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In 2005, JPA, working alongside Prof. Sir Colin Stansfield Smith, won a limited competition for the design of a new flagship 154,000 sq ft department store for the John Lewis chain in the heart of Cambridge. The store opened Christmas 2007 and quickly established itself as the most profitable branch in the UK and received praise for the way in which a large modern building fused itself into the historic fabric of the city through careful management of scale and materials.

We have gone on to design a wide range of public and commercial buildings, from student housing in central London to public toilets in the New Forest (one of which made the shortlist for the ‘Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award’).

Our approach to commercially driven projects begins with the pragmatic – the commercial imperatives of space – we understand the value of every square metre to be precious to make a project generous and economic in all the right places. Sustainability should be thoroughly integrated into a concept and we always start with the basics, such as maximising natural lighting, ventilation and shading together with an efficient thermal envelope, rather than relying on technology. We recognise the need to work with other professional consultants to make complex buildings simple to run and operate.

As with our smaller projects, we aim for a timelessness in design – we reject the fashionable or purely stylistic gesture through the use of form and natural materials to make buildings that weather well to grow old gracefully.