Narrow laneways alive with boutique shops and packed cafes are now a major attraction in mature cities such as Melbourne. However, it hasn’t always been that way. Even today, fresh architectural moves, as with the renovation and activation of that city’s iconic T&G Building, unlock key connections to quintessential laneway culture.
The sensitive T&G Building makeover was undertaken by architectural firm Bates Smart and developed by international real estate advisor Pembroke. The project has dramatically reactivated the 1928 building – which was expanded on down the years – along with its 1993 Post Modern connected building on Collins Street. The latter had doubled the size of the original T&G floorplates to around 4000m² – massive floorplates then and now. The current project has opened up a rear, more relaxed connection through to Flinders Lane, one of the most famous reinvented service lanes in the Hoddle Grid that defines downtown Melbourne.
Between one entry and the other, the internal walkway now offers a rich visual experience and includes a transformative makeover of the central atrium, which was also introduced as part of the early 1990s addition. The light-filled atrium has been transformed from a seatless, gloomy through-space, into a place to linger, lunch or shop.
Above this, the expansive 4000m² office floors have been refreshed, including a significant services review and strengthening the interior architectural links between the 1920s and 1990s building. Plus, an end of journey bike facility has been added.
The reconsidered high-profile building has been embraced by the city and some big names in retail. Now 100 per cent leased, new brands to the fold including Google and co-working group Spaces, who join longer term tenants VMIA, Accenture and IOOF in the refreshed office floors. The most recent addition is Treasury Wine Estates, a global wine company which has taken two levels.