Straight up and down

No-nonsense sleeping studios and a chic entrance cafe comprise Columbard, a slender addition to the inner-city skyline
Photography by: Kallan MacLeod
Compact studio accommodation in neutral colours with bed, countertop, home appliance, interior design, kitchen, room, brown
Compact studio accommodation in neutral colours with bed, microwave, stove top, fridge, tv, dvd, stereo equipment and cupboards.

Global trends point to a demand for short-stay, inner-city crash pads. Less roomy and less costly than a hotel or self-service apartment, they offer simple, downtown accommodation.

What you see is what you get' runs the marketing for the rentable, short-to-medium-stay sleeping studios that make up the slender, inner-city Columbard tower.

The concept behind the building's 144 sleeping studios, or crash pads, is economy of size and amenities in exchange for economy of price. The studios are intended for people who are busy during the day but need a convenient place to crash at night.

The 8m-wide, 18-floor Columbard was created by Malcolm Brown of Brown Day Architects, with the ground floor cafe, in place of a lobby, by Paul Brown of architectural firm Clark Brown.

Apartment corridor with bright pink walls, dark grey architecture, ceiling, interior design, room, red, black
Apartment corridor with bright pink walls, dark grey walls, and white bench seat under no. '16'.

"The entry cafe's raw, industrial-look interior sets the tone for the honest efficiency of the rooms above," says Paul Brown. "It was a tricky project in that services had to be carefully placed as they would form part of the cafe's decor."

From Malcolm Brown's perspective, the issue of scale was central to the project.

"The building maximises room numbers over a narrow footprint. Each studio offers every essential on a carefully thought out economy of scale," he says.

Columbard's interiors were by Ray Lind of Martin Hughes Architecture Interiors.

Cafe with exposed brick and concrete walls, exposed café, fast food restaurant, interior design, restaurant, gray, black
Cafe with exposed brick and concrete walls, exposed concrete ceiling with exposed building services, bright pink cupboards, green wall menus and white chairs and benches at tables, with tiled floor.

"Dramatic colour elements were introduced in the cafe and hallways, in lipstick pink on black. This goes against the trend for access areas finished in light, tranquil colours," says Lind. "Columbard's colours give off a vivid energy."

For the actual sleeping studios, Lind chose a quieter, harmonious finish.

"Finishes are based on natural linens, white on white, and greys on silvers. These tones sit well against the exposed elements of the actual concrete structure."

Jun 15, 2005

Credit list

Brown Day Architects (building), Clark Brown Architects (ground floor)
Interior design
Martin Hughes Architecture Interiors
Mechanical and electrical engineer
Hilite Electrical
Window/door joinery
Windows 2000
Main contractor
Wyndham Construction
Civil engineer
Buller George
Quantity surveyor
Rider Hunt
Façade and roof
Cushions and throw
Courtesy of Eon Design Centre
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