Kirsty Thirlwell – Chief Executive

Aura is a business which is owned by the equity partners Sir Robert McAlpine, Robertson Capital Projects and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Simon has been a key member of the Aura design team from its inception, working throughout the successful bid to secure investment, design, development and management of a £220m programme of schools regeneration in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The programme of delivery was challenging, with each stakeholder and client having different aspirations and goals. The programme was split into two phases each with 8 schools.  Simon was the lead Architect for two schools in the first phase; Canning Street Primary School and the widely acclaimed West Jesmond Primary School.

In the second phase Simon’s role grew significantly, where he lead the development of the concept designs for St. Mary’s Catholic High School, Gosforth Junior High School, and a new sports facility at Gosforth High School. He continued as Lead Architect for both St. Mary’s and Walker Technology College.

Simon achieved a difficult balance between achieving budget and programme targets, whilst genuinely transforming the user outcomes from a building.  He has become widely respected by the people he has worked with, including head teachers, teachers, pupils and a wide range of senior and junior employees of both Aura and Newcastle City Council.

Aura has a strong philosophy of engaging with the local community throughout all of our works. Simon was a core part of this enterprise and on many occasions put in the time and effort to plan and deliver challenging design classes for primary school pupils during the Aura schools’ ‘Construction Weeks’.

I regard him as a great loss to the programme and strongly recommend him as an inspiring and talented Architect.

Aura Newcastle Ltd
Chief Executive for Newcastle Schools BSF