TCL Launches New Book


TCL launched ‘Making Sense of Landscape’ last fortnight, with four events held in Adelaide and Melbourne.

‘Making Sense of Landscape’ is a comprehensive document which thoroughly informs the reader of the innovative and creative design process that TCL employs in its groundbreaking projects.”
–  Gordon Goff, Publisher, ORO Editions, (Making Sense of Landscape distributor)

The book launches were hugely successful thanks to our valued clients, peers, collaborators and media that attended.

We would particularly like to thank our guest speakers in Adelaide

  • Adelaide’s Right Honourable Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood who launched the book on 20 March at North Terrace, outside the Art Gallery of South Australia;
  • Nick Mitzevich the Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia launched the book in the evening of the 20 March outside the TCL Adelaide Studio under the Jacarandas.

and in Melbourne

  • Victorian Government Architect Geoffrey London who launched the book on 28 March at Melbourne Museum’s Forest Gallery amongst the cores of the bell birds.
  • Ian McDougall the Director of ARM Architecture launched the book last Friday night at the TCL Melbourne Studio to a sea of TCL colleges and friends.

For all book purchase enquires please contact the TCL studio at

TCL’s Adelaide Book Launch – Art Gallery of South Australia and TCL Studio Adelaide:

TCL’s Melbourne Book Launch – Forest Gallery Melbourne Museum and TCL Studio Melbourne:

More details on the publication can be heard on the The Plan’s interview with Kate Cullity.


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Mardi Gras GAYTM

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The Office Landscape – final year project by Nigel Reichenbach

What are the values of urban landscapes beyond nature and play?

The future of landscape architecture lies within the answer to this question, and the Office Landscape seeks to provide an alternative.

Think back to your last great weekend outdoors. Soon it’s a sunny Monday morning and you’re dreading going back to the office. What if you could enjoy the sun and work?

Enter Office Landscape.


The soon to be vacated Royal Adelaide Hospital site was seen as an ideal opportunity to explore the idea of an outdoor office landscape, providing a large post-industrial site on the edge of Adelaide’s CBD. Adelaide has a mild Mediterranean climate, with an average of 82 rain days and average temperature 12.2-22.3 degrees, making it appropriate for working outside.

The layout of the office field was inspired by the work of Team Quickborner in the 1960s, who created interior Office Landscapes. This was combined with Archigram’s No-Stop City, as a way to take the interior Office Landscape across the continuous outside landscape.


The Office Landscape needed interruptions, much the same as the landforms that stop the No-Stop City. Landforms were spread across the site and then subtracted to create courtyards and meeting spaces. Screens, planting beds and mounds further intersect the landscape, providing an intimate feel to a comprehensive complex. A large green roof canopy spreads across the site, providing covered office areas and more importantly, a continuation of the parklands above the site.

 The Office Landscape experiments with a landscape that is not just recreational, but occupational. It seeks to provoke new ways to use the landscape, to break out of the nature/play dichotomy, but most importantly of all to give all those office workers a better Monday morning.


-final year project by Nigel Reichenbach-

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OpenRAH: Urban Forum for Science, Culture and Society

Earlier this year the Royal Adelaide Hospital Site Open Ideas International Design Competition was launched, calling for ideas for the redevelopment of the existing Royal Adelaide Hospital site on the corner of North Terrace and Frome Road in Adelaide.

As part of the second stage of the RAH Competition, TCL partnered with Bonhag and De Rosa to develop their Stage 1 submission, OpenRAH – Urban Forum for Science, Culture and Society.


A key to this scheme is the open, permeable nature of the site and its buildings and the mixed-use nature of the redevelopment. The reuse of existing buildings, modified to make the ground floor porous, form the majority of the built work. This use of existing structures is not only environmentally responsible but also economically viable, and reflects the cultural history of the site. There are a series of new buildings to the centre of the site, built using environmentally responsible methods and providing the framework for a productive vertical landscape.


This productive landscape will be maintained using cultivation techniques rooted in sustainable agricultural practice, utilising waste from the site as a resource and creating closed loop processes to sustain the health of the whole system. These systems encompass soil, plant and water use and re-use, as well as the use of aquaponic systems to enrich soil fertility and increase crop production.

