1 JUNE 2021
I am Pretoria born-and-bred with an architectural degree from the University of Pretoria and a passion for business structures and market opportunities in the greater context of architectural possibilities. I enjoy managing the infrastructure and business side of architecture as it gives me the ability to support my team behind the scenes. I would describe myself as an extremely driven and focused businessman, always looking for opportunities to push the boundaries of possibilities in a way that is structured and fair for all involved.
2. What sets JK Designs’ work apart?
JK Designs always advocates for an emotive design approach that engages people in a focused way and strives to determine the specific need and use for space, both physically and relationally. We put so much energy into understanding and knowing our clients and their individual personalities and requirements, as this is what we believe makes good design truly exceptional. In a time where social distancing and virtual meetings are the norm, we work to put the humanity back into architecture. Our ability to constantly understand changing user perceptions and being able to present our designs in an accessible and captivating format is what keeps us ahead of the game.
3. What do you admire about architecture in South Africa?
Recent years have produced incredible talent in the architectural industry that is leading the way in adapting to our rapidly growing and changing urbanisation and way of life. South African architects are actively raising awareness and implementing energy and water consumption-reducing solutions in the construction industry. As a third world country, you would expect us to lack innovation and resources; on the contrary, we thrive by sourcing local and adapting to availability.
4. What would you say are the best innovations made in architecture in the last 5 years?
With inclusive design and 3D printing being in the running, current times makes it an easy win for adaptive environment design. Expo centres are being converted into field hospitals in a matter of days, guest bedrooms are converted to offices or classrooms, and the lounge becomes the new gym. As architects, we are a thoughtful and methodical bunch that adhere to deadlines like any profession; but it takes time to deliver outcomes that comply with regulations and ensure the safety of its occupants. Recent circumstances have not allowed us the luxury of time and this has resulted in innovative, adaptive designs being produced in record time.
5. Which one of your projects are you most proud of and why?
Definitely a home we did in The Hills Estate in Pretoria. The site had specific constraints due to a variety of factors and these needed to be solved in a sophisticated and innovative manner. The success of the project came down to the effective client-architect relationship and conducive communication throughout the project. The client was very involved in the project, and the effectiveness of this, along with the exceptional professional team, resulted
in the house resembling the original 3D artist’s impressions almost identically. The final spatial interaction and relationships of areas in the house, along with effectively capturing the views, all the while overcoming various physical constraints, was a great achievement. This sort of effective problem-solving in the context of design and construction obstacles is what makes me most proud.
6. As an architect, what’s one question you typically ask your clients before starting a project?
“What is important to you?” That is a simple question with a powerful and effective result that uncovers the client’s specific needs and desires which resonates with JK Designs’ aim to focus on the emotive user experience. With architecture, there are so many great possibilities, but at the end of the day, the client’s distinct desires and dreams need to be made a reality.
7. If you could give homeowners 2 pieces of advice about building their dream home, what would they be?
a. Do your research when selecting your professional team, especially your architect. Most architectural firms have websites, so take the time to confirm if they share the same vision as you. Successful projects are a result of an effective working relationship between you and your architect resulting in a project that meets your particular lifestyle and personality.
b. It is cheaper and faster to make changes on plan than it is on site. Building your dream home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make in your lifetime, so it’s worth taking the time to get it exactly right. We always ask our clients to communicate exactly what they want from a project so that we can deliver effectively. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself as the client – at the end of the day, you are the one who will be living in your house.
8. Describe JK Designs’ design style in 3 words?
Emotive, personal, and relevant.
9. What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the notion of pushing the boundaries of ‘normal’ to achieve the exceptional and the unique. I like going against the status quo. Being a respected specialist in your field is extremely fulfilling and is something that should be aspired to every single day. One of my biggest inspirations is Santiago Calatrava; this type of innovative thinking is what inspires me and drives me to do what I do.
10. My favourite space in my home is…
As a true South African, definitely my patio and braai area looking out onto my garden.
11. I’m best known for…
My precision and attention to detail.