Australian forestry standards AS 4708 for sustainable practice and AS 4707 for chain of custody by Australia’s leading certification body, Responsible Wood.

Harnessing the architectural spirit of the surrounding old pier buildings, Macq01 is a shining example of how timber can be used to link old and new visually while recognising the critical importance of best practice in sustainable forestry. It pays tribute to the past without compromising our forests’ future.

Macq 01 has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 19th Australian Timber Design Awards hosted in Sydney on Tuesday the 16th of October 2018. Responsible Wood is the sponsor for the Australian Certified Timber Category.

For media enquiries please contact Jason Ross from Responsible Wood on (07) 3359 1758,

White Cypress was used in many sizes for the cladding of the skin, balconies and ground floor decking
Thick white cypress balconies were used to provide shading and privacy and help to break down the scale of the facade