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Michal Zarzecki in the series 10 Questions for Landscape Architects.

14 of April '23

"10 Questions for Landscape Architects" is a series of short talks inspired by the series „10 Questions for...”. This time our attention is turned to landscape architects and architects. In today's episode, landscape architect Michal Zarzecki talks about his approach to design.

1 Landscape Architecture in one sentence is....

... In a nutshell, Landscape Architecture encompasses all aspects of the science, planning, design, implementation and management of landscapes.

2 The most underrated aspect of landscape architecture is...

... The fact that our role exceeds the bounds of aesthetics or soft landscape design. Even in England, where I live and work, many developers and other construction professionals still see us that way and associate our work with garden design. Utter madness!

3 The most inspiring space for you is....

... One that is shaped by the local conditions, from which I can learn what works truly sustainably.

4. most important book related to landscape architecture?

I tend to read more papers than landscape architectural books, but the book I used to reach for most often was „Plant User Handbook: A Guide to Effective Specifying” by James Hitchmough and Ken Fieldhouse. I am still on a hunt for my own copy.

5. the most inspiring figure is....

... I”m not able to pinpoint one but rather in general I am inspired and motivated by those researchers or practitioners who managed to understand and transpose the patterns of nature into design principles, such as Ingo Kowarik, Claus Mattheck, Piet Oudolf or Akira Miyawaki — to name a few.

6 I start the design process by ....

... A study of the local evidence base, landscape character, constraints and background. In England, most local planning authorities have supplementary planning documents (SPDs) in which they set out what they expect to see in planning applications, including regarding landscape and biodiversity, so these tend to be high on my „due diligence” reading list.

7 Favorite moment while working is....

... In a regular project, it”s seeing the site in operation; ideally some time after handover, when plants have matured and people interact with the space. But sometimes a site is so captivating that I make the most of access and explore every nook and cranny, every bit of some derelict structure or simply enjoy the sense of tranquility somewhere remote.

8 The most important realization in your career is....

... I think one like that is still ahead of me. But, to leave some content here, if I consider a project that has given me most challenges and experience I would say it was pedestrianisation of Dukes Street in Woking, England, which I completed with my previous employer, before setting up on my own.

9. dream project is?

Having spent a chunk of my childhood and adolescence roaming colliery spoil tips in Silesia, it was the reclamation of such post-industrial wasteland for nature conservation or recreation that inspired me to pursue landscape architecture. A project like that is still on my wish list though.

10 Favorite plant is?

I would say Viburnum opulus, the guelder rose, is my fave.

asked Wiktor Bochenek

The vote has already been cast