A significant growth in opportunity in the Queensland market has led Sydney-based Arcadia Landscape Architecture to open a Brisbane studio. According to principal Nathan Clausen, the new studio will combine his extensive local knowledge with Arcadia’s unique approach to creating human-centric, innovative spaces.

What makes Brisbane different to the southern capitals in terms of design and focus?

I believe Brisbane is about to go through a paradigm shift in terms of design. Density is growing, and with this comes different ways of engaging with space and enjoying the outdoors. Local knowledge of the way Queenslanders use space, and their methods of adapting their lifestyles to the climate, are important to acknowledge in this new context. There is a demand for great urban experiences, and the application of these ideas and principles in Brisbane is what we believe we will excel at.

The sub-tropical climate and resulting landscape character of Brisbane also presents unique opportunities for us, as designers using vegetation, to introduce people to fantastic experiences. Weaving these encounters into a variety of retail, residential, education, health, aged care and public space environments is real opportunity to reinforce sense of place in these projects.

What do you think Arcadia can bring to Brisbane in terms of expertise the city could use?

I believe our approach to design and the rigour introduced at various stages will attract clients to Arcadia. While ensuring our clients’ needs are met, there is a deeper desire to produce unique spaces that our other client, the end user, will enjoy and utilise regularly. This is an integral focus of the Arcadia design philosophy – Places for People.

I also anticipate our advancements in the Revit / BIM space will create some interest for larger government infrastructure projects in the road / rail, health and education sectors. The scale of the office in Sydney and our projected growth in Brisbane will provide the capacity to tackle almost any size and type of project.

Since my introduction to the Arcadia team and their processes, I’ve come to realise there will be some great opportunities to introduce new design thinking and grow a really talented team here in Queensland.

What would you like to see in Brisbane that currently is not being designed there, and what can Brisbane offer the rest of the country in terms of design inspiration?

Definitely more consideration of the physical, mental and spiritual health of communities through design. This applies across all sectors of landscape architecture.

Biophillic considerations are important to create balance as our cities urbanise further and become more dense. I can see that these ideas are becoming more mainstream and being endorsed with research and surveys that illustrate their value to the public and to policy makers. This is evident in Brisbane Council’s concept of “Buildings that Breathe”. A fantastic initiative that works functionally to clean the air, but more importantly, to bring urban inhabitants closer to nature on a regular basis.

Beyond this, especially given the QLD climate and demographic, is designing landscapes of enjoyment, where memories can be made and experiences can be shared. This involves a level of thinking that goes beyond attractive plan graphics. This is design to build social capital and make our communities healthier.