UNSW Built Environment Landscape Architecture: Ali Gates

2 04 2009

Hi! I’m Ali Gates.   I’m 20 years old and I’m currently a 3rd year student studying Landscape Architecture at UNSW Built Environment.

I chose to study Landscape Architecture after I left school because I enjoyed doing design in art and learning about plants in biology. I thought Landscape Architecture would teach me more about these things, and it has! I’ve also learnt plenty of other things in the last two years:  like how landscape architecture developed as a profession, how people interact with different spaces and how to design for construction.

One of the best things about our program is that it is really balanced.  We often have classes out doors or have field trips to different sites, which is a nice change from sitting in a classroom.  The course is also covers many components of landscape architecture, from learning history to plant studies, construction, design and how to practice as a professional.

As part of our degree we also have to complete two blocks of work experience.  Currently I am working at JMD Design, which is a Landscape Architecture firm in Leichhardt.  This has been a great experience as I’ve been able to see how things work in the real world.  I’ve worked on a range of different projects from school grounds to street scapes, public parks and private developments. Working at JMD has also helped me with my uni work as some of what I have learnt there we are only learning at uni now.

This semester our task is to redesign the grounds at Coogee Public Primary School. This Project has been great fun so far as we are approaching this design very differently – from the perspective of the kids.  We have to think like the students at Coogee Primary to design a space which is engaging and suited to this age group.  Currently we are still developing our concept for the school.  Here is an example of one of my concepts so far:
Concept for Coogee Public Primary School

My aim here is to create a series of ‘outdoor classrooms’, multi-use spaces the kids can play in and the teachers can use to teach in outdoors!  As you can see I like to do sketches by hand, but lots of other people like using the computer to create images.  We are encouraged to work to our strengths.  In three weeks we present our final idea to the teachers and student council at Coogee Public.  I’ve still got a long way to go but I’ll keep you updated!

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