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East Midlands Practice Profile: Jackson-Crane Architecture

Each month, RIBA East Midlands highlights the work of a regional Chartered Practice. For May, we spoke to David Jackson-Crane, director and founder of Jackson-Crane Architecture, a small boutique architecture and interior design studio based in Ruddington, Nottingham. We asked David to tell us more about the practice and what inspires him.

27 April 2021

Jackson-Crane is a small boutique architecture and interior design studio based in Ruddington, Nottingham. Jackson-Crane was established in 2017 with an ambition to create beautiful, inspiring and sustainable buildings for private individuals and specialist developers.

"Good client relationships are central to both the philosophy and success of the practice. We believe that design is a reciprocal process between client and architect, so we listen carefully to help shape spaces that people want to live in. We take a holistic approach to each project and consider all aspects of the site, brief and budget to create buildings that exceed expectations.

"We love what we do; whether it is a modest living extension to an urban or country home or a sensitive and exciting re-working of a listed building. All projects are approached with the same care and commitment, regardless of size."

The practice is currently working on a range of exciting residential projects across the Midlands, Cambridgeshire and Lancashire.

Jackson-Crane Architecture team: from left, Amandine Viant, Head of Interiors | David Jackson-Crane, Architect & Director | Tom Copestake, Senior Architectural Technologist. Not included in the image, Tarnya Mitchell, Architectural Designer. ©Jackson-Crane

How do you incorporate environmental and social sustainability into your work?

"We take the responsibility of environmental and social sustainability extremely seriously and we believe it shouldn’t be something that is added at the end of a project and should be an integral part of the design process. As an RIBA chartered practice, we have signed up to RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge to try and meet net zero (or better) whole life carbon for our new and retrofitted buildings by 2030.

"As a practice and with the cooperation of some of our clients, we are calculating the operational energy and embodied carbon of our projects during the design phases and then continuing to monitor our projects in use, to ensure we are meeting the targets set out in the challenge. We are proud of the fact that many of our projects are meeting the targets already."

What do you think is the most important issue for architects to focus on right now, and what are you doing as a practice to tackle it?

"The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issues of our time. As a practice, we are committed to doing our bit to address the climate and biodiversity emergency.

"We always evaluate a client's brief for their projects against our aspiration to contribute to mitigating climate breakdown and, where possible, we encourage our clients to adopt this approach. Most of our projects have enhanced building performance within their specification along with renewable energy sources and we are finding more and more that clients are embracing this approach. We are members of the Association for Environment Conscious Building (AECB) and the Passivhaus Trust which prove to be valuable sources of information and support when we need it. We are hoping to become certified Passivhaus designers later in the year."

The Leys, Normanton on the Wolds ©Jackson-Crane. This project involves an extension and extensive alterations to an existing bungalow.

What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on and why?

"This is a difficult one to answer because we are working on a number of exciting projects at the moment. One that jumps out though is a Paragraph 79 House project in Longridge, Lancashire which has given us the chance to carry out a rigorous phase of site analysis and explorative concept design to explore the possibilities of a zero-carbon contemporary vernacular farmhouse. We are working with the RIBA's Places Matter design review panel which has helped improve the design and has pushed us to be more critical of everything that we do. This has been a very exciting project for the practice and we have been producing lots of physical site models and sketch maquettes exploring design options.

"The site is quite special with stunning views over the Forest of Bowland AONB with an ancient woodland and stream. We are really looking forward to hopefully receiving the support of the design review panel and taking the project onto site in 2022."

Paragraph 79 House, Longridge - concept sketch by Jackson-Crane

Where do you look for inspiration?

"We all have similar tastes in the studio when it comes to architecture and design which helps when we all collaborate on our projects. We like modernist and minimalist architecture and this influence does filter through into many of our projects but the inspiration for many of our projects also comes from the site and the local vernacular.

"We don’t try and enforce a ‘house’ style on our clients and every one of our projects is unique in some way. We love to be surrounded by books in the office and we take it in turns to add something to our growing library which often leads to new forms of inspiration. A quote that always resonated with us is from Sir Paul Smith when he says: 'You can find inspiration in everything… and if you can't, look again'."

What is your advice for future generations of architects?

"It is evident to us that the next generation of architects have the ambition, capability and drive to tackle the issues currently facing our world, society and our industry. Our advice for the future generations of architects would be to retain that unwavering passion for change when met with resistance and to be resilient in the face of adversity as if we don’t actively try and address the world’s problems, then who will?"

Millicent Road, West Bridgford, a small extension project in West Bridgford where the brief was for a contemporary and minimalist extension to a period property including interior design ©Jackson-Crane

Find out more about Jackson-Crane Architecture

Contact RIBA East Midlands if you would like your practice to be featured in the coming months.

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