Tag: landscape masterplanning

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

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.

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.


Most of my private commissions result in hand drawn plans and reports. I usually work on trace paper with ink, copy the original onto paper and hand colour the paper print with pantone and pro-marker inks.

For computer rendered drawings I prefer the initial drawing layer to still be hand-drawn black and white base.

The coloured original is then scanned and annotated, often submitted as part of a data collection and concept to design development report submission.

The scale, complexity and content of the drawings closely reflects the Client’s brief and budget.

Sydney Harbour possesses some of the most iconic landmarks in the world, and Sydney-siders are understandably proud and protective of their heritage. The team proposal for Darling Harbour was as much a planning and land use exercise as it was about landscape beautification.

As well as working on the submission, I had the pleasure of being asked to hand deliver to the competition organisers in Sydney, a metre square model which was made in China. However, just as I had cleared passport control at Sydney International Airport, to my horror, I saw the luggage handler push it along a conveyor belt and watched aghast as it fell to the floor! Needless to say, I spent that evening in the hotel room with a lot of glue and a lot of patience. The model was nonetheless delivered on time.