The Seven "Pilotis"

JOA's Philosophy of Practice

















The reasons behind the popularity of our projects is our unique understanding of the complex issues that are involved in the creation of architecture, and our unwillingness to use just the elements of technology or fashion as the raison d'etre of what we do.

Our clients come to us with a range of problems requiring solutions. Our aim is to provide the fullest resolution to all these problems with a level of quality which is evident to all who experience the outcome.

There are seven pillars (or 'pilotis') to this approach:

The First  is that the clients' objectives are fully met. This encompasses all matters relating to the brief (or 'programme' in the US), the budget allocated to the work, the programme & phasing requirements (or 'schedule' in the US), and the 'cost in/ease of use'. JOA projects have created possibilities in use which have far exceded their owner's ambitions, usually because of the uniqueness and intelligence of their approach.

The Second  is that the project works in its immediate context. In the UK Planning legislation dictates that all new buildings are vetted by local government committees with the input of interested/affected parties. JOA have never been refused Planning Permission, have been granted approval in the most difficult of circumstances, and have earned plaudits from a variety of public bodies committed to the environment and conservation.

The Third  is that the project empowers its users. The vehicle we use for this, the robot order, acts as a generous 'picture frame' which both celebrates the lives and activities of any building's occupants and houses the many vital support systems that they draw on in their everyday lives. This system is fully flexible in that it can be scaled and adapted to suit any building problem.

The Fourth  is that the project is seen in part as the creation of a Public Domain, in which members of the Public will live and meet. Our buildings are not seen as 'objects' in themselves, but as the prime shapers of streets, squares and urban spaces which give any City or Site its 'uniqueness'. In rural sites, spaces are also conceived of in this way through the use of landscape elements.

The Fifth  is that the project addresses macro-environmental issues. Our projects embody "green" credentials and low-energy thinking, for which we have won awards. They do not employ large areas of glass. Green issues also shape the social organisation of the spaces created in our projects.

The Sixth  is that the project fully addresses technological issues. JOA have developed a unique understanding of services and computerisation issues affecting design. Our first office building incorporated energy sensing light switching and solar tracking blinds. The infrastructure of every project is designed with service networks in mind so that it will be able to keep pace with major changes. External fabric is conceived using the latest developments in materials technology to ensure that it will keep its looks and not 'date' prematurely.

The Seventh  is that the every project has its story, or narrative which both informs its design and gives it a unique signature as a work of architecture. The narratives of all our projects are conceived of by John Outram personally and form the underlying structure of the design (communicated to and fully understood by the complete project team), down to the smallest detail. This approach has enabled us to complete equally great buildings abroad, with the assistance of foreign design teams. John has an unrivalled knowledge of world architecture and its history past and present and it is this unique understanding of how buildings interact with humanity which gives our projects such force and vitality.


End of the "Seven Pilotis" - Return to Practice Philosophy .


* JOA can be reached by E-Mail at , by telephone on +44 (0)207 262 4862 or by fax on +44 (0)207 706 3804. We also have an ISDN number : +44 (0)207 262 6294.