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Peter Heath, Technical director, public realm, Atkins


Technical director, public realm

When did you join Atkins?

April Fools’ Day – 1 April 2001!

Why did you join Atkins?

Atkins acquired my practice – Civic Design Partnership – with a view to my leading the implementation of the Trafalgar Square area improvements for which I had written and designed the masterplan.

Had you been associated with Atkins before?

Yes, I’d been a periodic sub-consultant to Atkins on various London projects and had Atkins as my sub-consultant on Norwich Tram feasibility study and many other proposal bids.

What did you do before you joined Atkins?

I worked in both the public and private sectors, in small, medium and large organisations on public realm improvement roles.

How do you describe what you do to friends and family?

I often say that I am an urban design diplomat who improves the spaces between buildings and structures. It’s easy to explain when I give the examples of Trafalgar Square and Oxford Circus Diagonal Crossing improvements.

Do you have any professional accreditations?

Bachelor of Science in architecture, Bachelor of Architecture Architects Registration Board, Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Diploma in Town Planning, Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, Academician of the Academy of Urbanism.

What projects have you worked on?

Trafalgar Square, Oxford Circus Diagonal Crossing, St James’s area and Covent Garden area (all in London), and Belfast city centre.

Are you working on anything unusual?

A current (confidential) project includes a permanent zero energy, sustainable and accessible disabled lift as part of a major public realm project proposal. This would be a world first if approved and implemented.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Trafalgar Square. A year after completion, I was invited to see Admiral Nelson at the top of Nelson’s Column during the 10 year restoration works. It gave a superb aerial view of the improvements we had implemented in the square.

How has your career developed at Atkins?

I was given significant early responsibilities which I fulfilled and exceeded. Since then there has been even greater trust in my ability to identify project opportunities and deliver them.

How were you supported through this?

I was initially supported by senior managers and then earned the trust and respect of my multidisciplinary co-workers across Atkins’ business units.

How do public realm improvers and Atkins make a difference?

We plan, design, enable and implement improvements to the way people live, work and play across the planet, now and for the future. We also implement challenging projects that others find too difficult.

What is it like working at Atkins?
Endlessly varied and demanding – both commercially and technically.

How would you describe the culture at Atkins?

Responsibility is available when trust and respect are earned. It is a meritocracy with prudent discipline of systems and support.

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