PROFILES - DESIGN PROFILE - APR 2009 - COLEMAN ARCHITECTS

Colman Architects takes pride in its commercial approach to producing cost-effective, elegant and profitable solutions, working closely with clients to provide developments with a contemporary edge. Here, RLI talks to Managing Director, Trevor Colman.

Established in 1988, Colman Architects undertook several key projects during its 20th Anniversary year, completely reconfiguring the Headrow Centre in Leeds for Propinvest, due for completion in July this year, and completing the redevelopment of the Kingsway Centre in Newport, South Wales, for UBS Global Asset Management.


The practice is due to complete The Mall in Blackburn in 2010 and has recently received planning permission for Phase 3, a major extension to the Elmsleigh Centre in Staines, having completed Phase 2, a complete reconfiguration of the interior, in 2008. Perhaps most significant given the current climate, Colman Architects is continuing its growth in China; having opened an office in Chengdu, it is also expanding into Shenzhen.

With further developments completed in Poland and of course at Diagonal Mar in Barcelona, for Quinlan Private, the practice is keen to stress is its confidence looking forward. “We have developed a practice that is very much a specialist in its field,” says Managing Director, Trevor Colman. “This specialism is something that we have adapted and exported overseas, applying our expertise to specific locations, providing cost-effective solutions that create real value.”


The practice will soon be entering Bratislava in Slovakia, using this as a gateway both to the Slovakian market itself, but also to Ukraine, which Colman anticipates will be one of the bigger markets of the future. He is also eager to work within the Baltic States.

“We have basically expanded into markets where we feel we can work with clients who really want to improve the performance of their existing assets or to create an asset which works really well, commercially,” explains Colman. “We are really not interested in simply producing ‘fluffy’ architecture – what we really want to do is create a fantastic commercial vehicle that works for the client, then we produce sharp contemporary architecture that complements that approach.”


At Diagonal Mar the practice carried out a complete strategic review of the Centre. This has not only resulted in the complete redesign of the interior finishes but also completely reviews and reorganises the vertical circulation within the centre. This allows the creation of more retail space, facilitating a complete review of the offer on each floor and establishing more focussed trading on each level. Further, as part of the masterplanning within the strategic review, Colman Architects has proposed ways in which it is possible to redevelop Diagonal Mar by providing 20-storey buildings over significant parts of the centre, without disrupting any of the retail below.

www.colmanarchitects.co.uk


For the full article, please see the April 2009 issue.







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