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Less is more for the admirable Adrian James

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AJ Column

Now here's a site for sore eyes. It is the website of Adrian James Architects at the easily remembered www. adrianjames. com. This is the Oxford-based practice that does that quirky and seriously interesting brick stuff which tends to involve idyllic lakeand riverside sites. No messing about here with pop-ups-as-you-scroll, clever rotating axos or anything intricate.

Simplicity and clarity is the basic proposition here. So it is all on one page - actually around twice the depth of an average screen. And it loads in a flash.

Pictures are down the left, a thinner column of sketches in the middle and the text is on the right. And that is it. The text starts with disarming directness: 'We deliver beautiful buildings which clients love.' You warm to the practice at once. The text column ends with a list of awards and a big e-mail button. So, you ask, what happens later on when it has done lots of buildings? What happens to simplicity then? The answer, I guess, is that they do a bit more of the same - not much, of course - and they are really selective about what they show.

Unless you are producing the site for posterity, students and nosey rival practices, there's no particular reason why you have to include details of every building the practice has ever done.

Don't get me wrong, on this side of the fence we are grateful for practice websites which do. Also, there are a lot of congenitally nosey architects about: it does not hurt to rub their noses in the fact that you have done a squillion office blocks and houses and whatever - and they probably have not. But think of the relief potential clients must feel when they look at Adrian James'site. No clicking on enigmatic links, no ponderous taxonomy, no animated Flash whatsits - just a single, clear page and the promise that 'we can transform apparently mundane projects into wonderful buildings'.

OK, so you can't change the size of text and you should be able to. But that is all the carping I can manage.

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