Peter Beard studied architecture at Cambridge University and Harvard University Graduate School of Design receiving First Class Honours at Degree level and a Distinction at Diploma level. He is a qualified architect registered with the Architect's Registration Board (UK), and is a member of the Royal institute of British Architects. Following initial practice experience including housing and listed building projects, he worked with Peter Salter on the realisation of the Kamiichi Pavilion (Japan 1992). He later worked with Florian Beigel and the Architecture Research Unit at London Metropolitan University on projects in Germany, near Leipzig (Cospuden 1997), and in Berlin (Lichterfelde Süd 1998). He received recognition for competition entries for the former U-boat base at Lorient, France (1999) and the Palla factory, Germany (2001).
He taught as a Unit Master at the Architectural Association in London from 1989 to 2004, and led a Diploma Studio in the Faculty of Architecture at Cambridge University between 1993 and 1996. He held the post of Academic Advisor to the Diploma School at the Architectural Association from 2000 to 2003. Other teaching has included the Bartlett School, University College London (first year design tutor 1993), the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania (option studio workshop 1994), and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University (landscape department, core studio workshop, 2011 to 2014). In 2003 he was awarded a fellowship by the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (UK) to carry out documentary and design research work on the topic of post-industrial and post-military landscapes.
Since 2004 his practice's work has included built‑infrastructure, landscape conservation and access projects, green space strategies and urban masterplans. From 2004 to 2011 he was a member of the London Development Agency's Design Advisor panel, acting as a consultant for the agency's extensive development portfolio. He also served on the 'Enabling Panel' for CABE (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment 2005‑09), advising on design and procurement. He served as an elected member of the Architectural Association Council for two years from 2005 to 2007.