It’s 10 years since I set up JGA as a full-service, chartered architectural practice. With new build dwellings, listed building upgrades, residential development, commercial office fitouts, and retail projects, it’s been a decade of growth, high service levels and team building. But, this year feels like the start.
A conversation on a ski lift took me from the Alpine mountain slopes to setting up JG Architecture from my house back in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history.
When I was young, I never thought of myself as being particularly entrepreneurial, but I did have passion, ambition, and the drive to succeed in a career. This has certainly helped to get the business up and running, and it’s certainly been a journey over the past 10 years from moving into offices at L’Islet and now at the Cobo Business Centre.
We thoroughly enjoyed converting our current office space from an industrial storage unit, and we were proud to win a Guernsey Design Award for the project in 2022. With plenty of parking for staff and clients, surrounded by green fields and Cobo beach on the doorstep, it is an ideal location.
It’s a great example of how a working environment can have a positive impact on recruitment. We have grown from myself to 10 staff, and will be looking to expand as we enter our next decade.
With JGA being a recognised chartered practice under the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technicians (CIAT) I had the opportunity to become chairman of the Channel Island region in 2020. This role involves represention of all local Architectural Technologists, promoting CIAT and encouraging new members to the institute.
One of the pleasures of growing a business is seeing the personal development of the team. Miles Pengelley (MCIAT) has played a leading role in staff training and development, with half of the JGA staff on their way to becoming chartered. I believe this sends a strong message of the importance of best practice in our industry. Like houses, it is the foundation on which all good businesses should be built.
When collaborating with clients and service providers it’s essential that we deliver great customer service, and that can only happen when we listen to their exact needs and are able to communicate innovative solutions.
Our motto is ‘design for the future’ and sustainability is key for any new project. With growing concerns over climate change and the finite nature of these resources, there is increasing pressure on architects and construction firms to reduce their environmental impact.
We are great believers in sustainability from the outset of design, such as building orientation, passive solar gain and considering renewable technologies such as air source or solar pv systems, to name a few. Recycling materials where possible, and promoting active travel, are becoming consistent design considerations in an attempt to reduce our carbon footprint.
Technology development has changed since the start of JGA, with our design software changing to ensure our clients always receive high quality visuals. It’s wonderful to see fully modelled designs brought to life through rendering and video visuals. From the days of the drawing board, it is very enjoyable to show clients how their project will look before works start on site.
For our anniversary we are undertaking several initiatives, including designing the Island Games water feature for the opening ceremony, launching #JustGetActive which is a challenge-based charity event in September (watch this space), and we’re looking forward to a party to celebrate all the hard work the team has invested in the business.
Although the business is 10 years old it does feel like the start of something – the beginning of an exciting new era. Our role is to solve our clients’ problems with creative ideas, and with our fantastic team we have big plans for the next 10 years.
Here’s to our 20th anniversary!