On Thursday October 3, ASLA-NY is pleased to welcome Prof. James Hitchmough to New York for the second annual Victor Stanley Lecture Series, to be held at the library of the Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen in midtown Manhattan. James is Professor of Horticultural Ecology and former department chair of landscape architecture at the University of Sheffield, in the U.K.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
James Hitchmough, PhD, has worked in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield since 1995, since 2004 as Professor of Horticultural Ecology. He was Head of Department from 2014-2018. Sheffield, which, with over 400 taught students and 35-40 PhD students is the largest Landscape Architecture Department in the UK and one of the international leaders in Landscape Architecture research, with funded research collaborations across the world.
James research has centred around developing novel approaches to public planting design, that allow for the creation of rich experiences for urban people, and habitat opportunities for native biodiversity, but at the same time, be established and managed at the lowest levels of finance, energy and other diminishing resources possible. To achieve this goal he has integrated perspectives from contemporary ecological science with design and management processes, and developed understanding through environmental psychology research as to what people might think of the resulting designed landscapes. The application of these multi-disciplinary perspectives is intended to shift existing paradigms as to what urban planting might be in the C21st in a time of climate change, sustainability and biodiversity. At the core of this however is the need to create experiences with vegetation that are at some point in time and space; extraordinary, uplifting and meaningful. A vital source of inspiration for how to design opportunity for these experiences has been to travel extensively to study the world’s most visually extraordinary temperate and Mediterranean vegetation.
He is also a practitioner, and has been involved in many of the major designed landscapes in the UK over the past twenty years. He was for example the planting design lead (with Nigel Dunnett) at the London Olympic Park from 2008-2013. Since 2010 James has worked extensively in China, where he has sought to develop more sustainable urban landscapes, in part through encouraging greater use of Chinese native, and other “more sustainable” vegetation but also through challenging design approaches that do not reflect on the culture and ecology of the places in question. In 2018 he designed one of the five “master” gardens, at the Beijing International Expo, plus the first multi species native woodland parks in China at Lotus Lake in Central Beijing. He also works at much larger scales, leading the LDA Design and Grimshaw Architecture team that in 2019 won the $2million first prize in the International Design Competition to re-imagine Longquan Shan, a 1275km2 mountain range that is being subsumed by the city of Chengdu, as a conceptually new model for a National Park.
Currently he is working with Hassell Architecture on imagining the planting for the Melbourne Arts Precinct Project. This is a $1 billion Australian regeneration project which connects 14 of the city’s premier arts and cultural institutions with a new public realm driven by rich, exciting planting, to parallel outside, the performance that takes place inside.
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