Neil Hobbs FAILA
AILA National President, 2007 - 2009
Neil in Edinburgh, 2007. Photo: Karina Harris
Neil is a product of the Sydney Sandstone landscapes of the north shore of Sydney Harbour. An avid frog and tadpole collector in his youth, he noticed the geographical variation in tadpoles and frogs from the creeks surrounding Pymble, Palm Beach and later the lower North Shore. This, and an interest in the flora of the Sydney region, led to work at Cedar Wattles Nursery, a small suburban nursery in McMahons Point, for Harry Howard and Helen McKay, at age 15.
Study in architecture loomed likely, until a number of architects counseled against it, at the time architecture was deep in one of its cyclical downturns. The 'new' profession of landscape architecture offered more scope.
Study in Canberra at the then College of Advanced Education followed, with a break of two years when he ran a design and construction operation in Sydney with Stuart Mackenzie and Petrina Walton.
He completed his 4th year at Canberra CAE in 1984, then worked for Harry Howard & Associates. Harry began a process of withdrawal from full time work during 1985, and Neil went back to design and construction, with his partner Karina Harris. They constructed several projects for Barbara Buchanan, including kindergartens, and private residences in the Blue Mountains.
He has worked with his partner Karina Harris in practice since the mid 1980s, in Sydney, then since 1991 in Canberra.
The practice has won several state and national AILA Awards, including the National Edna Walling award for residential design, a planning award for a new school in Canberra's north and an award for a re-vegetation project following the 2003 Canberra bushfires.
Neil is a past president of AILA, 2007-2009, and has been an AILA Board Member since 2004, and is also a governing council member of the Gallery of Australian Design.
He has other interests – in contemporary art and in gardens. He is a past chair of the Southern NSW/ACT region for Open Gardens Australia, (he remains on the committee). He is also a board member of Capital Arts Patrons Organisation, and a supporter of the School of Art at the Australian National University.
AILA Media Statement: A New National President appointed by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Sept 2007 (PDF)
Articles by Neil Hobbs
'Art at (Little) Sparta and in (Greater) Edinburgh'
LAonline Spring 2007, pp13-20.
'Great expectations are met: on finally finding Findhorn'
LAonline Spring 2007, pp 21-23.
'Sites of significance'
Landscape Architecture Australia, No. 110 May 2006, pp 49-52.
'State of their art'
Landscape Architecture Australia, No. 110 May 2006, pp 66-67.
'Book Review: On Holidays: A history of getting away in Australia'
Landscape Australia No. 108 Nov 2005, p76.
Article about the Harris-Hobbs garden
'Work in progress'
Landscape Architecture Australia No. 111 August 2006, pp51-56.