Calais project leads to Landscape Institute Award


MA Landscape Architecture student Joelle Darby recently won the Student Portfolio Prize at the Landscape Institute awards for her project ‘New Perspectives on Calais: Changing the Landscape of Migration.’

The Landscape Institute Awards are presented in appreciation of exceptional work but in by Landscape professionals. The awards shine a light on innovative projects with the intention of encouraging excellence and to increase public awareness and have been running since 2009.

Joelle’s project is an important and thoroughly researched analysis of landscape architecture’s role within modern migration. Using Calais as a case study, Joelle proposes a new typology of landscape-led temporary settlements for refugees. Speaking afterwards, Joelle explained the motivation for her project came from visiting and working at the Calais Jungle in September 2016:

“I wanted to explore what positive role a landscape architect could have in large scale displacement of people. It was clear that despite being an informal camp Calais worked as an economy and a clear streetscape and spatial hierarchy had evolved but the natural environment was under extreme stress.” 

“After demolition my project changed from working with an occupied site to looking at a new landscape-led typology of temporary settlements for refugees, using the Calais site as an example. It also addressed the legacy of a site after a refugee camp has been dismantled; with challenges like contamination of the land, social divisions between the host community and refugees, isolation of the site from Calais and the broader region and a number of deaths amongst the refugees. These came together in a design proposal for the site itself and the surrounding landscape with the aim of beginning a process of healing and building a better future.”

Joelle is studying the MA Landscape Architecture course over two years, whilst also running a small architecture practice with colleagues. Undertaking the MA has given Joelle more opportunities to get involved within landscape organisations: “I am building up more landscape work within the practice so we can offer clients a more holistic service. We enter competitions which combine landscape and architecture and I aim to develop my passion for landscape by making other opportunities perhaps by writing or becoming more involved with landscape organisations.”

“The highlight of my time on the course was being able to develop thinking and design skills with the critical support of experienced tutors. Mark Cowell, Kathryn Moore, Russell Good and Ying Lee were invaluable in this. The studio culture is also vital to your learning as you see how other people work, represent ideas and you share sources and references.”


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