We’re delighted to share that Mark Collins is our most recent colleague to become Chartered with the Landscape Institute. We took this opportunity to find out more about his passion for landscape architecture. Here’s what he had to say!
“Landscape architecture brings the opportunity to enhance people’s lives through connection to nature and their surroundings, for improved health and wellbeing.”
Tell us about how you came to be a landscape architect.
I came to landscape architecture late in life but have always had a fascination with people and our connection with the natural environment – whether travelling, hiking, or digging around in the garden. I progressed from a freelance career in Illustration and Graphic Design to gaining an MA in Landscape Architecture from The University of Sheffield. My MA equipped me with the invaluable insight of design theory, landscape planning and plant knowledge, ensuring a strong foundation for entering the landscape profession.
What attracted you to the profession?
Landscape Architecture combines my passion for design with the opportunity to work at the interface between landscape, architecture, and art. It brings the opportunity to enhance people’s lives through connection to nature and their surroundings, for improved health and wellbeing.
Who has helped and supported you along the way?
In terms of support, my family must be the first on the list, particularly for the patience they have shown through my MA and the Experienced Route to Chartership process. What would I do without them – my boys for their entertainment and my wife for everything! Also, and not least, my HLM Landscape colleagues Alethea Ottwell and Richard Warner for their help, advice, and vast knowledge.
What projects that you have worked on have been the most memorable/ are you most proud of?
A standout project is the recent delivery of the landscape for the University of Sheffield’s The Wave. The project provided me with the opportunity to lead on the delivery of high-quality public realm which included two ‘Pocket Parks’, with social spaces created for students and staff that are publicly accessible to all, Rain Gardens as part of a wider SUDs strategy, perennial planting and over 80 new trees. It’s looking fantastic – and the building looks quite good too!
The other project I am most proud of is the landscape and masterplanning scheme pilot, aimed at delivering new residential accommodation for Service Personnel, anticipated to begin construction next year. The approach aims to deliver a sustainable living environment with a people-focused approach, driving forward-thinking ideas centred around ‘child friendly neighbourhoods’, family life, engagement with the landscape, and sustainable transport, along with the underpinning principles of green infrastructure.
What aspect of Landscape architecture excites you the most?
My passion lies in the creation of landscape-led design that helps foster ‘Child Friendly Neighbourhoods’ which has led to implementing child focussed design principles across a broad spectrum of projects within varied sectors that include residential, public realm and large-scale commercial projects.
However, what excites me the most about Landscape Architecture is its ability to help shape the way people live for the better but also shape landscapes for the better. There is a fundamental need to embed ‘Sustainable and Climate Resilient’ processes through nature-based solutions within our designs, and as a landscape architect we have the tools to provide innovative landscape solutions and systems that provide ecologically robust and delightful landscapes for the future.