As part of this second stage, each entry is eligible to win the people’s choice award. All entries can be viewed and voted for on the ODASA website:

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Landscape Musings: AILA Cultivate


As part of AILA Cultivate Committee’s new aim– to strengthen connections between design theory and practice in landscape architecture & urban design– a group of us have kicked off the first session of Landscape Musings with some some theoretical essays to get the discussions going (along with a glass or two).

We read an article by Elizabeth Meyer on the design of a “slow landscape” in New Zealand Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects‘ (NBWLA), Nick’s Head Station, which incorporates agricultural, conservation and cultural landscape uses.

Meyer, Elizabeth (2009/10), ‘Slow Landscapes: A New Erotics of Sustainability’, Harvard Design Magazine 31, Harvard University Graduate School of Design.


Meyer undertakes not only a formal analysis of the project but also an analysis of the process the firm undertook to reach this thrice award winning outcome in the recent NZILA Awards, which has clearly excited many. She believes the designers, in their restoration of this degraded agrarian landscape, have made design decisions that encompass ‘multiple agendas ecological, economic, sociocultural and aesthetic’ in what may be a broader cultural shift towards a more ‘sustainable’ ideal of beauty, where the slow ecological benefits of an evolving conservation landscape are recognized.

Kate Soper’s essay gives more depth to the critique of the aesthetics of consumption vis-a-vis sustainability discourse. Soper, like Meyer, calls for a redefinition of sustainability and its aesthetics, not as an altruistic act of environmental concern but ‘self-regarding gratifications of consuming differently: to a new erotics of consumption or hedonsitic ‘imaginary.’ Both essays invite us as designers to imagine our role in the design of spaces that not only engage and challenge but also delight. 


As it was our first session of Landscape Musings there was more of a focus on introductions and general discussions about current landscape issues in Melbourne. The controversial East-West toll link came up which has since received strong opposition in submission by AILA, also referenced in an article published in The Age.

The next musing will be held on Thursday the 15th of August and details will be posted through AILA newsletters. We will discuss the following two articles, one of which can be viewed online the other will most likely require accessing a university library catalogue:

ESSAY 1: Charles Waldheim  Notes Toward a History of Agrarian Urbanism

ESSAY 2: Cameron Tonkinwise Practicing Sustainability by design: global warming politics in a post-awareness world, Parsons Fall 2007

Email to receive express interest in being involved and receive invites to these events.

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IFLA Congress 2013 – Auckland NZ

IFLA 2013 World Congress took place in Auckland, 10th – 12th April.   A number of the TCL team were able to attend the conference and our musings are recorded below.

Field Trips

As part of the IFLA 2013 conference, delegates were given a chance to participate in a range of field trips. Some had an urban focus, some were culturally focused, and some were focused on ecology.

Tiritiri Matangi – Kate Dekok

The field trip to Tiritiri Matangi focused on landscape and ecological restoration and conservation through planting and predator eradication.

Tiritiri Matangi 01

The island of Tiritiri Matangi had suffered through 120 years of vegetation clearing for farming, until in 1984 a program of revegetation was undertaken. In the space of ten years volunteers planted upwards of 280,000 trees and eradicated all mammalian predators from the island, allowing native birds to be re-established on the island in safety. The simplicity of the revegetation effort was inspiring. Mike Cole, the Landscape Architect on the project, put in place a plan to plant trees to provide strategically placed perches for birds to sit and deposit seeds they had ingested to further propagate the forest. The trees planted by volunteers were propagated from the trees already on the island, maximising their chance of survival in the familiar environment and utilising resources already available. This understanding and use of natural systems has seen the island’s ecosystems flourish, and the reintroduced bird species are recovering, so much so that some bird populations from Tiritiri Matangi are being translocated to other sanctuaries around the area to re-establish their populations.

Tiritiri Matangi 03

Tiritiri Matangi is an inspiring experience, which proves the effectiveness of knowing and utilising the systems that you’re working within, and highlights the potential of grass roots regeneration projects.


Adventures of Rangitoto Island - Alex Lock

rangitotoThis tour took me to the youngest dormant volcano in Auckland’s volcanic fields. Rangitoto Island got its name from the Māori meaning ‘Bloody sky’ referring to the ‘the days of the bleeding of Tama-te-kapua,’ a Māori chief, & the wounds he received during a battle. It now boasts upon Auckland’s skyline as a great iconic gesture & a reminder of the beautiful yet potentially tenuous landscape.

