We talk to Jonathan Beswick, Founder of Adventure in Architecture about all his adventures!
What has been your guiding inspiration?
Before I was fully qualified, I embarked on a 9 month expedition down the West Coast of Africa with Charlie Curtis. We drove through 33 countries and covered around 30,000 miles through some of the poorest, most remote and turbulent regions in the world including Western Sahara,
Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, DR Congo, Angola …. the list goes on!
When we got back, we completed our qualifications and decided that nothing could be as hard as that journey, so we just started up our own company!
What was the biggest challenge?
We began working from home but the result was that there was no separation between work – and life outside! I worked every waking hour, so I was insulated from the property and architectural world at large, industry trends and potential clients. Exhausted too.
We soon found a ‘shared’ office, which gave us a professional platform with access to meeting people, sharing ideas and learning from the experiences of other start-ups; having other people around also provides a fun space to work and grow. I would also advise against hiring junior, inexperienced staff. It’s a false economy as you end up spending all your time overseeing and supervising, the turnover is quite high and clients are not always confortable with the level of service. Needless to say, we now have a fully qualified team for the purposes we need, plus a terrific office manager.
What was the turning point?
Ironically, it was an expedition to the South Pole in 2011 for the 100 year anniversary of Captain Scott. This provided us with some press exposure that led to the re-design of the London residence of James Horner, Golden Globe winner and composter of Titanic. Photographs of the completed apartment quickly led to several other projects and it’s been a rolling stone ever since.
More recently, South Pole team member James Balfour teamed up with Bear Grylls and asked us to design their indoor assault courses being rolled out across the country. And yes, I regularly use them!
How do you balance your two passions?
We have deliberately grown our business organically, and have continued on from its first roots planning and delivering expeditions for our clients, the consultants we work with and word of mouth. This has resulted in stronger client and team relationships, and we are really seeing the benefits in the number and quality of projects we are winning.
How would you pitch Adventure in Architecture now?
We have a personality and we have a point of differentiation. It’s not something we designed or strategised, it’s just who we are. Hopefully we bring challenge, excitement and inspired thinking to all that we undertake in both our architectural work and in our expeditions.
What’s on the Drawing Board so far this year?
We are presently working across a mix of projects across our residential, lifestyle and development projects.
We have some exciting projects on the horizon and are also looking forward to transforming a new house with Broseley in Kensington this Spring
In April we are excited to be co-hosting and attending the World’s Highest Dinner Party on Mount Everest! And in July we are organising the 5 peak challenge across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales within 48 hours!
Find out more at adventureinarchitecture.co.uk.