Jon Bentley-Leek

Building relationships

by 9th Sep, 2015

A Handsome Georgian Residence in Herefordshire Reconfigured to Transform Family LifeA Handsome Georgian Residence in Herefordshire Reconfigured to Transform Family Life

Communion’s mission statement is “Working closely with people to deliver exceptional projects that transform spaces and change lives.” Each of our architects draws on different philosophies to interpret this statement in different ways and deliver unique solutions.

For Jon, buildings have fundamental relationships with three things: environment, time and people.

Buildings have a relationship with both their internal and external environments. Internally, he regards a building as a stage in which the inhabitants are the actors and the furniture in it is a backdrop. Externally, a building needs to relate to its setting both immediately and in a wider context.

Alongside their relationship with their environment, buildings have a relationship with time. This means buildings need to be robust and have longevity. This is true in both a practical sense – buildings still need to be standing in 50 years’ time – but also in an aesthetic sense – you need to design and build for the long term so a building is as relevant now as in the future.

Buildings also have a crucial relationship with people. Of course, the client is the most important person and Jon sees his relationship with them as one of an enabler. He recognises that everyone has enormous vision for what they want to achieve, but often don’t know how to turn it into a reality. His job is to take the vision and make it real.

But the tradespeople involved in building the project are key too because their skills are vital in the translation from paper to place. And also his fellow Communion architects are also an invaluable part of the development process.

Aside from these three relationships, Jon’s philosophy is firmly rooted in practicalities. Buildings need to be simple, coherent, logical and, crucially, offer value for money. This means recognising that whether people say ‘I would like a porch’ or ‘I would like a mansion’, the money they have to spend in achieving their vision has been hard earned. The perfect project is therefore one where the money available has been spent thriftily but enthusiastically.

Jon has got the architecture bug and has had it since the age of 24 when he started in practice. Every building is important and he loves creating excellent work that helps to realise his clients’ aspirations.

Architects’ philosophies and why they matter

All architects have philosophies that inform their work.

These overarching ideas may not be at the forefront of our thinking about a project, but they do provide us with a framework that helps us to identify the central issues and keep us focused on them. They help us to marry up the dreams and aspirations of our clients with the practicalities by allowing us to focus on the essentials, order and prioritise ideas and cut out the distractions.