People News

Our People: Sam Wilkinson.


Providing knowledge and insight to our firm.

I’ve got a broad range of experience…

…including design, engineering and research. I studied Architecture at university, followed by two master’s degrees: one in Environmental Design and another in Adaptive Architecture and Computation. My research career really started with an Engineering Doctorate in machine learning, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and parametric design.

My working career…

…actually started at Hoare Lea! I was a Graduate Environmental Analyst in the Virtual Engineering group in 2008.

I then worked for Foster + Partners for seven years as research lead in the Specialist Modelling Group, working on a range of projects including developing performance-driven design workflows, large-scale 3D printing, autonomous systems, design for extreme environments, and climate change adaptation.

In May 2021…

…I moved back to Hoare Lea and I now work in the London Office.

It’s been great to return after a decade and see familiar faces but also to see how the company has changed. There is a lot of enthusiasm to keep evolving the business and I’m looking forward to being part of that.

I’ve been brought in to lead the Applied Research and Innovation (ARI) group. My aim is to develop the ARI team to focus and push forward our research and innovation work in sustainability.

My main interest is…

…figuring out how to catalyse and enable research in practice.

A key aspect of this is helping to promote an inclusive and open culture of innovation at all levels, as well as creating structures to drive new initiatives. We also need to work collaboratively; partnering with other companies and universities on grant-funded research or supporting masters or PhD students.

Given all the challenges our industry and society are facing in the future, I think working in research and foresight can help build an inspirational vision for what we want the future to be like.

Some of our initial research areas are on climate change adaptation and resilience, nature-based solutions, biodiversity, circular economy and whole life carbon analysis.

If I look to the future…

….we might see a renaissance of traditional approaches to design and construction – like using more timber, stone and other natural materials. We need to re-imagine our idea of buildings and the materials we use to construct them. Some of this could be enabled by an invisible layer of technology monitoring and controlling building performance.

As a result…

…buildings will become more intelligent and we’ll be able to think of them as quasi-sentient characters, continually optimising themselves and interacting with their occupants or neighbouring buildings.