Meet Jas Phull, Director of Architecture at Micasa

14 December 2017

Meet Jas Phull, Director of Architecture at Micasa

Jas Phull is a RIBA/ARB certified Chartered Architect with over 32 years of experience. Now the Director of Architecture at Micasa, Jas has spent half of his career specialising in high-end residential properties for private and developer clients.

 

What are your greatest influences as an architect?

Neo-classicism informed much of my training, from education to practice and I still take these principals to every new project that I'm part of today.

Anyone who has worked with me will tell you that I'm passionate about 'honest' architecture, which neo-classicism essentially represents. There are certain rules and disciplines in this style of architecture – such as proportion, scale, order, rhythm, pattern and so on; what you see is very much what you get!

 

How do you apply this to your own work?

To follow on into practice, my designs are in most cases Tectonics – in architectural terms, defined as the science or art of construction, both in relation to use and artistic design, to elaborate, function and form. This is particularly evident in my skill to design and detail areas and elements of buildings such as stonework which is not just there to look good but it materially has a function.

The internal layouts to share these qualities to allow the seamless relationship between forms and the respective function of the spaces. At Micasa Architects, we create all styles of architecture to include contemporary architecture that's grounded in these traditional disciplines – the rules of proportion, mass, scale and so forth. It's the cornerstone of everything we do and produces an end-result with that 'wow' factor as soon as you step through the door, and externally too.

Micasa Architects have the expertise and the skill to correctly apply traditional design elements as may be desired by clients or developers, we avoid mockery of classical and or traditional architecture many examples of which can be seen with the introduction of Greek/Roman/Indian columns, pediments, and Tudor timber beams into contemporary, Neo-Classical and Georgian designs, to result in an utter mishmash of styles!

At Micasa Architects such type of poor design practice is avoided at all costs, regardless of clients demands, which are soon alleviated once Micasa Architects have created design awareness in our clients be they private or commercial developer clients.

As an example of what we preach, Micasa's development at Arola House showcases the correct and proper way to design columns into a contemporary build, in particular I would draw attention to the entrance porch where one can see references to Classical Architecture, I refer to design association with a pediment, frieze, columns with capitals, shaft and bases placed proportionally on plinths etc.

The result is something that we're very proud of. We've used the foundations of traditional architecture but have modernised this through our use of different building materials, so it speaks a language of its own.

 

Which city's buildings do you most admire?

Greek architecture, with its neo-classicist conventions, is obviously a huge inspiration and more so contemporary architecture which makes 'clever' and correct references to tradition.

I also admire London's buildings. You have classical architecture here too, but you also have some compelling modern buildings and because London is so cosmopolitan, there is a mix of styles so it is all rather eclectic. Contemporary architecture is often brave, especially when their designs make classical reference. That said the Post-Modernist era was, in my opinion, a sham. It was like old building styles on steroids!

 

What do you love most about your job?

In a nutshell, it's the ability to make someone smile; it's that smile factor we strive for! Designing a home or any building is a long haul – it could in most cases take a couple of years from inception to completion. An architect is tasked to design and deliver a home and a lifestyle as such there is a tremendous responsibility bestowed on the architect's shoulders where the architect is essentially the kingpin in the whole process – the driving force in the coordination of all other disciplines associated with the build.

We are dealing with one's home, an investment, livelihood etc, therefore communication and mutual understanding of client's needs is paramount, so when a project is finished and clients have taken occupation, clients are pleased then professional acquaintances often develop into friendship and THIS is the smile factor that we strive for.

To be honest, at the end of a project no amount of money can replace the feeling that comes when the client turns around and says "I love it, Jas - thank you". That's really what it's about and what keeps me going on to produce even better designs.

 

In your experience, what sets Micasa Architects apart from most other practices?

It's our understanding of client needs and frustrations. It's not just about what a client likes – it's equally important to understand their dislikes too. This, coupled with our own experience, is what makes Micasa Architects special and different.

At Micasa we don't just ram our ideas down a client's throat; as an architect, I consider myself as a therapist. We begin every new project by asking a client, "Tell me what you like and don't like." And then we listen until we can latch onto something they have said, until we get to the root of what they're after.

Once we have clicked on something they may have said I often have a 'light bulb' moment in my creative mind and then I set about verbally painting a visual/imaginary picture in the client's minds. I take them on a journey, say walking them through their new house, to share with them a wow factor in the views up and ahead through to a focal point in their back garden, all experienced as they enter their imaginary home at this very early stage.

That's the 'talk', THEN we 'walk the talk' during the whole design development and construction stages to final delivery of that imaginary experience. And you know what? We make it happen!

Our aim is to communicate an idea to a client and have them fully understand it, but not everyone can do this and clients are savvy to bullshit – you can't claim and not deliver. I've learnt this over and over in my 32 years as an architect.

A good team is also key to the success of a project. Whether it's our design team or external consultants and contractors, everyone is on side and committed to achieving the same common goal: to create a beautiful work of art of a building.

 

What are you currently working on?

We recently received planning permission for a new dwelling in the Moor Park area near Northwood, London, after careful negotiations with the planners on design to create an almost Arts and Crafts design, which we're very excited about.

We have many other projects in the Moor Park area and other parts of London all of varying size and complexities as large extensions and refurbishments etc.

We are also currently designing a new build house in Zambia, that in itself brings its own challenges, in terms of designing for a culture, lifestyle and the extreme climates. Very challenging indeed!

 

For more information about Micasa Architects and the services that we offer, visit our Chartered Architects page.

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