Our people: 5 minutes with Yasmin Alzadjally
Associate Yasmin Alzadjally joined Grant Associates in 2008 and has worked on a wide range of projects ever since, including large scale masterplanning, mixed use/housing projects, international sports venues, universities, urban regeneration, and major overseas transport infrastructure.
Within all her projects, Yasmin looks to create spaces that include everyone and that make people happy: for Yasmin, the real thrill comes from how people interact with a place, how this creates memories and captures the imagination.
Yasmin shares her thoughts on the strong feelings that purposeful landscape can evoke - and explains how attending one short lecture changed the course of her career.
When and why did you first become interested in landscape architecture?
I had never actually heard of landscape architecture until I was preparing to go to university; coming from Scotland, my absolute focus throughout school was to study at the Edinburgh College of Art and become a traditional architect. It was only after being accepted at ECA and attending an open day that I happened to join a lecture from Eelco Hooftman [partner at GROSS.MAX] on landscape architecture practice in Edinburgh. 45 minutes later, and I came straight out of this introductory lecture and applied to study landscape architecture instead of architecture!
I have always enjoyed being in nature and have a had a lifelong affiliation with landscapes, and it suddenly dawned on me just how exciting it could be to combine ecological changes and diversity with established architectural design principles. For me, everything fell into place at that moment and I knew what my career would be: I wanted to be an architect because I thought it was something I would enjoy; suddenly, I realised that I needed to be a landscape architect.
What are you most passionate about?
I love the ecological design process and that nothing is static in nature; our profession is all about how we interact with the natural world as people, and that’s what elevates landscape architecture for me.
As a practice, Grant Associates is very ecologically-driven in our design principles; natural systems and harnessing the power of plants are a driving force in many of our projects. Yet equally important for us is the social impact aspect - there needs to be a perfect balance between the two in order to create something that is truly special and loved; at the end of the day, design is only successful if it evokes strong feelings from people and helps fond memories to be formed.
For me, landscape architecture is all about designing clever spaces that help mitigate the climate emergency while supporting our mental health and giving people spaces to be social and enjoy life.
What projects are you most proud to have worked on, during your time at Grant Associates?
I’ve been lucky to work on such a rich variety of projects, both in the UK and around the world. I was proud to be closely involved with the AELTC Wimbledon masterplan and the schematic and detailed design to enhance Court One a number of years back. That was a personal highlight for me, having such a strong childhood love of Wimbledon. I also spent five years working on an international airport in India, and that was a key project in terms of becoming much more confident in my professional skillset and being involved in a project with many ecological and social aspects within a highly structured and complex design framework; to see the work that emerged from it and the creative relationships we nurtured along the way was highly rewarding.
What attracted you to join the team at Grant Associates?
I was made aware of Grant Associates and its work while I studying at ECA; I loved the ecologically-driven, process-led ethos of the practice and its innovative work, especially Gardens by the Bay. I applied as a year-out student, flew down for an interview, got accepted and the rest is history!
Where do you turn to for creative inspiration?
I have eclectic tastes and I’ve never been drawn just in a specific direction - so one amazing thing about our office is that we’re really diverse, with our people coming from all different parts of the world and bringing different inspiration and a wealth of knowledge to our projects. I’m particularly drawn to the graphic and visual design aspects of our work as a practice; I’m inspired to work in such a creative and collaborative space.
What trends do you see influencing the future of landscape architecture?
Social media has had such a huge impact over the past decade; as we all have become more socially connected through technology, vital issues that have been discussed for a long time - such as climate change and sustainability - now have a much louder and stronger voice. Young people especially are now greatly aware of the importance of protecting our world and looking after nature and landscapes, and that growing social awareness trend is now filtering down into legislation changes which is highly encouraging.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in landscape architecture?
Remember that you are always designing for people: it’s a fantastic profession to be in, especially if you are passionate about the natural world and supporting sustainability, but landscape architecture ultimately always comes down to people at the end of the day. It’s only once people create attachments and memories with a place that a space can become loved, cherished and safeguarded for future generations to enjoy. At its heart, landscape architecture is about always considering how a space will be used and interacted with by people - as building this connection into the design process is what creates truly special places, both for now and the future.
Lively minds making a liveable world…
Our continued success at Grant Associates is due to the talent and commitment of our multi-skilled team.
The practice currently employs over 70 people, from over 17 countries, across our two design studios in Bath and Singapore. The majority are qualified landscape architects, working together with architects, 3D modellers, BIM and visualisation specialists, horticulturists, designers, IT and other technicians.
We are always interested to hear from talented and enthusiastic people who would like to join our dynamic teams in both offices. Take a look at our latest vacancies and get in touch.