Interview with jmarchitects

Posted by: Michael Beeken

Date posted: 26/10/18

As a business, we’re proud of the clients we work with and are therefore pleased to launch a series of interviews showcasing their work.

We recently partnered with jmarchitects to place their new London director. Our co-founder Michael Beeken sits down with jmarchitects’ Managing Director, Brian Thomson, to discuss the company’s most significant projects so far, the current challenges facing the industry, and jmarchitects’ recent growth in London.

What is jmarchitects’ expertise within the architecture industry?

In terms of our nationwide scope, our sector strengths lie in hotels, student residences, education and healthcare. In London, we are known for predominately residential and commercial projects, although we plan to introduce more diverse projects into the mix soon.

What are some of the significant projects that have propelled you to where you are now?

Across the UK, each of our studios have their own “landmark” projects that have allowed the practice to take a significant step forward. Our high-profile projects in Scotland include the Princes Exchange office, Hampden Park and a number of award-winning schools. Working with Steven Holl on the Glasgow School of Art and Maggie’s St Bartholomew’s was also definitely a milestone in our journey so far.

These sector strengths have been successfully exported to Manchester, where our portfolio includes the recently completed Blossom Iron project for Manchester Life and the new Salford FC stadium. We’ve also established a strong healthcare pedigree and more recently, won a range of schools projects and high-profile residential schemes.

In London, education projects such as the multi award-winning Elm Court School, were important watersheds, along with significant office developments and new builds.

What are the challenges that you face as a business in the upcoming year? How do you plan to overcome them?

Within the whole industry, not to mention the wider economy, there is ongoing Brexit concern. Coupled with the possibility of a second Scottish referendum, we have certainly seen some hesitance to invest in parts of the commercial sector. Post-2008 financial crisis, however, we have become leaner, more focused and more effective at what we do. Our strategy of UK coverage and sector spread makes us confident in our strength to withstand current challenges.

What sets your company apart?

As one of the few regionally head quartered AJ Top 40 practices, we have the advantage of a more balanced view of the UK as a whole. We share our resources effectively across the country at a fraction of the cost of some London based practices. This results in the ideal combination of local presence and efficient delivery, but at competitive, profitable fee levels. We share knowledge across the country and our design directors move to lead projects to suit sector specialisms.

What is in store for your studio in the future?

We want to build on our strengths and balance our sector spread evenly across each office. We’re working hard to raise the profile of our award-winning work across the UK and to develop our profitability in line with our design profile, expertise and professionalism.

What makes your studio a great place to work?

Our collaborative ethos, light management touch and our ability to allow all architects to thrive in a friendly, creative environment makes us an ideal place. All career goals can be satisfied from Part 2’s eager for new experience to Senior Architects, Associates and Directors wanting to develop a client base and take a leadership role, when balanced by determination, talent and perseverance.

Michael Beeken


Michael has worked in recruitment for the best part of his professional career. After graduating from University of Leeds, he progressed to the Head of Commercial Development at SRP, where he was responsible for the executive search division. He has an overview of all accounts within Beeken Reeves, supporting the recruitment process and developing the internal team.