JA DESIGNS is a dynamic architecture and design practice, originally established in London – England, in 1987. For Jacques Aboukhaled, its founder and Principal Architect, it was the culmination of a natural progression through the realm of creative design.
Jacques obtained his professional qualification in Paris-France in 1980, when he received his Architect’s Diploma from the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture, and his affiliation to the Ordre des Architectes – France, as Architecte D.E.S.A. His professional and practical experience started much earlier though, when he joined Pierre El Khoury’s award winning Architectural practice, in Beirut –Lebanon in 1974. On moving to France a year later, he continued his apprenticeship as Design Assistant, whilst pursuing his studies. During his training years, Jacques worked on various projects and design competitions, including the King’s Palace in Saudi Arabia (In collaboration with Kenzo Tange), Central Bank of Oman, Al Kharj and Bureida recreation parks (Saudi Arabia), The ministry of foreign affairs in Ryahd, Tebessa and Tlemsen airports (Algeria), 350 Bedrooms hotel in San Pedro (Ivory Coast), Hotel Royal d’Evian (France) and the Palais des Festivals et Congrès de Cannes (France – 3rd prize).
On obtaining his professional qualification, Jacques re-joined his mentor’s Paris Office as Senior Architect, and in 1982, became full partner (Beirut & Paris). In 1984, Jacques moved to London – England, to head a newly formed partnership between the Paris office and a renowned British Engineering firm. This association allowed Jacques to expand his professional horizons, and to work on such prestigious projects as the Hamma Project (Algeria), The Neurotic & Psychic Diseases Hospital of Abu Dhabi (UAE), Residential Complex in Nan Djing (China) and a Government Administration Complex (Oman).
In 1987, Jacques established his own practice, JA Designs in London – England. This allowed him to apply his principles and the rich professional experience he had previously gained, to the development of his own style and clientele. JA Designs moved its principal offices to Beirut – Lebanon in 1994, where it fast became one of the country’s premier design houses, with many projects already completed, and more underway.
For Jacques, Architecture is more than a profession it is a passion. No matter how small or how complex a project is, he will still apply the same diligence and attention to detail for which he has become known. Though modern and proactive in his conceptual approach, Jacques subscribes to the old fashioned principle of the Architect being the Master of his work. From the conceptual, to the functional, to the practical, every aspect of the project must be fully planned and controlled. His pluralistic and culturally rich background has enabled him to lead projects as diverse as a new extension to the Sursock Museum in Beirut (in collaboration with Jean Michel Wilmotte - Architect Paris), the complete refurbishment of private residences and commercial developments in Paris, London and various parts of the Middle East, and more recently, to be awarded the new redevelopment of the prestigious Hotel Vendome in Beirut, following on from the success of his extension of the Phoenicia Inter Continental Hotel.