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Paul Gallie

Paul Gallie on developing collaborative architecture

By Paul Gallie

Managing Director - PMG Architecture

Paul Gallie first stepped on the architectural ladder 23 years ago when he began his career working for his father who is a Structural Engineer. Many years of experience in architectural practices and developers followed, laying the foundations for Paul to start his own company, PMG Architecture, three years ago.

With a collaborative approach to design, combining creativity with practicality and technical expertise, Paul and his team deliver a full range of professional architectural and project management services to private, commercial, and developer clients from concept to completion.

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What's your architectural design process? 

It starts with the concept design. For commercial clients I focus on making it commercially viable, advising on maximising square footage, and ensuring a scheme’s deliverability. 

For private clients, such as building someone’s dream house, I take a very design-focused and creative approach to the project. 
It's always the flow and design of a project which can make or break it. How it aesthetically appears is almost like a wrapper you put around the project near the end – it's got to function as a design first before you can then give it a style.  

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In such a creative profession, do you have a method for energising your ideas?

For me, it’s always a case of working closely with our clients – understanding what is it that they like, because I’m not going to live there, it’s a bespoke tailored service for them. As consultants, we have to listen to the client, understand what their drivers are for the project, and deliver upon those rather than imposing our designs upon them.
How are the parameters for architecture changing at the moment? 
One of the biggest recent changes to happen to the industry is the new Building Safety Act, which came in on the first of October.
I think everyone in the industry is still trying to get their head around what it actually means and how we are going to deal with it as an industry, but I hope it’s a step in the right direction towards better regulation and accountability throughout the construction process.  

How have evolutions in technology affected your design process?

COVID has really changed how we now interact with our clients throughout the design process – for design changes with clients, we now have Zoom calls. We fully design every scheme as an interactive 3D model which we’re able to show clients on the screen, I can spin the model around, and draw live. It’s been a really great way to collaborate with clients, help them develop the scheme with us, and make them feel part of the design process.  

We invest a lot of time into our design process. Everything we design is designed to be built so a lot of the decisions and conversations that other practices have post-planning we have from day one, so when it comes to getting a planning consent we move straight forward with the technical process – it’s a more fluid process.   

"What we have here in Europe is special and it's a joy to be part of that continued development of our built environment."

Are there any emerging design trends in terms of the style of buildings?

I think interiors move forward faster than architecture. There are always new trends with interiors because it’s more fluid and less reliant on obtaining planning consents. There are fewer stakeholders involved in getting those changes over the line. 

We do a lot of modern interiors and designs, and modern flows to the property. But many of our clients prefer the traditional, external appearance because it’s timeless. We do a lot of bespoke joinery which still looks great and hasn’t dated 10 years later.  

What’s your take on sustainability in the industry?

The new building regulations came in this year, which is a huge step forward for the industry. For new builds, we’re now looking at ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) to meet those high energy standards.  
There has always been a pushback from the industry against innovation, and that stems from the banks and the idea that if it’s not traditional, then fewer mortgage lenders will be interested.
But I think now, there’s a big push forward. Local Authorities are embracing and adopting modern methods of construction, so the banks can’t afford not to be open-minded about it anymore. 
I think we’re about to see a big leap forward in sustainability and innovation in the industry because it doesn’t make sense to build traditionally anymore with new regulations; it’s too onerous and it’s going to be expensive, so I think we have to look beyond that now.  

"As designers, we have to listen to client and understand what their drivers are for the project."

Paul Gallie - Managing Director, PMG Architecture

If you could work on any project, what would it be?

I’d like to work on a high-rise. I’d like to tackle the new challenges, rules, and regulations around a project like that. It would be an interesting project to work on but being based outside of London, most of what we end up working on is low-rise and under 11 metres. 

Are there places that you draw inspiration from?

I went to America earlier in the year and it gave me a real appreciation for Europe and what we have here in the UK. We have we have such a rich history and culture, streets that you just can’t replicate in terms of their character and history.
We went to Lisbon in the summer, and I thought it was a fantastic place; the old town and how the streets have developed over the years because of various milestones that have happened throughout history is something that can’t be recreated. 
What we have here in Europe is special and it’s a joy to be part of that continued development of our built environment.  

Paul Gallie outside Old Bond Store