Have you ever noticed a strong interest in nature during classes, and do your students enjoy outdoor activities such as field trips? Do topics such as climate and biodiversity raise their attention? Are your students curious about architecture, and do they see it as a potential solution to climate change? Then they might be interested in becoming a Nature-Based Architect Landscape. This career profile blends scientific understanding and artistic sensitivity to respond to local design problems in the context of the global climate and biodiversity challenges of our times. It requires some skills such as research, a deep understanding of the place, collaboration, and presentation skills. If these features fit some of your students, introduce them to Roisin Byrne, a Nature-Based Landscape Architect!
Meet the professional
Roisin Byrne has a bachelor’s in Landscape Architecture from the University College Dublin and a Graduate Cert in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise. “I played collaboratively in nature as a child and worked in organic farms along with studying architecture”. Currently, she is working at Roisin Byrne Nature-Based Landscape Architecture, based in Cork, Ireland, providing consultancy services. She designs landscapes for Nature Play Areas, Nature reserves, corporate, public, NGO, and private landscapes with an emphasis on research and artistic approach inspired by nature.
Watch the interview
“It is necessary a deep understanding and research of the project you are going to tackle, especially in terms of ecological understanding and potential. Once you gather the knowledge of a particular place, then you jump into the artistic process”.
Nature-Based Landscape Architects need to be creative once they have gathered the required information about the area they are working on. They need to understand its natural elements and how to integrate them into the projects. “I push artistic boundaries and yet understand earth systems and the many complex stages of design”.
The goal of a Nature-Based Landscape Architect is to tackle climate change by improving society. So, it is necessary to commit yourself to your values to fight climate change and protect biodiversity, as well as a commitment to the area you are working on to improve it and adapt it to its ecological needs.
As a Nature-Based Landscape Architect, it is essential to present and show the project plans to stakeholders and how they are going to be developed. Therefore, feeling at ease when speaking to the public and being able to express yourself fluidly will contribute to the goals’ achievement.
“In our process, we must be highly collaborative, since we have to work with people, stakeholders, as close as possible, because ultimately the long-term viability of the place depends on this collaboration. Besides, we are trying to emphasise the collaboration with the authorities of the place”.
Willingness to Integrate
Being a Nature-Based Landscape Architect entrepreneur requires networking with fellow practitioners and entrepreneurs. “Nature-Based innovation is emerging as a field, we have found for entrepreneurs can be isolating, so it is good to connect with organisations in your field and related fields”.
Download the career sheet
Download the podcast
Advice to take away
My advice to students is that Landscape Architecture is a deeply diverse field of study and work. Framing your work to bring co-benefits to people and planet, putting nature at the core of what you do, makes your practice nature-based. If you find you are naturally passionate about our earths systems and the impact we are making, landscape architecture is a very rewarding way to contribute and respond. My advice is to do not be afraid to plant with your communities and see the impact of different plants in real time and not as an abstract concept.
CC BY 4.0: all the materials and content presented on this STEM Job profile have been co-created by STE(A)M IT, a project funded by the European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme project STE(A)M IT (Grant agreement 612845-EPP-1-2019-1- BE-EPPKA3-PI-FORWARD), in collaboration with the Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) phase 2, a pilot project initiated and funded by the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. European Schoolnet (EUN) oversees the interviewing and creating of the NBS Career Sheets, with the support of VO EUROPE.