The volcanic landscape supports over 200 species of moss, plants and trees including the largest Pohutukawa forest in the world nestled into the lava crops finding advantageous crevices to capture the water as there are no natural waterways on the island and therefore they must rely on rain events alone.

The Islands’ unique geological, natural and cultural attributes mean it has undergone a colourful history pertinent to both European and Māori influence and it now rests with great significance to New Zealand’s recognition of place.


Gibbs Farm - Nicky McNamara

The IFLA field trip to Gibbs Farm was an exciting opportunity to see some internationally significant, large scale sculpture.  When visiting a sculpture park like this I expected something like Heide Gallery in Melbourne, Louisiana in Denmark or Storm King in New York. Gibbs farm is different, it is a private sculpture park owned by Alan Gibbs wealthy business man who develops amphibious military machinery.

The site is 1000 acres and employs 40 staff. Our guide was Garth Falconer, director at Reset Urban Design; who has been involved in the project for the last 20 years. Initially he would design and document circulation networks, earthworks and planting schemes but every couple of years the client inspired by a recent trip abroad would have a change of mind resulting in rapid and dramatic changes involving large scale earthworks and replacing large numbers of trees, so now Garth just meets with Gibbs twice a year to discuss future ideas.


We could see signs or these sudden changes and different ideas across the site. It was a kind of pastoral landscape with perfectly mown grassed rolling topography and awkwardly placed copses of trees that seemed dwarfed by the grounds.

The sculptures sit very boldly in the site. Gibbs asked the artists to do produce their biggest work for his collection, something they hadn’t done before. Though the artworks themselves were amazing there didn’t seem to be a strong relationship between them, the character, physicality of the site or its broader context. There was little sense of journey, revealing, unfolding or narrative. I should say that I started to appreciate the quirky fun nature of the place and a couple of works did consider site. One being the 10 million dollar Richard Serra which runs 30 metres long, 6 metres above and 6 metres below the ground and was built in a German ship yard. It followed a single contour wrapping, dipping and folding into the sculpted ground. (In saying that, it would have been impossible to have a Richard Serra which would not respond site.)

The other was the Andy Goldsworthy stone arches that set off into the shallow mangrove waters and let the rise and fall of tide mark its sides. However again these works did not have a relationship to other works, vegetation or fit into a story of the site as a whole.

As a group of landscape architects we struggled with 2 things; The first being that such a significant collection of sculpture could be essentially private, only opening to the public once a month with a 6 month waiting list.  Secondly that the space and works could have come together in a manner that is not lead by spatial experience or strictly adhering to a masterplan.

Ending our 4 hour walking tour feeding giraffes from the farm which contains zebras, emu’s, sheep, yaks and an elk, should not have come as a surprise. It only enhanced the bizarre sense that you are in the back yard of an extravagant man who likes sculpture.  The wonderful thing about a private collection is that you are invited to experience the personality of the collector. Alan Gibbs owns these artworks and land, so he can do whatever pleases him. Can’t he?



Alex Calder  – Jen Lynch

Alex Calder (University of Auckland) discussed the conflicting narratives of improvement and ruination evoked by the “pioneer,” a figure Kiwis often use to express their centuries-long relationship with the New Zealand landscape and the sense of degradation that is implicitly coupled with progress. In Herbert Guthrie-Smith’s Tutira, a 400-page record of minute alterations to the landscape of a sheep station over time, Calder identifies a model for the “pioneer” that escapes this progress/ruin binary—sleeping sheep and the landscape that emerges in their wake.


Guthrie-Smith writes, “If this volume has a value, it is because of its insistence on the cumulative effects of trivialities.” Guthrie-Smith and Calder both argue that the transformation of New Zealand’s landscape has taken place slowly over time through the repetition of inconsequential actions. For Calder, the sleeping preferences of sheep described by Guthrie-Smith best illustrates this phenomenon. As sheep burrow into the ground nightly to sleep, they form microtopographic patterns across the landscape. The interaction of this microtopography with climate dynamics results in a gradual transformation of the countryside. The sheep, as pioneers, are “streams of tendency,” not the blazing torch of manifest destiny; the plants that take root in the sheeps’ wake are just as much “pioneers,” opportunistically colonizing the changed landscape and influencing the movements of the sheep in turn.

