Simon Hall - BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture, 1998
After university Simon went into private practice including time in Chicago and Leeds before launching his own practice PWP Design in 2015 with fellow graduates Ian Woolford and Adrian Parr.
Simon Hall graduated from Leeds Beckett University in 1998 with a BA (Hons) in Landscape Architecture. After university Simon went into private practice including time in Chicago and Leeds before launching his own practice PWP Design in 2015 with fellow graduates Ian Woolford and Adrian Parr.
Simon explains: “My A Level Art teacher suggested Landscape Architecture as a creative profession. I had never heard of it but applied to Leeds Metropolitan University to find out more. The brilliant Alan Simpson interviewed me, and I was inspired to take up an offer to study Landscape Architecture in Leeds.
“I was lucky to join a great year group who became a tight knit bunch throughout the course. Lots of great memories of us in the studio or on our many field trips, and I’m still friends with many from the year group.
“A year in practice is encouraged for Landscape Architects between finishing the degree and starting postgraduate studies. In the late 90s the UK economy was struggling and a few of our year group took the opportunity to apply for a job in America through LBU’s links with Purdue University.
“In 1998 I sent my portfolio, received an unexpected late evening phone call (which was my interview) and found myself on a plane to Chicago, where I would go onto return to after my post graduate diploma, staying till 2005.
“I worked at Hitchcock Design Group, who were based out in the affluent suburbs and I lived right in heart of downtown commuting out every day. The practice had a series of sector focused departments and I worked on the urban design team before moving into a team specialising in public realm and healing environments within hospital campuses, health centres and retirement communities.
“It was fast paced, long hours and amazing to see things built from sketch to reality. I had some excellent mentors that turned into friends over the years. I would highly recommend taking the opportunity to work or study abroad and live in a different culture, it gave me a lot of confidence and was an interesting time to live in America.
“On my return to the UK I was lucky enough to join Gillespies in Leeds and be part of a talented team, working on a huge range of multi-disciplinary projects between 2005 and 2015. During this time, I became Chartered and gained experience in public realm, masterplanning, regeneration, historic parks, retail schemes, pop up landscapes and I led the design of Welcome to Yorkshire’s first RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden.
“Fifteen years after graduating I went into business with fellow graduates Ian Woolford and Adrian Parr to set up our own design practice PWP Design. They had set up their own garden design and build company straight from university (PWP Landscape) and have built it up over 20 years to be a nationally recognised company, winning the prestigious BALI Grand Award in 2020 for a large-scale garden project.
“Setting up PWP Design has been an incredible experience. My current role is to promote the practice, lead design commissions/our team and run the business. We are proud to have grown from a small start-up and now employ a team of four talented landscape architects, including LBU graduates.
“We work on a wide range of design projects including regeneration/public realm, residential development, healthcare and private gardens. We ended 2020 being announced as runners up in the Landscape Institute's international ideas competition 'Transforming the Urban Landscape', that considered the future of town and city centres post Covid-19.
“Landscape Architecture at LBU has always encouraged creative thinking and collaborative design. This is something that has stuck with me through my career. The course was a fantastic experience and gave me the confidence and opportunity to work abroad, be involved in some amazing projects and to set up my own business.
“As a graduate I have always kept in touch with the Landscape Architecture Department at LBU and felt part of it. Since setting up PWP Design I think it’s important to have a high profile with our local course and support the students. Colleagues at PWP Design and I have guest lectured at LBU and are keen to continue this relationship. Our LBU graduates are a credit to the course and are contributing brilliantly to projects and the development of our practice.”
PWP Design can be found on Instagram @pwpdesignuk