jbks architects
Jeremy Bell and Kelvin Sampson started JBKS Architects out of the productive pedigree of Maguire & Co where both were directors.

The speciality of the firm is in the design of Housing, Educational buildings, and Churches, which have a strong focus on user need. A user driven design approach is a method developed to integrate as fully as possible the feasibility of the building with a good well co-ordinated aesthetic result.

The firm has recently completed a beautiful circular Sport Pavilion for Radley College in Abingdon and a 600-seat new church for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth. Current projects include two new church buildings, several church reordering and extension projects and a handful of housing development schemes.

Practical needs and the meaning of space has been the basis of church re-ordering, releasing churches which were built when a strict interpretation of liturgical requirements were the norm. Churches in the 21st Century, which are growing, find themselves straight jacketed by hierarchical spatial awareness. By acknowledging the basic beauty of the buildings, radical change has been implemented to listed buildings with sufficient sensitivity to retain the splendour of the existing character. One example recently was the Grade I listed church by Sir George Gilbert Scott, in Buckingham.

Also recently complete is a new staff club for the University of Oxford. This £3.5 million building went through all the planning difficulties of building on Green Belt land. The university now has a single meeting place for all its staff, outside college life. In the planning for at least 10 years the University has at last an elegant curvaceous pavilion like building overlooking a playing field where both body and brain can enjoy a break from lecture room and laboratory.

Good architecture is not just a bright idea. It arises out of the application of rigour in the analysis of function, the constraints of the environment the site, planning policy, and budget. Out of the hard work of getting to the root of problems and possibilities comes the flair, the inspiration, to pack all the needs into a beautiful building where light, spatial interest, integration with the landscape come together to make the ‘wow’ factor.

This discipline, worked into the design of enormous university buildings, both in the UK and the Middle East down to creative house conversions, has led to a string of lovely buildings in the stable of Maguire & Co, and now as JBKS Architects.