Formed in 2009 at the height of the global recession and the biggest slump in the construction industry for generations. Many would say it was crazy to start an architecture practice with this backdrop. However start it I did and 10 years later Studio J is still going strong.
In the early days it was hard to look past a few weeks not knowing when or if any projects would come in, but thankfully they did. The first one to be completed being a small kitchen extension and remodelling of the living space to a semi detached house in Leeds. Not a ground breaking design or glamorous project but it was a start and proof that there was a part of the construction industry still afloat in the recession.
The first big step was moving out of the living room of my home and into an office in the heart of Leeds’ city centre. The office, on Park Place, gave Studio J more space to work in and provide a better, more professional service to clients.
During the 2 years at Park Place the number of projects steadily increased and became more varied. Concentrating primarily within the private residential market, we undertook many extensions & renovations to people’s homes. During this period we also got our first commission for a new build commercial project. This was for 5 houses & a retail unit within Ackworth.
The next significant move came in January 2012 when Studio J moved to Duke Studios, first at Munro House and later to our current home on Sheaf Street. The unique and creative environment is a great place to work and socialise.
Possibly the biggest decisions I’ve had to make over recent years is employing people to help me. Getting people who share your vision and work ethic is one of the hardest thing for any employer. I have been lucky to have had a couple of great assistants who each worked for a year during their studies. In 2018 due to increasing workload I required a fully qualified Architect who could take on all aspects of projects and Richard joined the Studio J. There are plans for a third person for out team in 2020.
Over the years Studio J has worked with many fantastic clients on some really interesting projects. I love the variety I get to work on. From modest, small scale, single storey extensions to large extension, full building remodelling, unique and unusual properties along with one off new builds and small developments. Locations vary from small city centre sites, domestic sub-urban, to barn conversions in the countryside.
We’ve worked on almost 400 projects and no two are the same.
So what has been learnt in 10 years? Lots! Far too much to list here. The main thing is that I still love what I do. I get a real sense of satisfaction creating designs, solving problems and then seeing the projects completed and the positive changes it makes to people’s lives. I look froward to another 10 years and more with Studio J.
Managing Director of Studio J Architects