In Memoriam: Col James

21 February 2013

On February 13 this year, renowned architect and activist Colin James AM passed away.

Known to many for both his contribution to the University and to homeless and Indigenous communities, Col was a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for how to create a more equitable and fair society. Col served as an academic in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning for over 30 years enthusing hundreds of students with his passion for architecture and equality.

Col constantly used his talent and knowledge to strive for social justice. He went beyond the bounds of his profession to impact on broader society and not just build places of where to live, but questioned how we should live. This activism drove Col, and his commitment to improving the lives of others is his enduring legacy.

During his life, Col was made a Member of the Order of Australia, a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects, received the University of Sydney Alumni Award for Community Service, a Life Member of Shelter, the Australian Housing Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award amongst many other honours. However, these awards were insignificant when compared to the impact he had in the local Redfern Community, community housing and his inspiring a generation of architects to consider the social impacts of their work inside and outside of architecture.

The Sydney Morning Herald has dedicated its obituary page on Monday 25 February 2013 to celebrating Col's life.

We are sure many of you remember Col fondly. Please take time in the coming days to commemorate in your own way a man who achieved so much for so many. It is expected a memorial will be announced in the coming weeks.