Chic Brutality: Exploring the Calile Hotel's urban oasis

The Calile Hotel is an urban resort which balances a quietly brutal aesthetic with humour and charm.

The 175-room hotel is the most significant of the built work produced by Richards and Spence in the James Street Precinct, an open-air street based development 2.5 km from Brisbane’ CBD.


Over the last decade, the practice has been involved in a series of individual projects which establishes a new local streetscape identity as the setting for a curated open-air retail and hospitality precinct.

Referencing an existing scale, double height brick arches perform a civic role at ground level, cloistering shoppers and framing retail identities. Like its neighbours – The Calile Hotel is predominantly white brick, stone & expressed concrete and the journey from lobby to pool cabana is a continuous outdoor experience.

Taking best advantage of the Queensland weather, a podium level pool terrace transports guests to holiday mode. Hidden from the street, the pool terrace is an otherworldly experience of fluttering palm trees and striped canvas umbrellas flanking a spacious swimming pool. Conceived as elevated streets, hotel corridors continue the outdoor experience naturally ventilated with ceiling fans via customised breeze block screens. Significant planting extends across the project, a verdant overlay linking streets to rooms.

Hotel room balconies contemplate the pool below and allow for natural breezes. A subtle transition from travertine, cork is introduced internally as an acoustic surface that is soft underfoot. Overlaid with stone and solid timber, the rooms speak to a long-term ambition for the project, a timeless aesthetic requiring minimal maintenance. The Calile Hotel is a new destination for a quiet capital city, demonstrating both civic ambition and a dignified setting for hot weather civility.

Images by Sean Fennessy via ArchDaily

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