Hard to believe that 12 years ago today John and I set up JAMstudio Ltd! In the main it has been very enjoyable; like all businesses we’ve had our good and bad moments, but we’ve learnt a great deal in the process, completed many fantastic projects and even won a few awards - much credit to the hardworking team here.
Moving to Aberdeenshire 12 years ago, to live in a static caravan whilst we converted our then derelict steading and start the practice together taught us a good deal of resilience, which has come in handy since.
The business of architecture is not an easy one to to be in, as I am sure my other architect pals would agree, but it’s in my blood, and after honing my craft for more years than I care to admit (can it really be more than half my entire lifetime?!) it still makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck when we are pitching for a job.
I still love to create the initial doodles for all our jobs, and enjoy working with our staff as much as I’ve ever done. Teaching others how to avoid some of the potholes of a profession that seems to be riddled with them, has been an enjoyable experience, tinged with tears of happiness on many occasions, plus it has given us a great deal of satisfaction (we’ve inflicted two more fully qualified architects on the world and have another 3 in progress).
Yes its not all been perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and there have been tears of frustration (working within a Planning framework that is not fit for purpose can break the hardiest of souls) and occasional moment of sadness, like when we lost our first JAMmie Donna due to relocating the office into Aberdeen, and tears again, when it became obvious Alexa was ready to fly the nest and try her hand in London (as we have encouraged all the JAMmies to do at some point in their careers). The currently tricky economic conditions in Aberdeen are leading us in interesting new directions, but we’ve learnt to be adaptable as a practice, and not to fear change.
Has it been worth it? The stats speak for themselves, a good few £M in fees earned, and over £100M of construction projects worked on, ranging from sleek house extensions, a multi award winning mill conversion that keeps my parents safe and warm, derelict steadings brought back into use, Listed buildings refurbished and adapted, offices re-planned and face-lifted, an award winning Distillery project completed, hotels re-imagined and numerous individually crafted carefully considered one off homes completed, perfectly designed for their enormously varied and always interesting owners.
Team JAM have moved office twice, we’ve charmed many a client with our wonderful office dog, learned to surf, been skiing together, visited architectural icons in London and Germany, and somehow through it all, John and I have managed to remain married and still talking. So on balance I’d say it’s definitely been worth it! John and I will raise a glass tonight to the next dozen years, and to those of you have been part of this fascinating journey so far, you have our sincere thanks.