In addition to Richard’s business acumen, he was a talented designer who saw buildings in their planning context. The early part of his career saw him designing several community/local government buildings and office buildings. He illustrated his ideas with simple sketch perspective drawings which confidently displayed the design intent. In some ways it is a shame he did not design more buildings personally. However, he set the direction for very many buildings and oversaw their design inception. His professional legacy was to set the organisational conditions for others to shine. The successive managing directors – Rick McEwen of the Sydney office and now Ray Brown of the Australian group – continued this ethos. Now the catchphrase of our brand is Explore, Collaborate, Create – words that encapsulate how we have always approached our work.
In 2000 Richard, with Ross Styles, was instrumental in our foray into China. Over a period of 15 years innovative city master plans were created, massive civic and cultural complexes constructed (e.g., Maanshan City Centre including government buildings, an opera house and library – and a wide array of high-density living projects were designed and delivered such as the multiple award-winning Xiang He Lakeside with 2000 dwellings). Many of these were at a scale unheard of in Australia at the time and benefitted from the built form quality and amenity that we take for granted.
Richard is remembered as a private, quiet, firm, determined, principled and visionary architect interested in the design quality of objects, buildings and cities. An architect needs to be a good businessman and Richard showed how – he was an entrepreneur. He set the conditions for many people to grow and prosper, had a generous spirit, was a voice of balance and reason, pragmatic and always sought a high level of professionalism.
By Michael Harrison, Ross Styles and Ray Brown (business partners of Richard Travis at Architectus)