Pat Hanson is a founding partner of gh3, a practice based on a new paradigm that explores the overlap of architecture, landscape and sustainability.
Hanson has deliberately staked out a broad practice in the belief that design encompasses the entire spectrum of the built environment. During 30 years of practice, Pat has contributed design leadership to the firms at which she was a partner.
Under Pat’s leadership gh3 has steadily grown in capacity since its inception, winning multiple awards from its peers. The ability to mentor and direct the work of a young, enthusiastic and deeply talented staff has been key to Pat’s accomplishments.
Pat has lectured on the work of the firms she has been partner at throughout North America and Europe. She maintains a strong commitment to architectural education and has served as an adjunct studio professor at the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo since 1991. Pat is presently a member of the Waterfront Design Review Panel.
Balance – How do you strike a balance between life/work?
I have never managed a good balance - my children are older now and seem to have forgiven me.
Evolution – How do you see the profession evolving?
Much the same as what is happening to service professions in North America if not globally - consolidation into corporate superstructures that dominate markets and eliminate competition - however the general public appears to have more interest in the design of our built environment - so for those of us that architecture is a vocation and if we keep plugging along perhaps small and mid-sized office will prevail.
Advice- Share a memorable piece of advice you have received from a mentor or a friend (please say who)?
Two memorable pieces The first - Indirectly Bruce Kuwabara - when asked by my then husband his opinion on whether I should change offices, Jack Diamonds to John van Nostrand’s, Bruce commented that you only have so many choices during your career and to choose carefully. I went on to make several more office changes after that one. Looking back I think he was right - life is short and good it’s to have a plan!
Second piece - When I was planning to start a new office late in my career and expressed my reservations about my ability to build a new practice my colleague Walter Bettio reassured me and said focus on your strengths focus on design.
Trajectory – In your career path, what critical steps helped you to achieve your current position?
When Diana Gerrard and I started gh3 we did so with the underlying ambition of producing really good work. Work that was smart and serviced the client but did not compromise. We would work hard and do as many hours as we needed to make sure that the work was always the best it could possibly be. I sort of joke that it’s not a very good business model, but it really is the foundation of how we see things in the office. Do the very best work that we can and strive for excellence.