Quickfire Questions with Jonathan Jones
When did you join Austin-Smith:Lord?
June 2015 (although I’ve been around since 2012 really if you count my post-Part 1 year!)
What is your role within our Creative Collective?
Architect, as well as the South’s ‘BIM Champion’ and IT Coordinator.
What are you working on at the moment?
Primarily several education projects covering multiple levels of education:
- Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, a Welsh Medium Primary School in Trevethin, which is nearing completion. A beautiful site, with stunning views of the Gwent valleys.
- Maendy Primary School, our first Passivhaus Primary School, to be built in Cwmbran, which will feature incredible energy efficiencies and low-carbon construction.
- Extension to Block C for Coleg Y Cymoedd’s Ystrad Mynach Campus, which will provide additional decorating bays for their existing offering
- Sports Centre of Excellence for Coleg y Cymoedd, a new sports and teaching block enhancing their Nantgarw campus.
What inspires you most in your work?
Finding elegant solutions to the needs of clients, in order to produce buildings that not only exude quality, but provide spaces that are perfectly suited to the activities within.
What aspects of your work are you most proud of?
Driving forward the use of emergent technology, and pushing the use of parametric design through Revit across the practice. Whilst not specifically design related, I am immensely proud of the willingness of my colleagues to embrace tools like Revit and Twinmotion, which have enabled us to be not only more efficient in design, but democratize visualizing projects.
What designers / projects do you most admire and why?
Has to be Bjarke Ingels – the logical, step-by-step process by which they arrive at their designs is both fascinating and inspiring. Blending different typologies and breaking down conventional barriers through almost every project; who else would have thought to add an artificial ski slope to the roof of a waste-to-energy power plant?
What is your favourite place / building / landscape and why?
Whilst it’s a somewhat dark subject, I have to say The Jewish Museum, Berlin. I don’t think there’s a better example of architecture marrying the subject matter contained within as this. Symbolism is rife throughout, whether it be through inaccessible or invisible voids, or the undeniably poignant ‘Holocaust Tower’, the building is as much part of the exhibition as the collection itself. Every single space, light and finish feels as if it’s designed to specifically evoke something – and it does.
What fictional place would you like to visit?
The OASIS from Ready Player One – one of my favourite books, which became one of my favourite films. Being a massive self-confessed nerd, the virtual universe of pop-culture and gaming references has an undeniable draw for me. With the advent of an often mentioned ‘Metaverse’ we might not be far off that either, with some major Architecture practices already designing buildings for it…
What’s something you’re planning on doing in the next year that you’ve never done?
Wedding planning! Just over a year to go until the big day, so plenty to be done…
Complete the following – “I couldn’t get through the week without……..”
Music. It may be a cliché, but I need a soundtrack to my life. Anything fast, heavy, and loud to keep the energy up – in fact my favourite band are a metal band called Architects! Fun fact: they were actually once reported to the ARB for misuse of the title, by someone with clearly a bit too much time on their hands!