australian institute of landscape architects   AILA® 
January 2005.

ANDREW CHRISTIE AILA

Landscape Architect

His fascination with garden design while undertaking a horticulture course in Sydney led to Andrew Christie becoming a Landscape Architect.He went on to study at the (then) Canberra College of Advanced Education, now University of Canberra, graduating in 1986.

"I realised that I was enjoying the design aspect of the horticulture course that I was doing part time and went straight from that to the full time course at the University".

He had previously worked as a stage hand and then camera man at Channel 10 for several years and thought horticulture seemed like a good alternative.

He took geography, technical drawing and commerce at school, which fitted well with his horticultural studies for Landscape Architecture. "Having been in the work force for a few years I enjoyed the design studio atmosphere at Canberra where we got to be creative and play with coloured pencils and textas.

 

 
project work illustrated by 'Out In The Open'
 

Andrew and his wife Cath Renwick ran a small practice called Out in the Open. Although they create housing designs and urban parks, they specialise in interpretation in landscape contexts, working with national parks in particular. "We interpret sites, and design visitor facilities including masterplanning for tourist drives, picnic and camping areas and lookouts."

"Landscape Architects play a major role in what happens outdoors and have the potential to shape the way our society places itself on the land. As professionals, we consider all the influences on a landscape when we are planning and designing.

The difference between Landscape Architecture and Architecture is that each design is unique, becoming part of the site and responding to its topographical and environmental issues."

"We use CAD (computer aided design) extensively as we find it very efficient to use.

 

 

 

 

project work illustrated by 'Out In The Open'

One of the most memorable projects Andrew and Cath worked on was at a national park with an important Aboriginal cultural site on the south coast of New South Wales. "This was very interesting and satisfying, but it involved a steep learning curve as the brief kept changing because of the complex cultural issues.

We worked closely with an Aboriginal ranger who is also a senior community man. This was the first job we had done like this and we learned a lot about collaborating with communities which we have been able to apply in subsequent projects."

"We now do quite a lot of work with Aboriginal communities. Cath has written a book with the Wreck Bay community in New South Wales on plant use and early life in the community."

After graduating, Andrew worked for the National Capital Development Commission in the ACT for a year and went to London to work for a large international firm. "They had a large building in the city with four floors of landscape architects - it was the largest grouping of landscape architects I had seen outside a national conference we had an Australian ghetto on the top floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

project work illustrated by 'Out In The Open'
 

After a year, Andrew returned to Canberra and worked for Australian Construction Services, which was responsible for many of the government buildings in Australia and embassies overseas. Although he travelled within Australia he was often designing for sites he had not seen in places like Hanoi and Pohnpei.

Andrew is proud of the design of the courtyards at the R G Casey Building that houses the Department of Foreign Affairs, completed during his work with Australian Construction Services. "It was a large and complicated project which stretched out over a number of years - I think it worked out well in the end."

Andrew returned to study and obtained a Graduate Diploma in Resource Management from the University Canberra in 1996 and he and Cath began their own firm in 1997.

Currently he is finishing off a project to rehabilitate a public housing area in suburban Canberra. "The complex original plan has led to social problems in the public spaces. We are working closely with the architects re-arranging the streets and open space to overcome issues of crime, to make the open space more visible and give the houses a better address to the street.

We are improving the streetscapes and reinstating the streets as public realms not just places for cars but places for people use and interact in."


2009 update - Andrew is now an Associate with JPW in Sydney

 

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