By scaling to the micro, everyday, and multiple narratives of the sheep station, Calder finds an interactivity that defies binaries (nature/culture, progress/ruin). This raises several questions in relation to landscape architectural practice—about the value in shifting focus towards longer-term maintenance and management of landscapes, in applying ideas like emergence and resilience to a smaller scale, in rethinking the expression of cultural identity through designed and vernacular landscapes, and in exploring a typology that involves an embodied, long-term engagement with a landscape that is slowly and consciously nurtured as it, by nature, changes—the garden.


Thomas Woltz - Lisa Howard

Thomas Woltz, of Nelson Byrd Woltz (NBW), presented on Hybrid Vigor: Beauty, Performance and Resilience in the work of NBW.

Woltz gave a very entertaining presentation on the work he has been doing in America, and more locally in New Zealand.  The projects he presented varied in scale from detailed winery landscapes, to large urban parks, to vast farmlands in New Zealand.  The way the work was presented, the designs appeared to have a simplicity of detail creating enticing and picturesque project images.

Woltz spoke about the Citygarden project in St Louis, a town desperately needing revitalisation. The Gateway Foundation supported the development of a free, public sculpture park in the heart of the city, where NBW worked with a team of designers to transform the heart of the city.  “The design derives from the cultural and natural histories of St. Louis and its environs”.


By contrast, Orongo Station in Poverty Bay is  a 3000 acre sheep farm.  Woltz spoke about the importance of working with ecologists on projects of this magnitude and ecological sensitivity.  The site was culturally and historically rich, and NBW worked with different environmental mechanisms to reveal and restore the site.  The team set up structured burnings of plots, to allow a regeneration of the local plant species that existed in the meadows; they relocated a lizard to the site returning it to its natural habitat; and planted over 600,000 trees to restore the coastline to the pre-Maori ecology.   Away from the sensitive coastline, a more detailed and designed landscape approach was taken to the house surrounds.  For me the project had an inspiring balance between ecological restoration, and formal designed landscapes.

The combination of ecological processes and design was inspiring.  In Australia these elements still appear to be disparate. Landscape Architects have the opportunity to combine the processes and when they do, it seems that richer and more intricate designs are created.


Parallel Indigenous Session – Anne-Marie Pisani

The session involved initially listening from various speakers who are well regarded in their various fields of study and work, talk about their indigenous perspective and connection to their land(scape).

The session started with the first speaker speaking purely in Maori for what seemed to be at least 10 minutes. (I understand that Maori people are given as long as they like to give you their introduction in language.) Imagine the cultural strength that this would give the Australian Indigenous community – what a different (and much richer) country we would all live in.


Listening to the Maori spoken language for an extended time seemed to immerse you into their culture, and as a first time visitor to New Zealand I felt like I was being lead on a spiritual journey. Although I didn’t understand a word of it, I was able to feel the spiritual connection that the speaker had with their culture, their land and their people. We were later informed that most of what is spoken in Maori as an introduction is to inform others about the land that they identify with, which helps keep the culture strong through the generations. Interestingly, Indigenous Australians identify themselves in respect to their family first and country second.

The second session involved talks, questions and discussions about understanding indigenous landscape concepts in the context of the challenges that the Maori community, culture, and also the discipline of landscape architecture faces in New Zealand in the current times. The various questions raised in this second session made me realise, that as strong as the Maori culture is in New Zealand, there is still uncertainty about the most appropriate methods of consulting and working with the Maori people.  This made me think – if there is this local uncertainly (even from within our industry) in collaborating with the Maori culture which appears to be very strong to a first time visitor – then how is this collaboration/consultation understood and worked through with our own Indigenous Australians? Maybe we too as an industry have a lot more questions that have yet to be raised or addressed.

The end of the session was concluded with a sung prayer, that was strongly joined in by all the speakers and audience participants who knew it, with such gusto and pride. I think the Australians in the audience were taken a little by surprise  – if this session was held in Australia – what would be the percentage of the audience joining in with singing our National anthem or a holy prayer? I am guessing a much lower percentage. Where is our pride in the culture of our land?


