Kamni Gill

Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield

email : k.gill@sheffield.ac.uk


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.

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