Paul Hirzel holds Bachelor’s degrees in Humanities from Washington State University, Art Education and Industrial Education from University of Washington, and Architecture from Cornell University. He earned his Master of Architecture with a minor in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University in 1984 winning both the Eschweiler Prize and Cornell Marshall Award for design excellence. A typological study of descriptive and metaphoric relationships between landscape and architecture was his thesis focus.

His professional experience includes private practice in Ithaca, New York, Louisville, Kentucky, and Bainbridge Island, Seattle, and Pullman, Washington where he has won regional, national and international recognition for projects involving interior design, landscape design and building design. Selected awards include an American Institute of Architects National Housing Award, a Northwest and Pacific Region AIA Honor Award, an AIA-Sunset Western Home Award, and an AIA Seattle Honor Award.  In addition to private practice, Hirzel has worked in both landscape architecture offices (The Berger Partnership in Seattle) and architecture offices (James Cutler, Architects, Bainbridge Island, Washington and SOM, Portland, Oregon). His work has been published in Architectural Record, Sunset Magazine, Wood Design and Building, Inland NW Homes and Lifestyles and was featured in a Rizzoli/Universe book publication by Linda Leigh Paul entitled: The Cabin Book, and Taschen publication entitled Cabins by Philip Jodidio.

His academic experience includes both secondary education where he was a high school art instructor on Bainbridge Island from 1973-1981 and higher education where he has taught architecture at Washington State University since 1989. He currently holds the position of Professor of Architecture in the College of Engineering and Architecture.

Hirzel's academic emphasis at WSU has focused on the integration of landscape significance to the architecture curriculum. An advocate for the inclusion/recognition of the "outside condition" in the building design solution, he has developed innovative strategies for site analysis and design. His site design course has won national awards from the American Institute of Architects: The AIA National Education Award (the professions most prestigious award to educators for teaching excellence) and the National Associated Collegiate Schools of Architecture: The ACSA Design Studio Award and has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Student work has been invited for exhibition at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, Washington and at the AIA National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He has been a lecturer at Cranbrook Academy of Arts, the Interdisciplinary Design Institute in Spokane, Washington, Texas A&M, Gonzaga University, Cornell University, University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Washington.

Publications produced by his site design course include a trilogy of books on Eastern Washington: Pullman: A Book of Secrets, The Palouse: An Extra Terrestrial Feast, and Eastern Washington: Conditions and Aberrations; and the SR26 Gift Collection which includes two books: Motion Pictures: Stories of SR26 and 133.53 Miles: A Visual Travel guide for SR26, a postcard collection: SR26 Landart Series, and a music CD set: SR26 Rhythm of this Highway. Another trilogy of books on earth, water and vegetation are titled, Unearthing: the Palouse, Topography, Waterproofs: A Submission of Evidence of Carpenter Hall Trees. Other publications include Disturbing Places: An Exploration of the Seven Deadly Sins of Architecture. Two of the above books won ACSA National Design awards.