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Siglo Restaurant and Bar, Melbourne

Sited above an existing restaurant and lounge at the top end of town, the Siglo bar and terrace reveals one of Melbourne’s best vistas. Immediate neighbour to the Princess Theatre, the site overlooks Spring Street, Parliament House and its gardens – all factors the client could not ignore when considering the additional venue on the site.

While providing such advantages the site also held constraints through both planning and construction – the building was set back from the street frontage, designed to sit quietly in its surrounds. When emerging from the entry staircase, the glass and steel pavilion theatrically frames the iconic “Benjamin Fuller” mural along the side of the Princess Theatre before leading patrons toward the checkerboard tiled terrace and the sought after view.

The tartan pattern of the steel allows a completely permeable building, with most glazed panels part of an operable louvered system – the green and grey glasshouse capable of coping with Melbourne’s unpredictable weather with ease, while achieving an equally free-flowing aesthetic. Varying shades of glass were utilized to enhance the texture of the tartan pattern, the green not dissimilar to the countless wine bottles housed below.

The construction of the open plan terrace provided many complexities now concealed – the existing site consisted of two unevenly pitched roofs with a great deal of mechanical equipment (kitchen exhausts, air-conditioning plant etc) which needed to remain operational for the venues below. In addition, the client requested the outdoor area be fully heated without interruption of the space and for the capability to efficiently clean away all outdoor debris. The solutions included staged demolition to allow relocation of equipment, a network of gas pipes below the tiling to allowing portable gas heaters to be “plugged in” or removed as the occasion required, and a removable tiled deck to allow the services tray beneath to be washed free of cigarettes, rubbish and leaves. The erection of the pavilion also provided its own difficulties – the prefabricated steel frames required craning into the site, a task only able to be completed in the least busy hours of a major city street.

The small lantern-like structure that rests lightly above Spring Street occupies its space respectfully and in doing so Siglo exudes a timeless quality, a luxurious and relaxed setting to enjoy a wine with the view.