Profile Series – Q&A with Pembroke Real Estate Gordon Hatton
20 September 2017
1. What is your position and role in the refurbishment of the T&G Building?
My role involves overseeing the development of the T&G Building. At Pembroke, we draw from our global resources to create teams that bring a variety of experience and viewpoints to the project. I have had a regular presence in Melbourne throughout the planning and design stages and continue to monitor the construction works periodically in person, and weekly via conference calls and other correspondence.
2. How does the T&G Building compare to other projects you’ve worked on?
This is my first project in Australia. I have delivered all of Pembroke’s development assets in Japan, so I bring my familiarity with our process and expectations while at the same time, have a fresh view on the local context and industry standards.
3. What makes the T&G Building a significant project to you?
The T&G Building speaks volumes about the urban character of Melbourne, capturing multiple periods of heritage, while setting a standard for the vibrant urban lifestyle Melbourne is known for. It is positioned to be a landmark as well as a thoroughfare within the greater pedestrian network of city spaces.
4. What makes this a significant project for Pembroke Real Estate?
Every building in our portfolio is a crafted response to the unique opportunities and challenges of the context, the market, and the community. Our mandate is to embellish the inherent qualities of this heritage landmark, layering on next-generation adaptations to ensure the building continues to offer not only an exceptional workplace but continues the legacy and makes a meaningful contribution to the quality of urban life in this prestigious neighbourhood of the CBD.
5. What has been the most challenging element of this project?
Refurbishment projects require great discipline and creative vision compared with new buildings. Every design idea needs to be vetted within the context of the existing conditions, including respecting the integrity of the heritage of the building or managing the logistical constraints of an existing structure. It also requires a firm passion to create something new and vital to its future users’ needs and aspirations.
6. What is your favourite feature of the T&G Building?
It was a simple idea; relocate the vehicle garage entry to Russell Street to open up a clear circulation path and give the property two distinct entrances. Technically it was anything but simple, and the design and construction team have done a brilliant job in understanding the complexities of the existing building fabric, conceiving strategic structural interventions to transfer loads, satisfy compliance issues and re-route infrastructure in order to open up the dynamic interconnected spaces we are trying to create. This linking of the prestige of Collins Street on one side and the tactility of Flinders Lane on the other gives the project its energy in my opinion.
7. What are you most looking forward to seeing upon completion, in terms of final building features?
You know the design is successful when you find that end-users have discovered ways to be productive, to inhabit the space and to bring it to life as an extension of the city that exceed your expectations and validates your aspirations.