Category: Landscape Design

Huntingdon Garden & Leisure 02

Whilst manager of the landscape division at Huntingdon Garden & Leisure I assisted in the design and planting of this site, the largest garden centre in England.

Mature trees were imported from Deepdale Nurseries.

tko 86 model

This masterplanning project by Belt Collins (HK) Ltd was for the podium landscape of a new train station and mixed use development.

HK Uni lectures 01

The Head of Hong Kong University’s Landscape Architecture department requested I join the staff in a part-time role as Assistant Professor.

Students generously voted me best lecturer for the planting design module which I taught to both year groups of the two year MLA course over 26 months.

A mixture of lectures (two series of six lectures), workshops, design reviews, model making and examinations increased the students breadth and detailed knowledge of plant physiolgy, evolution, application in design, growth behaviour and management.

The lectures also covered the history of landscape design in Europe, the Middle East and Far East with case studies based on my own sites and previous projects.

 

Lagoons District 8 lighthouse beacon

lagoon01aerMy first mega-project, The Lagoons masterplan covered 540 hectares of mixed use. The international design competition was won by Urbis Hong Kong Limited and I joined the company as Senior Landscape Architect and Project Manager.

Within a few months I had relocated to Dubai to set up the company’s Dubai branch office and was later joined by a growing professional team of designers and project managers.

Adjacent to the site lies the Ras Al Khor wildlife sanctuary; an artificially enhanced, semi-natural habitat; home to migratory flamingos and other Arabian wildlife.

I had the privilege of compiling flora and target fauna species lists, designing geophysical modelling for ecological function, recommending endemic plant species for conservation and writing a working paper with Mr. Sandy Duggie on the unique procurement strategy to be followed.

Our working papers and recommendations were accepted by the developer, Sama Dubai, the Dubai Municipality (Environmental Department), RAMSAR, WWT consultants and endorsed by a UNESCO scientist.

The project had progressed from concept design to tender, with quay walls constructed on the site creating artificial islands that were intended to be flooded with waters from the Dubai Creek… until the recession arrived, resulting in the project being placed on hold.

I sincerely hope that one day this project is fully implemented. The ecological improvements to the reserve’s buffer zone, and introduction of endemic plant species to the commercially available palette for the Gulf coast has potential to greatly enhance the ecological function of the area whilst preserving biodiversity.

The working papers I authored recommended artificial coral reef creation, the creation of Islamic art inspired salt sculptures which would utilise and neuralise the hyper saline impounded Gulf waters, and the creation of a living soil by harvesting and growing various fungi that form a symbiotic relationship with plants, reducing their stress and increasing water and nutrient absorption.

Zardeniki 01

This Prussian manor house and estate was sold and broken-up following the fall of communism. The client, an owner of a design and build landscape company in Warsaw, asked me to prepare a data collection and concept design report to aid in funding applications.

lakeview amphitheatre construction

The design  by Belt Collins HK Ltd incorporated a number of features that were the ‘signature’ of the company; an amphitheatre,  a number of garden pavilions and ornate paving patterns at footpath intersections.

I worked on the package of construction drawings and was lucky enough to visit the site during construction, located just outside Cairo.

 

Target species

mykonos 12 hrh villa

From original survey work of mesotrophic grasslands in East Anglia, to Mangrove Surveys in the Arabian Gulf to studying vegetation communities in the Cyclades, ecological surveying and ecologically functioning planting design have been important in my career from school student to professional.

I always incorporate shelters for wildlife in my garden and landscape designs, and wherever possible incorporate endemic, locally sourced plant species.

Sadly a great deal of scientific literature is ignored by landscape design professionals, and so often the same mistakes are repeated time and again, such as ignoring edaphic (soil) factors and the importance of geophysical modelling in softscape and hardscape specification as well as species selection.

I also consider that ecological improvements implemented through public landscape design and management need to be advertised to the guest or visitor through interpretation and educational awareness. Without fostering a demand for such enhancements, little will be supplied.

Boathouse 01

This famous Warsavian site, a favourite for summer al fresco dining required a revamp following the worst spring floods in living memory when the Vistula river threatened to enter the old town.

Using boathouse iconography to re-brand the signage, wayfinding, gardens, dining areas and children’s play garden, this scheme incorporated several linked gardens with the aim to additionally provide herbs, leaf salad and pumpkins for seasonal dishes and a ‘kitchen garden narrative’.

bao shan board 01

Whilst at Belt Collins International (Hong Kong) I worked on the planting palette for this urban park. The planting design included seasonally overlapping species to ensure three distinct seasonal looks (with winter dormancy) and two overlapping periods, giving five unique aesthetic displays from March to October.

axios valley 03

Whilst at Greenways Epe (Athens, Greece) I was asked to assist in compiling the Environmental Impact Assessment to select one of three potential routes for a rail line to Macedonia.

The landscape possessed stunning natural beauty, and our recommendations ensured that the engineer’s preferred direct route was massaged to protect areas we considered possessed outstanding natural beauty.