The cold snap has provided an ideal time to go out and obtain landscape views without foliage on the trees. We are currently working on a scheme in Kent where proposals for an acoustic bund will change the short term and long term views from the North Downs AONB. If you are considering carrying out visual impact work for a proposed development then now is a good time to contact us.
2017 was an incredible year for us with a host of new projects and new clients as well as some great events. We have watched our scheme at the Natural History Museum slowly take shape and we look forward to its official opening in April this year. It has involved working closely with a great team including Kim Wilkie, Niall McLaughlin Architects, Expedition Engineering, Atelier Ten, Thomas Mathews, Jane Toplis Associates, Blakedown landscape and of course the Natural History Museum. The scheme is complex and involves working both with a Grade 1 listed building and a highly used public realm, heritage materials and modern access standards. So just to keep the team on their toes we embarked on an escape room challenge to test our ability to work together to solve complex problems. And the result? Well you'll have to ask us next time you see us!
Wilder Associates were featured in the December issue of Pro Landscape Magazine which also featured the first of a three part series written by Peter Wilder on the role of technology in the diversification of the industry. Starting with Communication, the series will explore the opportunities and challenges that virtual reality, automation and artificial intelligence will bring to the field of planning and design.
Not everything about London is doom and gloom in winter. Sometimes the grey overcast skies let a slim crevice of light to spill across Londons skyline. Old brick buildings are set aglow whilst shiny new skyscrapers become beacons in the afternoon sun. Regardless of whether we have a white Christmas or a grey one, we wish all of our clients, colleagues and co-collaborators the very best for the holiday season and we look forward to another successful year in 2018.
Our rising star Valya was recently recognised at the Pro Landscaper 30 Under 30 awards held at Futurescape on the 14th November. The scheme recognises rising stars in organisations and promotes the training of the next generation of landscape professionals. In addition to her 30 Under 30 success Valya was also successful in passing her pathway to chartership exam and from January next year she will become a Chartered member of the Landscape Institute (CMLI).
Risk is one of the key issues that effects all clients and project team are continually striving to ensure that risk is minimised wherever possible. The biggest unknowns occur at the site acquisition stage, where hidden problems such as flooding, contamination, land ownership, sensitive ecology, visual impact and access and egress can make the difference between a viable site for development or a liability. Traditional surveys can be very expensive and take many weeks or months to complete. Drone technology is helping to accelerate the process of site assessment. Since 2015 Wilder Associates have been developing new applications for drone technology in site assessment, from site hydrology to ecology and site access. The ability to map large tracts of land quickly and accurately has led to a new workflow that accelerates the collection of critical site information and the creation of a new platform that enables the developer and the design team to collaborate in a virtual environment in real time and in a 3D representation of the site.
This approach was tested recently on a site in South East London with a creek wall where little was know about the condition of the structure. Flying over the riverside, we were able to capture high-resolution images that enabled us to reconstruct a 3D model of the creek wall. This provided invaluable data on the condition and the geometry of the wall, even enabling the team to understand how the drainage outlets were working. This is something that would have been difficult to capture using traditional techniques due to the tidal conditions and the thick mud at the base of the wall.
Further examples of such applications include residential masterplans with dense woodland where we are able to gain an understanding of the heights and spread of trees and even identify species. We have also used the technology to assess sites within floodplains and were able to survey a 14-hectare site in just 14 minutes. More recently we have been using the technology for carrying out roof condition surveys, even picking up an award for the use of technology to improve health and safety in facilities management.
Below is an interactive model of the creek wall which gives an indication of the speed and accuracy of the information produced. It took just over 20 minutes to produce this model. To get the best representation don't forget to expand it to full screen.
Speaking at the recent ECLAS (European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools) held at the University of Greenwich in London, Peter Wilder presented on the arrival of new technology and its implications for the land planning sector. The convergence of Big Data, Cloud Processing, Global Information and Positioning Systems and smartphone technology have put unprecedented power in the hands of designers, engineers, architects and planners. The technology is so powerful that it will render some parts of the profession redundant whilst revolutionising others. Alarmingly we may find ourselves saturated in data and have to rely on intelligent filtering networks or interfaces that enable us to select the most relevant information. It is this requirement that will usher in the age of artificial intelligence where computer algorithms decide what is relevant to us. To a certain extent, this is already happening, as our search engines tailor their results to our search history and recommend purchases to us based on our shopping habits.
"Whilst we might not see designers easily replaced in the next generation" Wilder concludes, "the environment in which they work will alter radically".
For the last week, Pavla Galbava has been working with Wilder Associates as a work experience student from Slovakia. Her week of work experience, that included technical details for a scheme in Dubai and drawings for the Natural History Museum, culminated in a visit to the scheme now under construction. We were happy to be able to show Pavla some of the huge diversity of the landscape industry and we hope that she will come back to London soon to see Phase 1 of the museum completed in December.