Jackson Architects on passion for sustainable build

Green is the new black


Serena Templeton catches up with Jackson Architects Director and Principal Architect, Jason Jackson to discuss his passion for sustainable build

What approach to a project makes you different in the industry?

We specialise in medium to large domestic projects – anything that involves people living in buildings – whether it’s a new family home on the coast, a barn conversion in the Cotswolds or converting a listed Georgian office building back to its former glory as a beautiful town house.

My passion is a love of natural materials and the beauty of simplicity in everything we design.

I don’t believe in Architect’s fees being based upon a percentage of the build cost - we quote lump sum fees where possible. It seems anachronistic for Architects to benefit from project costs spiralling out of control and it’s certainly not in clients’ best interests.

You use a lot of green oak, especially for conversions, why is this?

Freshly cut oak, or green oak, is a fantastic material to design with. I’ve worked with it for over 20 years, and love the innate character given by its texture, colour and chunky details. Being sourced from managed forests, the oak is effectively carbon neutral and extremely durable.

The oak frame forms a structural language for many projects, with beams and beautifully vaulted ceilings giving clarity and legibility to how the building works. Despite using traditional craftsmanship techniques that haven’t changed for centuries, it works so well with a modern touch, complimented by structural glass, dark metal glazing systems and simple modern detailing.

What is your process for each project?

The first meeting is critical, and we offer a free first consultation to discuss a client’s ideas, their goals and practical limitations of the site, budgets and planning.

The design process has to be a collaboration between both parties, constantly evolving, exploring options and developing the best aspects of the design. We encourage our clients to develop their own ideas and goals - the key thing to remember is it’s going to be our client’s home, not ours, so our role is to deliver their dreams in the best way possible.

What are your career highlights from the last 25 years?

Having established the practice in the regency town of Cheltenham, perhaps it’s natural that I have a passion for period housing and Georgian architecture in particular.

One memorable project was to design and build a Georgian inspired family home on the south coast of England. I was able to bring the delicacy and natural light of authentic Georgian detailing together with modern day technical requirements for a modern family home.

It was exciting to design the hierarchy of beautiful details and classic room proportions I know so well, whilst incorporating the multiple layers of technical systems needed to handle renewable energy heat sources, intelligent lighting, high speed computer networks and heat recovery. The house sat just back from a cliff with stunning views of miles of coastline, making this a unique setting for an elegant, new family home.

What’s the next big thing in residential architecture?

The move away from fossil fuels for heating is a major driving force for future housing design. Zero carbon houses, which generate as much energy as they use, are a reality and will become the norm within the next 50 years. Currently, they are a real challenge, but we are keen to introduce the technology into our designs to improve efficiency without compromising our client’s aspirations.


Tel: +441823 257 019 (Taunton)

Tel: +441242 242 644 (Cheltenham)

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