A conversation with Tristan Wong from SJB

Across the city, Pace and SJB have left their unique mark on the rich tapestry that is Melbourne architecture. SJB's Design Director, Tristan Wong, recently spoke to us about how the partnership between SJB and Pace is one of the strongest in the industry.

As one of the design community’s leading architects, Tristan Wong brings a distinctive vision and sense of place to each project he crafts. Tristan discussed his creative process with us, the partnership between SJB and Pace, and what he envisions with each Pace design.

“One of the most enjoyable aspects of designing projects for Pace is the open-mindedness and innovation that Pace encourages,” said Tristan.

“From a purely ‘design’, aesthetic and architectural point of view, they wholeheartedly encourage our aspirations and ideas.”

"There’s a real interest from Pace in creating buildings with a story – which is what we like to do – buildings that are intimately connected to their context. "

“There’s also a kind of joy and intrigue that we like to build into the architecture of our designs, which further layers the building with individuality and the Pace spirit.”

After SJB receives a project from Pace, they implement a three-step process designed to deconstruct the brief and streamline the project’s creative production:

1.    Adhere to contextually responsible design to ensure projects remain grounded in a specific area.

2.    Evaluate what the end-user will gain from the site.

3.    Determine how this will be achieved sustainably.

When it comes to inspiration cues, Tristan is quick to say that for him and the SJB team, creative prompts are most frequently drawn from the postcode in which the building will reside.

“For Pace 3058, we infused the design with a series of archways around the base of the building. These were inspired by the many arched, bluestone openings throughout the old Pentridge Prison walls. This language has become a distinctive part of the Pace 3058 design,” said Tristan.

This inspiration has evolved to incorporate numerous sustainable initiatives within the projects that Tristan is involved in.

“Promoting walkability within the structure to encourage individuals to use the stairs instead of the lift is a big one. As is sustainable material use and consideration of the thermal mass of the building,” explains Tristan.

This embrace of innovation and willingness to push creative boundaries has produced impeccable results. Results that Tristan states are reflective of the mutual respect for smart design and the creation of buildings that age gracefully.

Buildings like Pace of Abbotsford, 51 Langridge, and 181 Fitzroy Street each embody a distinctive mix of contemporary and classic architecture. This attention to detail has directly led to each development being awarded the prestigious Master Builders awards.

“SJB and Pace understand the importance of design for our cities to accommodate the growing population, the importance of buildings that will accommodate a variety of social and cultural backgrounds, and the need to densify more sustainably and become part of the fabric of the city,” said Tristan.

For our upcoming Fitzroy project, Tristan and his team are hard at work creating a structure that pays homage to the industrial character of the area. All the while enhancing the eclectic charm that has become unique to the inner-city suburb.

As for what the future holds for both Tristan and SJB, he is infectiously optimistic about the road ahead. With the challenges of the pandemic and supply chain disruptions easing gradually, both he and his team feel that for the first time in a while they can let their creativity unobtrusively flow.

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