Michael Pawlyn – Simone Bliss

Michael Pawlyn established Exploration in 2007. He is an Architect interested in the role of bio- mimicry as a design tool.

Throughout his lecture titled ‘bio-mimicry in Architecture’ he argued that if we can learn to create architectural environments the way nature does, we will improve on the use of our resources and energy use.

He discussed three key principles as the role of positive sustainability:

  • Radical increases in resource efficiency
  • Creating closed loop systems throughout the design process rather than a linear system
  • Changing from a fossil fuel economy to a solar economy.

Throughout his presentation, Michael referred to nature as a catalogue of products, thousands of years of research that we can apply to any design brief. Nature is a proven precedent, it’s a magnitude of information spans the micro scale to the macro. Similarities between natural forms such as a snail and the universe show us how these natural systems can be morphed and warped into a site of any given scale.

Namib desert beetle in Sossuvlei

Michael discussed in detail a project called the Eden project, located in Cornwall, England. Here, they take inspiration from soap bubbles to inform the buildings surface while pollen grains and carbon molecules helped to create a structural integral and breathable building.

Super-efficient roof systems based on the form of water lilies, water collection systems stemming from the shape of a desert beetles’ shell and water conservation models aided by the camels carefully articulated nasal system were all examples put forward of natural forms influencing built outcomes.

In mature ecosystems an important bio-mimicry process is symbiotic clusters. Michael discussed a greenhouse located in the UAE where they have been successfully able to remediate the deserts soil conditions and create new growth. Solar tracking panels trap solar energy while salt water collects on the roof. The salt is removed from the water to allow its use for irrigation. Calcium carbonate (found in salt water during its crystallising state) is collected and turned into building blocks that in turn capture Carbon dioxide within the air, a fine example of a closed loop system.

Michael’s key principle is that studying nature is fundamental to our search for sustainability. Sustainability should not be talked about in a negative sense, instead, it is a tool to excite and enjoy this period of innovation. At the conclusion of his presentation, Michael was asked by an IFLA attendee “why aren’t you king of the world?” I too would ask the same thing.

Further reading:

Adrian McGregor – Elly Russell

Adrian McGregor (McGregor Coxall, Sydney) approached the conference topic at a refreshingly macro scale, interrogating the profession of landscape architecture vis-a-vis global environmental and social changes. Research conducted by McGregor Coxall’s design research engine, the BioCity Studio, provided analysis and speculation about the intersection of these large-scale issues with the profession, and the firm’s work illustrated an engagement with these ideas at a site scale. However, the connection between research and larger scale design proposals has not yet been made.

McGregor’s talk, entitled “Biomimicry,” addressed global concerns like population growth, peak oil, and the need to embrace renewable resources, arguing for a change in scope to a larger landscape scale. He illustrated this challenge with a local case study, citing the ever-expanding boundary of western Sydney. He made a strong call for planners to take a greater responsibility in controlling urban boundary growth, increasing housing densities, and retaining this fertile land for food production. Despite the strong argument for thinking and operating at this macro-scale, the role of the landscape architect in this manner was not clearly identified.

Ballast Point Park, McGregor Coxall Landscape Architects

In a different thread of the talk, McGregor discussed the importance of landscape architecture at the intersection of culture, design, and ecology, citing a selection of the office’s award winning designs: the Caltex lubricant production facility known as Ballast Point and BP Park, both post industrial park conversions. The role these projects play in providing public amenity within the urban environment of Sydney was clearly conveyed but the connection between the concept of Biomimcry and these selected projects was not drawn.

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Calligraphic Road 1


Calligraphic Road 1

By Kate Cullity

 3 x 2.7m

Digital Print on Polypropylene Paper

I am obsessed with observing and making patterns.

Evolutionary scientists confirm that  we are genetically wired to find connections and compose patterns as  a way of making  sense of the world and that rings true for me. Mining for beauty is also another interest as  it allows the mundane to sing.  I also like to collaborate,  so it’s been good to make work with Emily Taylor,  artist and photographer and Enoch Liew a  recent graduate in Landscape Architecture and a computer whiz.

For years now I’ve  noticed calligraphic patterns  in unusual places and one of my  favourites  is tar mending  on damaged roads.

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