London is a city world-renowned for its architecture; from old to new, traditional to contemporary, art deco to gothic, and many styles in between—there are hundreds of great buildings in the capital.
This week’s fascinating guest, Lee Hallman, is currently Head of Design at Qatari Diar Europe, based in the heart of Mayfair.
Previously Head of Design at Candy & Candy and Senior Partner at Foster & Partners, Lee has played pivotal design roles in a wide array of London based projects, which recently include the 13 acre Chelsea Barrack development in Belgravia, plus the transformation of the former US Embassy on Grosvenor Square into a five star Rosewood Hotel. Lee is also involved with the expansion of the former 2012 Olympic Village into a new residential quarter and the development of Southbank Place opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Thames.
Building development and architecture never sits still in London, and Lee is at the forefront of how our beautiful city will feel and look for generations to come
“California virtually didn’t exist on written form, on map form at the same time as this building.”
Lee is very much clued into the overlap of architectural design and human psychology, as considering what spaces feel like and how they affect people is crucial to the success of a development plan. He works with designers that help create textures and emotions in spaces that hone in on certain feelings while he admits that not every architect is overly concerned with the human psychological component. In one of his designs Lee wanted people in two towers to have to pass and interact with people that were in totally different buildings, so the design combined the shared spaces for over 500 apartments at a middle roof terrace level.
Lee’s favorite part of the design process is the assemblage of something new and combing the stories and histories of the buildings carried on as they are redesigned so they can be referenced for the generations to come.
“The structural engineer for the US Embassy project—he said the test of a good project is, at the end of it, if you want to show it to your grandchildren.”
Lee finds that London is able to have its wonderful complexity due to constraints – constraints of having to tie in the history of older buildings and having certain areas well considered into zones that help distinguish areas. This allows a rich tapestry of architecture and master planning to be laid out. Lee knows that design affects people not just in the moment of passing by a building, but in the day to day interactions with it as well.
You can take in both London and Lee’s legacy by simply walking around London – or even think about moving to East Village he helped design with its wonderful Olympic heritage. You can reach out to Lee through QatariDiar.com