Meet Gary Colleran, a Director in our London office
Gary recently shared his insights on ‘Urban Rooms and Sketching’ as part of our Design Talks series.
Eloquent and thoughtful, Gary has a way with words. Yet, his sketches often do the talking for him. A tension between past, present and future is at the crux of his studies – they bring a different perspective to progressive solutions and ways of thinking.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that reinvigorating cities by nurturing this balance between existing context and innovative, community-centric design is of particular interest to Gary.
He considers each project as part of the urban fabric that shelters and fuels its community, and vice versa. His sketches, which are the product of his patient observations of living, breathing cities and precincts, bring this intrinsic humanity and relationship to the fore.
'Urban Rooms and Sketching' - Design Talks series
Summarising over 25 years of architectural practice, teaching, and sketching, with a core theme of cities.
This is a talk that Gary has prepared and presented to Architecture students at Manchester University, and more recently shared with the global TURNER team.
Understanding cities, creating buildings and interventions within them, or recording them through sketching. All endeavours are symbiotic and form part of a cyclical process.
Having taught at universities in several locations, from Manchester to Melbourne, Gary has a rich experience of knowledge-sharing and storytelling. A core discussion of his teaching has been on the origin of cities, and the lesson that whilst very few urban design principles are necessarily new, there are always modern interpretations or implementation methods.
Equally, the concept of urban design as the establishment of ‘urban rooms’, external spaces with definable boundaries but limitless scale.
More recently, art and sketching have become prominent in Gary’s thoughts and endeavours. ‘To sit in a space, to observe and record it, gives not only the opportunity to understand, but to tell a story about each place,’ he says.
We are often tasked with conveying ideas in an engaging and inclusive manner, to which sketching is an excellent response. Gary combines this creative representation with the historical and contextual approach of teaching, to inform his practice.
Our recent project ‘Sanctuary’, in Sydney’s Wentworth Point, is an example of Gary’s philosophy put into practice – designing a large project as part of a cohesive masterplan, between the London and Sydney team. Regular sketching of ideas helped transform the design and assisted in creating a clear communication channel between the team.
Much like Urban Rooms, the aspirations for each space, with a variety of scale but definable boundaries, all came with an accompanying sketch and historical or contextual narrative.