Alex Craven attends the Landscape Institute CPD Day

Alex Craven, Landscape Architect, recently attended the Landscape Institute’s CPD day in Birmingham. Back by popular demand, this year’s event brought landscape professionals together to present on a diverse range of subjects. Alex will be applying the knowledge gathered from the event to improve both his own professional practice and that of the rest of the landscape architecture team. Below, Alex gives his thoughts on the many different presentations from the day

Selection of Paving Materials: A tour of New Street Station

The day began with a tour of the recently completed landscape surrounding Birmingham New Street Station, by Graham Woodward of Atkins and Matthew Haslam of Hardscape who designed the scheme. Of particular interest was the seamless integration with internal spaces using a shared palette of materials. Included in this was a consistent ‘ripple’ design language which radiated from the centre of the station building out into surrounding spaces.

Participants were also shown the 83m planted green wall that stretches along Smallbrook Queensway. This was intended to provide an attractive habitat and splash of green in a largely grey city centre. Unfortunately, it could be better described as a ‘brown wall.’ Due to poor planning during the handover, from the original maintenance contractor to Network Rail, the irrigation system was turned off. This stresses the importance of good communication between all parties throughout the design and maintenance process.

Humans Habitats and Health

Why is it we put more thought into designing habitat for a great crested newt than we do for our own habitats? The speaker Marcus Grant, an Urban Designer and Landscape Architect specialising in the fields of human and planetary health, is concerned about the impact that poor design is having on our health. The negative effects of poor design are well documented yet developers and designers continue to create environments which are toxic to our mental, physical and social wellbeing. As landscape professionals, we have a duty to provide enriching spaces and places for people to enjoy and thrive in. As Marcus argued, landscape architects should consider themselves as part of the public health workforce!

Marcus’ presentation provided an excellent insight to studies and sources of information which outline the issues and solutions to this pressing problem, such as the Landscape Institute’s position paper – Public health and landscape: Creating Healthy Places.

How to Engage in a BIM Project

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is often as baffling as it is important for many construction professionals. However, lecturer Mike Shilton turned what can be a dry and confusing subject into an interesting and enlightening lecture. His talk focused on the great potential benefits of BIM in achieving good quality designs on time and to budget, the pitfalls that await the poorly organised and the opportunities it will offer in the future. The value of good communication with the client, establishment of a well-honed brief and dialogue with the maintenance teams and suppliers from an early stage, were all emphasised as important steps to a success with this important new way of working.

Soils for Landscape Construction

Tim White from Tim O’ Hare Associates, a specialist soil science consultancy, covered a variety of soil related topics that are relevant to landscape design and construction. Starting with basic principles of soil science, the session also explored technical aspects of specifying soil for various kinds of habitats and ornamental plantings.

The information on the correct specification of soils for wildflower meadows was particularly useful given the increasing popularity of these as a cost-effective alternative to traditional planting schemes. This is also relative to our extensive use of meadows within Culloden Park as part of the Smithton and Culloden flood alleviation scheme.

Want to know more?

Contact Alex Craven for more information on the CPD day and the beneficial things he learnt. You can also visit our Landscape Design and Assessment web page for more information on the variety of projects we can assist you with.

Why not take a look at our development brochure which highlights the many areas, including landscape design, that we can help you in when developing a property site.

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