This is belated post to feature some content from the two AILA Fresh Studio Tours we ran in October across Melbourne and its CBD.
Myself and Veronica Carrasco each took one of the studio tours, leading a different group of enthusiastic young professionals through the day.
A big thank you goes out to Veronica for keeping me sane!
A big thank you as well to Danielle Rancourt for helping us out with the second tour review!
Both tours captured different aspects of Landscape Architecture practice, from small fledgling businesses finding their feet, through to large practices of international renown. A total of six offices were visited, with a variety of presentation methods and media.
AILA Fresh Studio Tour 01
Date: October 8, 2014
By: Nathan Collins
Tour 01 saw eleven students and graduates begin the day with a visit to Hansen Partnership, with a presentation by Anton Malishev and Jessica Gigliotti about the development of a graduate into the senior roles of an office, and generally the professional growth associated with work at Hansens. A whirlwind overview of some of their completed projects, along with a stealthy walk around the office and some ‘desktop discussions’ with some staff on the floor kept everyone interested.
Next on the agenda was Aspect Studios, which after an interesting ride on the 86 tram began with a brief introduction by Melbourne studio Director Kirsten Bauer, before an in depth conversation with Niki Schwabe about the use of digital tools, such as 3D modelling and photo realistic rendering, in contemporary landscape architecture. Niki ran us through a number of cutting edge projects where the use of modelling and visualization tools were critical in the delivery of the projects.
Lastly the team visited CoDesign Studios (literally across the road from Aspect Studios), where we met with co-founder and CEO Lucinda Hartley who ran us through the evolution of CoDeisgn, and her personal journey which led her to become interested in community oriented design. With a wide discussion ranging between the implementation strategies of community oriented design, through to the effective measures that can begin to assist with gradual change in the landscape.
The day was capped off with a few drinks at a local Smith Street haunt, with chit chat about professional life, the Royal Botanical Gardens Cranbourne (by TCL), the latest design studio and ambitions for the future. All in all a great day, with some interesting presentations that captured a wide range of practices across Melbourne.
AILA Fresh Studio Tour 02
Date: October 8, 2014
By: Danielle Rancourt BLA
33 Guildford Lane
A studio presentation was led by landscape architects Cameron Macdonald and Diane Baini which began with a brief overview of the company and presentations of featured projects designed by the OCULUS studio team. With offices in Melboune, Sydney, and the USA, OCULUS’s design team includes landscape architects, architects and urban designers who design through process and collaboration, along with both top-down and bottom-up approaches. The creation of physical models for their designs is what makes OCULUS unique as a studio, which is apparent as soon as you enter their office and see all of the models. As Di and Cam presented the featured projects, they invited individuals from the office who were involved in each project. Each professional provided intimate details of the design and how it was developed. The designs that were featured were at a range of different scales and styles, including the following: a Parks Victoria project for Studley Park in Kew where the design was communicated through a series of experiential images rather than a site plan; an intimate roof garden in Brunswick winning eight Greenstar points; and the design for the FABP building at Melbourne University where the landscape seamlessly integrates the historical buildings into the modern architecture.
143 Franklin Street
Urban Initiatives director Tim Hart and senior landscape architect Jason Isaks gave a presentation of their studio, starting with a breakdown of the design approach at Urban Initiatives and discussed in detail some of their recent significant projects that they had worked on. Urban Initiatives is proudly one of Australia’s first landscape architecture studios, with a focus on public space, urban design, playground design and large-scale projects. They have a diverse team with backgrounds in landscape architecture, urban design, architecture, industrial design and graphic design. Their design approach involves putting an emphasis on the character, history of place and site context of a project, while working closely with contractors to ensure their designs are followed through from concept to construction. Tim and Jason spoke to their studio’s design of the town of Marysville that was devastated by the bush fires in 2009, where Urban Initiatives created a meaningful master plan for the rehabilitation of their streetscape. Other featured designs included the very sincere design for the Strathewen Memorial; the Grange Reserve playground with a fun UFO play space; and modern zoo designs for the hippo exhibit at Werribee Zoo and the lemur exhibit at the Melbourne Zoo.
73 Sackville Street
Presenting their studio in a group discussion, the entire ENLOCUS team, with company principals Jason McNamee, Michael Ford, and Wade Trevean and landscape architects Ivanka Buczma and Richard Grocke spoke to their company’s design culture and approach to their projects. In contrast to the other studios visited on the studio tour, ENLOCUS is a young and emerging design firm in Australia. Their design approach involves connecting with communities and the youth within them to create social infrastructure in their projects. They also use strategies such as creating their own prototypes to prove points – for example, in their streetscape design for Pascoe Vale Road, the team manufactured their own paving stone to prove that it could be produced (in which it was successfully installed). Additionally, to ensure their unique designs are successful in their production, the team maintains close relationships with manufacturers and artisans. Other featured designs presented by ENLOCUS included the intersection of Sydney Road and Dawson Street in Brunswick with informal spaces where the user can create their own experience; Peel Street Park which was designed from a detail that evolved into a master plan; and various skateparks around Australia that are designed to unite communities.