The Writings Library is a chance for us to delve into detail and discussion, on subjects that interest us, in a series of essays. Projects that we are particularly proud of are described in detail, and with photography, in Project Profiles.
Audio versions read by Jonathan Lees are available within the individual writings.

‘Our Approach’ Chapter 1

‘Our Approach’ Chapter 1

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. Jonathan Lees Architects is a unique design practice with a philosophical approach grounded in the creation of classically influenced architectural design. We are inspired by the playfulness of progressing the Classical, Vernacular and Arts and Crafts language of design. Our studio takes a distinctive approach
‘Our Approach’ Chapter 2

‘Our Approach’ Chapter 2

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. Just because we live in a technological age, with a current trend for glass and steel structures with interesting shapes, this has not put an end to the use of Classicism and the traditional architectural techniques, it has in fact enhanced them, as the technology available to us means we can produce things ...
‘Our Approach’ Chapter 3

‘Our Approach’ Chapter 3

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. For me, the Arts and Crafts tradition has had a profound influence on my creative life. My interest in Classical architecture stemmed from a love of history and from learning about the ancient civilisations, from ancient Egypt, the golden age of classical Greece through to the Roman Empire. This early ...
‘Our Approach’ Chapter 4

‘Our Approach’ Chapter 4

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. When discussing the differences in opinion for the use of technology in architecture, I prefer to look at things simply. I am an artist, but I like to work with a big, brick shaped paintbrush. I always loved Lego, and my belief is that it is responsible for many, many careers in architecture and design, much ...
‘Art in Architecture’ Chapter 1

‘Art in Architecture’ Chapter 1

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. Architecture is the complex and carefully designed structure of everything around us, whether it be natural or built by humans. It is the collaboration of many parts of a holistic environment that induces emotion from the physical, visual, olfactory and spiritual perspectives, as much as performing the ...
‘Art in Architecture’ Chapter 2

‘Art in Architecture’ Chapter 2

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. It would be wrong to suggest that modern or contemporary structures cannot be considered works of art just because the primary tool used in their design is a computer or calculator. There is beauty and art in such designs, and you do not have to use a pencil or paintbrush just to demonstrate that your ...
‘Art in Architecture’ Chapter 3

‘Art in Architecture’ Chapter 3

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. The subject of whether architecture is a profession, or an art is discussed in a series of essays written by T.G Jackson, Richard Norman Shaw and with contributions from W.R Lethaby and Ernest Newton, some of the leading Arts and Crafts Architects of the day in the book ‘Architecture a Profession or an Art;
‘Art in Architecture’ Chapter 4

‘Art in Architecture’ Chapter 4

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. Art means different things to different people, and like art, architecture passes through trends and ‘styles’ on a cyclical basis. One moment being ostentatious, the next paired down. A 50-year period is but a blip in the age of architecture, which can trace its routes back to the origins of humankind.
Arts and Crafts Country House in Oxfordshire

Arts and Crafts Country House in Oxfordshire

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. This country house started as many simple projects nowadays do, with an email. The client had seen an image that I had painted of a modest, Lutyens inspired country house that had a simple vernacular language with classical features.A conversation first held on site revealed that the house was designed in the
The Belvedere Garden Folly

The Belvedere Garden Folly

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. The Belvedere is a folly structure built in the grounds of an Arts & Crafts inspired country house estate that we have been developing for the past six years. This small garden building is a testament to the love of architecture and design that the client and I shared. The purpose of the Belvedere is purely a
Summerhouse, Pool and Garden Spa, Henley-on-Thames

Summerhouse, Pool and Garden Spa, Henley-on-Thames

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. By now, you may have browsed through the writings regarding the design of the main house; if you haven’t had the opportunity of doing this, you can read my writing ‘Arts and Crafts Country House in Oxfordshire – A Project Memoir’, in the Writings Library, in order to give the context of how the Summerhouse ...
Arts and Crafts Country House Garden

Arts and Crafts Country House Garden

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. No house is complete without its garden. Luytens and Jekyll, in their collaboration, created some of the most beautiful gardens of the Arts & Crafts period and perhaps in the history of our domestic landscape design. Jekyll collaborated with Lutyens in such a way to create picturesque gardens that very much ...
Oxfordshire Estate Gatehouse

Oxfordshire Estate Gatehouse

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. What was once a mere thought in the back of my mind, a simple musing developed into a small conversation that led to something somewhat more significant and that was the gatehouse at the Art and Crafts country house we were building in Oxfordshire. For a long while I had been considering the development of ...
An Estate Stables and Woodland Barn

An Estate Stables and Woodland Barn

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. By now you have likely read a couple of the other musings relating to our Arts and Crafts home in Oxfordshire, so you will be aware that the stables and woodland barn developments on this site were designed at the same time, and as part of the ensemble, as the main house and gardens.
Seaside Home in Cornwall

Seaside Home in Cornwall

Written by Jonathan Lees RIBA. Sparrows started life as a modest three-bedroom bungalow set within North, South and East facing gardens on the beautiful, rugged Cornish coastline. The client had owned the property since the late 1970s, but due to several issues with the bungalow, including poor build quality and subsidence to the ...