Wilf is a Senior Urban Designer (and architect) working in our Bristol studio. He has experience working in both the private and public sectors in the UK, Australia and the US.
Wilf has worked across a broad variety of project typologies; he has been project design lead on a 4,600 dwelling residential-led development, critiqued projects of strategic importance on behalf of the Mayor of London, and designed (and lodged) planning applications for smaller scale domestic projects.
What are the key challenges that affect your sector, or are likely to in the next five years?
Government policy at a central and local level (typically) does not go far enough to address the climate emergency and clients are often hesitant to go above and beyond the minimum requirements. We need to be designing cities in a way that minimises reliance on private cars, maintains comfortable thermal levels, improves health and wellbeing, and (substantially) increases biodiversity. This can all be addressed through a well-considered approach, without substantial additional capital expenditure.
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
I would probably say ‘don’t be afraid to diversify and change your job role.’ I originally trained as an “pure” architect but slowly evolved to work on larger urban design and masterplanning projects. I was always nervous that I would miss out on seeing my projects being realised, but the fast pace and variety of projects, as well as never having to even think about a door schedule, is truly worth it and extremely fulfilling.
Interesting fact that nobody knows about you?
I cycle a total of 60km to the office and back every day. And run a half marathon before work once a week.
Biggest career influence?
I lived in Sydney for about five years and moved back to the UK in 2021. Predominately due to the climate, Australian culture has a much healthier balance of indoors/outdoors living which is reflected in their built environment with a much stronger integration of green infrastructure. This experience has taught me the monumental value of access to open space for people of all ages – especially in urban and peri-urban settings.
Where do you see your career taking you?
In my career to date, I’ve worked as an architect, a (design focussed) planner, and an urban designer. As someone who is happiest outdoors, I wonder if one day I’ll do further training and become a landscape architect?