Press Release 11.12.2020

Gillespies strengthens leadership with new hires and promotions

Gillespies has strengthened its leadership team with two new hires in London and a number of promotions across the practice.

Hakan Agca has joined the practice as a Senior Associate Urban Designer. In this new role he will support the management of the urban design team in London and its growing portfolio of international and UK masterplanning projects. Hakan joins from Benoy, where he was Senior Associate Director, Masterplanning & Urban Design Lead EMEA for four years.

James Gregory joins Gillespies as a new Associate from Tyler Grange, where he was an Associate for two years. Prior to that he worked at Broadway Malyan for just over 14 years in a number of senior positions, where he gained expertise in designing and delivering high-quality landscapes for social and luxury housing and educational institutions. His appointment will help strengthen the practice’s ability to deliver large-scale housing projects, particularly those for housing associations.

Gillespies has also made a number of promotions as part of the practice’s desire both to reward skill and talent, and to grow the management team effectively. The practice is promoting one associate to senior associate level, three principals to associate level and two senior landscape architects to principal level.

Matthew Pepper has been made a Senior Associate, in recognition of his continued dedication to the practice’s projects, his exceptional design and leadership skills, as well as his prominent role in successfully managing quality assurance in the London studio. Most recently, Matt has been instrumental in the continued running of the studio during these unprecedented times, as well as the delivery of a number of pioneering mixed-use developments in the London. Matt joined Gillespies in 2016 as a Landscape Architect and was promoted to Associate in 2019.

Principals Sam Hutchison, Patrick Conn and Maria Aksarina have been promoted to Associate and Senior Landscape Architects Michele Farley and Alp Adal have been promoted to Principal. These promotions reflect their significant and sustained contribution to the practice and its projects.

Sam Hutchison joined Gillespies in 2013, where he worked within the London studio for five years before joining the Leeds studio. During this time, he has been instrumental in delivering a number of high-profile projects for the practice, including Holland Park Villas, 250 City Road, the Roman Baths in Beirut, and the landmark Google Headquarters in King’s Cross. This promotion recognized Sam’s technical expertise in landscape and public realm design, and in particular his success in building the overseas portfolio of projects for the North region, although he has a foot in both regions as he carries on with the innovative work he is delivering on the Google HQ in King’s Cross.

Patrick Conn joined the practice last year after gaining extensive experience at Fabrik Landscape. Since joining Gillespies, Patrick has been pivotal in the successful design and delivery of a number of environmentally-focused landscapes and public spaces in the UK, notably North West Cambridge Phase 2, Elephant Park and Goldsworth Road in Woking. His promotion is a recognition of his strong design and leaderships skills.

Maria Aksarina joined Gillespies in 2017 as a Principal Urban Designer and quickly became an instrumental member of the team, helping to grow the Urban Design portfolio in Russia, as well as delivering a number of complex and

progressive masterplans in Russia and the Middle East. In her new role as an Associate, Maria will continue to support the team in growing the practice’s international and UK masterplanning offer.

Michèle Farley has been promoted to Principal Landscape Architect in acknowledgement of her outstanding design skills, project management and leadership skills, as well as her commitment to developing the practice’s internal approach to research, development and innovation. In late 2019, Michele launched LandLabs, a stimulating talk series that covers a range of industry-specific topics.

Alp Adal has also been promoted to Principal in the Oxford studio, in acknowledgement of his valuable contribution to a range of projects over the last three years. Alp has played a key role in leading the creative design response for schemes in Russia, Cyprus and the UK, alongside challenging competition proposals in China and the Middle East.

In other promotions across the practice, Bettina Lukacs and Ben Blizzard have been promoted to Senior Landscape Architects, Monika Matejec is now a Landscape Architect and Kyle Xu is now a Graduate Landscape Architect.

Jim Diggle, Managing Partner at Gillespies, commented: “The global pandemic has demonstrated that access to open space and establishing a connection with nature is now more important than ever. These promotions and new hires are a recognition of our desire both to reward skill and talent, and to consolidate our management team effectively, to ensure we are in a position to continue to lead the way in the delivery of healthy and well-designed landscapes and city masterplans.”

Gillespies is one of the UK’s longest established landscape, urban design and masterplanning firms, and has been in practice for 58 years, delivering a range of pioneering, nature-led projects across the world.