Have you ever stopped dead in your tracks along Melbourne’s CBD and looked straight up into the sky to appreciate the beautiful old buildings staring down at you? Ever taken one step further and wondered what these monolithic buildings look like from within?
Built in 1913 and originally the Georges Department Store, one such grande old dame of Melbourne on 162 Collins Street recently underwent a massive transformation when advertising agency, George Patterson Y & R engaged HASSELL to reconfigure the guts of the building to create a ‘studio’ environment within the huge 2,840sqm space on the third floor.
Playing on the building’s history, HASSELL and the George Patterson executives worked collaboratively to create a project that would become ‘part of the fabric of Melbourne’, so HASSELL set to work stripping the space back to its bare bones, restoring the heritage character and creating focal points out of the existing Victorian columns, glazed atrium roof and the incredibly high ceilings of up to six metres.
Presenting not only a unique design feature but also one of the project’s major challenges, the high ceilings proved difficult to heat, cool and light, while other obstacles included spreading a modest budget over a large floor area and designing within a space not originally intended to function as a corporate environment. Overcoming these issues meant working with the foundations of the building and adding elements that could stand free of the building’s fabric.
With this in mind, bookshelves were used to define work zones rather than walls, and furniture was arranged in an open plan design. The result is a flexible, light, airy space where staff feel welcome and comfortable as ‘there’s something inherently efficient and productive about being comfortable’, according to HASSELL Principal Architect, Scott Walker.
Light now flows through the entire building due to the absence of walls and other obstacles in its way, while beautiful yet minimal furniture and simple hanging greenery add to the space’s pleasant appeal.
A fascinating look into one of Melbourne’s many nameless buildings, HASSELL created a video on the transformation which can be viewed HERE.