Philip originally joined HLM in 1997 as a Part II student, becoming Regional Director by 2003. After a stint at Atkins as Head of Education and then UK Design Director, he rejoined HLM in 2018 as Director and Head of Design. He became the practice’s Chair in April 2024.

While Philip’s main expertise lies in education, he has gained a wealth of experience across many sectors, including workplace, residential and masterplanning.

Philip is responsible for driving design culture across our studios and has been instrumental in establishing HLM’s ‘Thoughtful Design’ ethos. He passionately believes that good design can positively impact people and society. This ethos now forms the bedrock of HLM’s portfolio.

Philip regularly speaks at conferences and writes articles for industry publications on topics such as design for wellbeing, social value, client engagement, modern methods of construction, and environmental sustainability. He is a member of the University Design Forum Research Group and Design Yorkshire Review Panel. In 2019 he was made Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds and in 2020 a Fellow of the RIBA in recognition of his contribution to architecture and the arts.

Did you know?

Philip was a regular contributor to the New Musical Express (NME) in the late ‘80s and has at least one entry in the Guinness Book of Hit Records.


Thoughts and Views

National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) designed by HLM Architects
11.05.23 | Rebecca Ball

Innovation Districts: What is the Role of HE Institutions in Maximizing Potential for Growth?

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14.04.23 | Rebecca Ball

Culture, Context, and Campus

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31.05.22 | Rebecca Ball

Mental Health and the Built Environment

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LIHE example of an Innovation District designed by HLM Architects
25.01.22 | Rebecca Ball

Creating Innovation Districts – a new model for economic regeneration

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Philip Watson, Head of Design at HLM Architects discusses Social Value in Design
04.01.22 | Rebecca Ball

We've only scratched the surface of what social value could be

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11.01.21 | Rebecca Ball

Positive trends that will shape procurement in 2021

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Philip Watson MMC Piece Wellingborough HLM Architects
29.07.20 | Rebecca Ball

MMC approach for new build prison at Wellingborough

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AJ Post Occupancy Evaluation piece by Philip Watson from HLM Architects
21.07.20 | Rebecca Ball

The uncomfortable truth about post-occupancy evaluation

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AWRC Parkrun demonstrating the Social Value of HLM Architects design
15.07.20 | Rebecca Ball

Sustainability, Social Value and the Power of Design

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Modern Methods of Construction presentation by Philip Watson from HLM Architects
25.06.20 | Rebecca Ball

We need to talk about Modular

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Philip Watson, Head of Design @ HLM Architects
11.06.20 | Rebecca Ball

Post-occupancy – it should be embedded in every practice and project

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Philip Watson Everything is Connected Article for Building Magazine
27.04.20 | Rebecca Ball

Everything is connected

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