AILA Victorian Landscape Architecture Awards 2018: Q&A with Hansen Partnership's Steve Schutt

AILA Victorian Landscape Architecture Awards 2018: Q&A with Hansen Partnership's Steve Schutt
AILA Victorian Landscape Architecture Awards 2018: Q&A with Hansen Partnership's Steve Schutt

Continuing with the theme of the 2018 Victorian Landscape Architecture Awards, Urban.com.au caught up with Steve Schutt, Director of Landscape Architecture at Hansen Partnership, who works on a variety of landscape projects both in Australia and overseas. 

Hansen Partnership received the Urban Design Award of Excellence for Victoria Square in Kerang and the Parks and Open Space Landscape Architecture Award for Williams Reserve in Richmond.

AILA Victorian Landscape Architecture Awards 2018: Q&A with Hansen Partnership's Steve Schutt
Victoria Square in Kerang took home the Urban Design Award of Excellence. Image: Andrew lloyd

Urban.com.au: Tell us about Hansen Partnership and its design philosophy.

Steve Schutt: Hansen Partnership is a multidisciplinary planning and design practice based in Melbourne and working on projects throughout Victoria, Tasmania and internationally through our office in Vietnam. Our landscape architecture team aims to deliver creative, functional and attractive places for people. We take a site-responsive approach, with a strong focus on achieving environmentally sustainable outcomes, combining creativity and precision to ensure a smooth delivery into built reality.

We work collaboratively with clients to design places and spaces that incorporate the use, occupation and enjoyment of external environments. We design solutions that create, improve or rejuvenate external spaces, with a focus on considering the needs of the individuals, groups or communities who will occupy and enjoy those spaces.

U: Hansen Partnership works on metropolitan projects such as Williams Reserve and Windsor Village as well as projects in regional Victoria. How do these differences affect the landscape design?

SS: Every project requires a tailored approach to design, as every site is unique. Our work is strongly influenced by context, and that cuts across physical context, environmental context and social context. We approach every new project with an open mind and we consciously avoid pre-prescribed outcomes for projects.

AILA Victorian Landscape Architecture Awards 2018: Q&A with Hansen Partnership's Steve Schutt
Richmond's Williams Reserve won the Parks and Open Space Landscape Architecture Award. Image: Andrew Lloyd

U: Is there a feature or theme that you keep consistent or try to include across all of your projects?

SS: As per the previous question, we try to avoid any sort of predetermined design themes or features which might be interpreted as being “the Hansen style”. Rather, given that many of projects involve existing urban environments, we employ a site-responsive approach and tend to utilise the physical characteristics of a place and the ideas and aspirations of the communities who use that space as our primary sources of design inspiration.

U: Can you give us an insight into any projects you are currently working on?

SS: We have a number of really exciting project within the office at present, including a street in Abbotsford which is in the process of being transformed into a local park, a new town Square in Croydon, a streetscape improvement project in Port Campbell and a number of major infrastructure projects across Melbourne, for which we are applying our expertise in landscape architecture, urban design and visual impact assessment.

U: Are there any landscape trends you have noticed rising in popularity at the moment, in Victoria or more broadly?

SS: As a lot of our projects involve existing urban environments, and in particular activity centres and transport hubs, we are seeing a move towards the design of ‘streets for people’, whereby pedestrians are being considered as the highest priority users of a street, with private motor vehicles being given a much lower priority. As the population density of our major cities continues to increase, we expect to see this realignment of priorities to continue to be a major influence in the way we design urban environments, and we are firmly of the view that such an approach will improve the quality, amenity, functionality and attractiveness of our towns and cities.

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.

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AILA Hansen Partnership Landscape Architecture

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