Kamni Gill BA MEDes, MLA
Telephone: 0114 2220624
I am convinced of the importance of craft and of the final manifestation of ideas in tactile, constructed space. I am working to develop both course materials that emphasize making and give students techniques in using trees, surface, and sky as the medium of their profession.
I have peripatetic career as a landscape architect having first explored fictional and poetic landscapes as I completed a degree in English literature. After living and teaching in France, Spain and Japan, I returned to the foothills of the Canadian Rockies to feed a burgeoning interest in landscape, spatial design and cities. Philadelphia was next on the list with further study at the University of Pennsylvania where I continued to develop interests in the materiality of landscape and the creation of urban spaces, taking as much inspiration from the Atlantic coast and New England forests and bogs as I did from New York, Boston and Philadelphia.
A widely varied 15 years in practice followed with projects ranging from highly crafted residential work to large-scale waterfronts and regional habitat restoration projects. A move to Lausanne, Switzerland put me in the shadow of the Alps and the light of Lake Geneva where I maintained a small practice working on projects such as a neighborhood picnic park and with a business school to develop biodiversity site strategy for their campus. Two years ago, I was finally able to return to teaching in Sheffield and am looking forward to exploring both new academic and geographic landscapes in Yorkshire.
LSC117 Presentation, communication and research skills (digital media portion)
Postgraduate Taught Masters and Masters in Landscape Architecture
LSC 6005 Special Projects Design/Design
My current research interests can be grouped into three broad themes: landscape representation and process, landscape criticism and materiality and construction and design pedagogy.
Environmental imperatives demand a vision of design that is process based. This view of the practice was particularly evident to me during four years of work at Hargreaves Associates, a landscape architecture firm and at the Bioengineering Group, an ecological restoration firm based in Massachusetts Hargreaves in particular could be considered a design laboratory, where proposals were actively tested in situ through work, for example, with the Army Core of Engineers and through an iterative process of model-making and consultation with hydrologists and ecologists. At the Bioengineering Group, I worked closely with a geomorphologist to determine the plan of a salt water estuary based on a regional analysis of local stream form. Each sketch, each proposed variation in its path give rise to different conditions of wetness and dryness, different degrees of salinity different plant communities and different potentials for deposition or wave action…it was revelatory, as the design of a multiplicity of environments.
The techniques involved in making such models and drawings are a means of understanding the processes enacting upon a site erosion, flooding, excavation and deposition. I am currently investigating the drawings and projects of several key practitioners to explore how design process may lead to more nuanced site interventions through a book chapter on movement and most principally through my role as editor of the Thinking Eye section of the Journal of Landscape Architecture.
An engagement with urban and natural processes through design underscores the relational, interdisciplinary nature of contemporary landscape architecture practice and the potential to combine ideas, places and processes in new ways. Landscape shapes and is shaped by human imagination and is a cultural field as much as an ecological or natural one. Landscape architectural criticism advances practice through a careful reading of existing projects or through theoretical design propositions that offer alternatives to current thinking and practices. It synthesizes and situates written and built work within a framework that begins to suggest new strategies and ideologies for developing landscape architectural projects. I am currently contributing in varying roles, to current discussions on landscape architectural criticism in TOPOS, the International Journal of Landscape Architecture and more recently to the Harvard Design Magazine.
In the end, much comes down to a built project. I convinced of the importance of craft and of the final manifestation of ideas in tactile, constructed space. I am working to develop both course materials that emphasize making and give students techniques in using trees, surface, and sky as the medium of their profession. My own research in this area will explore surface and archetype in landscape architecture through detailed construction and I am currently developing funding proposals to complete a series of small built projects in addition to an construction exhibition of young practitioners.
My teaching activities reflect my interests in urbanism, landscape architecture and materiality and the positive, thoughtful role digital technologies can play in developing a design proposal.
In a recent talk, landscape architect Richard Weller criticized his own education in Australia, saying that what he sought was to be…”engaged in the richness of the world.” I would like to suggest here that within the developing context of landscape architecture both as a profession and as undergraduate and graduate education, being engaged in the richness of the world constitutes a powerful ethos. To act within the landscape, to inhabit it, to engage its richness as an student and as a design professional—or indeed any kind of professional-- is to grapple with complex cultural processes and natural and constructed systems. It requires both imaginative rigor and technical virtuosity; qualities I aspire to develop in students—with a lot of work on their part and collaboration with colleagues on mine.
I have been involved in a wide range of design projects; the principle ones are:
Renens railway park, Lausanne, CH
Laurent Perrier Garden Show, first prize, Lausanne
Alewife stormwater wetland, Cambridge, MA
MIT Stata Center, Cambridge, MA
Clinton Presidential Park, Little Rock, AR
Fresh Kills Competition Team at Hargreaves Associates
University of Cincinatti Master Plan
Cincinnati Art Museum Courtyard
Large Parks Exhibition, tutor
13-Acres schoolyard park, third place
West Philadelphia Landscape Project, with Anne Spirn
Earthwork, A Garden of Reversals, Exhibition, Calgary, Canada
Department of Landscape PGT Admissions
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