Isabelle is Regional Director for our Bath studio and also Head of Landscape Architecture, a role she shares with Greg McKay.
As a Building with Nature Approved Assessor, Isabelle brings the principles of good design for wellbeing, water and wildlife to her project work and helps clients reach their biodiversity targets.
Isabelle, what is the current big trend in Landscape Architecture?
Climate adaption and biodiversity continue to be a focus for us, particularly off the back of COP27 and COP15 which both took place last year. Considering green and blue infrastructure from the outset of a project is more important than ever and goes back to first principles of fully understanding the site and its context. Landscape and urban design need to strike the balance between designing quality multi-functional spaces and delivering these in sustainable environments.
Residential and workplace sectors are pushing health and wellbeing to the core of placemaking, which in turn forces developers to think more holistically about landscape and urban design. With growing pressure on space available, and the recognised value of access to good quality external spaces post pandemic, connection to nature has become a priority. It is vital to create spaces with multiple uses that are accessible in as many different conditions as possible.
There seems to be a shift of awareness and recognition for our profession due to some of these factors, which is welcomed.
Do you have a favourite project?
It has to be Low Carbon Residences at UWE. We worked on this project though the pandemic, where we had to get to grips with switching to homeworking and deal with the lock down restrictions as well as home-schooling, which was a real challenge.
It was very interesting to develop a landscape strategy during a time where our relationship to the outside world was changing so dramatically. It forced us to think differently about how the scheme should evolve. It also highlighted the need for collaboration in order to resolve design. Now that the project is being built it will be great to see the landscape come to life.
What is the biggest challenge facing landscape design?
It is an exciting time for landscape architecture, with a global focus on environmental issues elevating our profession. There is a lot of work to be done to address the biodiversity and climate emergencies and keeping our clients and colleagues informed is the best way for us to do this. Making sure that we are involved at early stages of the project is key to the success of implementing good design.
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
Trust your instincts and stand by what you truly believe in.
- Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute, Pathway to Chartership mentor and LI exam monitor
- Building with Nature Approved Assessor
- Gardenia: Finalist entry for RIBA Letchworth International design competition ‘Re-Imagining the Garden City’ (2019)
- Met Office HPC Complex, Exeter Science Park: Science, Management & Stewardship – Landscape Institute Awards (highly commended, 2018)
- 52 Big Ideas for Bristol: Communications and Presentation – Landscape Institute Awards (highly commended, 2017)
- Locking Parklands: British Home Awards (shortlist, 2017) and Civic Trust Awards (shortlist, 2015)
- Trowbridge County Hall: Civic Building of the Year – SCALA (winner, 2013)