Once housing the Sydney Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage, the Primus Hotel now features 172 rooms, a rooftop pool and bar, restaurant, and meeting and business facilities. As part of the conservation management plan, we were required to restore, and in some cases re-create, many of the building’s original features, like the grand 8-metre high scagliola marble columns and panelled skylight in the lobby. This presented unique challenges finding materials that are no longer available.
The heritage columns, for example, were made of pink marbled scagliola which needed to be restored. In the building’s former life the giant foyer was split into two storeys with a slab cutting through the marble columns, and this missing scagliola had to be replaced.
Employing a master craftsman from Italy, the process involved performing colour studies, using different oxides to achieve the incredible pink/red colour. WIth the original colour requiring now-illegal mercury, innovative solutions had to be found. Slabs of different-coloured stucco were cut and mixed by hand, which created large slabs of imitation marble. These slabs were then thrown up against the columns.
The stunning end result was recognised with the following awards since completion:
- Luxury Heritage Hotel, Australia 2018
- Luxury Heritage Hotel, Australia 2017
- Luxury New Hotel, Australia 2017
- Luxury Architecture Design Hotel, Australia 2017