Interview by Eva Coutts
With climate change threatening the foundations upon which we build our lives, my project of the Intelligent Wilderness looks at how to create resilience in the landscape in order to withstand the growing and unpredictable pressures of the environment upon the earth.
Intelligent Wilderness harnesses both the power of natural processes and technological progress to create a landscape-based infrastructure which is capable of adapting to the changing environment. This has meant doing away with more traditional static design methodologies, which creates inflexibility in the landscape, and instead designing in a way which opens up spaces filled with opportunities for growth and change.
Recognising the landscape as a growing and ever changing entity, I have worked a lot with animation in order to express the design strategies involved in the project. Animation has allowed me to show how all of the proposed interventions are designed to work with and support the dynamic systems and processes that characterise the landscape, both existing and future.
I have also enjoyed curating my work into an online exhibition format. The process of curation has been particularly useful in communicating the many threads of the project; from the synthesis of the project, materiality, dynamic systems and process, to the technological and social sides of the landscape. This working style is definitely something I would like to continue in my practice as I think it’s key to communicating a project and bringing it to life.
The most powerful influences in this project is Bruno Latour’s work on Critical Zone Theory and Isabella Tree’s book Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm. The project uses the concept of the Critical Zone Observatory, designed to use sophisticated technologies to read and diagnose the various qualities of the surrounding landscape, and grounds it within a wilding landscape strategy. This act of restoring old connections as well as creating new ones in the landscape is a deliberate move aimed at creating resilience in the face of climate change.
I have really enjoyed meeting and connecting with likeminded people who share a passion for Landscape Architecture. Before joining the course, I didn’t have a background in Landscape Architecture and so the last two years have been a very steep learning curve for me but I have loved the process of learning the subject and realising the richness of this field of work.
I tried to adapt by focusing on improving my technical work, exploring new computer programmes to create animation and 3D models. This has been useful, however I do very much look forward to returning to a studio environment and using my new skills to complement more hands-on work.
I am planning on moving to London for employment as a graduate landscape architect. As well as exploring a new city and seeing what Landscape Architecture can do within it, I also hope to pick up my practice in sculpture again.