Paul Seaver

Associate Director

Paul joined us as a fresh-faced architect working in our Universities team. He’s now Head of Masterplanning & Urban Design, a role that neatly brings together his experience in masterplanning, planning and architecture.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on to date?

It’s difficult to pick just one project when what I really love is the rich variety of projects that I’ve worked on over the years. My experience in residential, universities, healthcare, workplace, transport, sport and leisure projects, across all sorts of complex urban and rural environments, has given me a rich understanding of how interconnected the built and natural environment really is. That has been much more enlightening than any one project.

What is the current big trend in masterplanning?

The recent changes arising from the Environment Bill, requiring a minimum uplift of 10% in the amount of biodiversity for all new development in England, is a positive step in helping to address the biodiversity emergency.

What’s particularly interesting about this is that the measures needed to provide the necessary biodiversity net gain have to be tailored to suit each development based on the unique habitat conditions of the site. Having applied the Building with Nature standards to recent projects (working closely with Isabelle Carter in our Landscape team who is a Building with Nature Assessor), I can see this standard becoming much more mainstream over the coming years.

Interesting fact that nobody knows about you?

Having previously never held a sword in my life, I took up fencing over the past few years. Unfortunately, I started in the summer before the pandemic so the start to my fencing career has been somewhat fragmented. That said, here’s looking to the 2024 Olympics…

Best building in your city?

Bristol has an amazing variety of interesting architecture and spaces. For me, what makes it special is its diversity. I used to come over the Cumberland Basin every morning, watching the city’s western skyline come into view. The Clifton Suspension Bridge and the layering up of all the houses in Hotwells and Cliftonwood, set behind the Harbourside and the Bond warehouses, makes for a pretty special welcome. Now that I’ve got a bike, I commute over the suspension bridge itself every morning and get to look down towards the Cumberland Basin. It’s a fascinating part of the city, rich in heritage with an iconic skyline.

Favourite podcast?

The Urbanist from Monocle magazine. It covers a broad and interesting range of topics relating to how cities around the world function. It’s the sort of podcast that really inspires, from small intimate interventions to grand scale projects. It’s definitely worth a listen for anyone with an interest in city life.

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