Associate Brett is a conceptual thinker and versatile designer with a well considered design sensibility grounded in the pragmatism of urban environments, but motivated by the poetics of place. Brett possesses strong documentation, design and graphic communication skills, creating sophisticated renderings and presentation drawings that are evocative of design intent and legible, ensuring clear communication between project team, clients and other stakeholders. As a senior Brett provides project level leadership with management of all aspects of project delivery; from site evaluations, concept design preparation of cost estimates, design and product research, detailed design and documentation.
Senior Design & Technical Facilitation Ben is a landscape architect who thrives in the design process. Having worked with some of Australia’s most innovative designers and firms, Ben brings a diverse repertoire and unique understandings to each project. His inquisitive nature and appreciation for well curated moments drives his design process. His practice focuses on craft, construction and translating design concepts into carefully resolved landscapes. With vigilant attention to detail and composition, he is dedicated to producing timeless public landscapes that enrich life. His ability to understand complex technical circumstances and collaborate cleverly drives his enthusiasm for pushing exceptional outcomes. His strong beliefs in landscape architecture are drawn from his connections to landscapes and a sensibility towards ‘nature’. This has driven his focus in equitable and environmentally conscious design, as he seeks to provide the best solutions for both user and natural systems. The effect of this understanding is evident in his ability to push memorable nuances into projects seen by carefully curated planting palettes and detailing. Ben’s passion for ‘nature’ and need to contextualise the site with its environmental intricacies has led to his distinct textural and material focused design language. This has been tested in past built projects, such as a memorial linear park and a nature based learning centre which are now thriving environments. His hands-on approach during construction has given him exceptional skills in project management, cost estimates, detailing and buildability.
Strategic Planning & Design Fiona arrives from a background in landscape architecture, construction project management and urban planning and with interests in the relationship between strategic planning theory, landscape architecture and urban systems. After completing her bachelor’s studies in Landscape Architecture, Fiona pursued a desire to understand how the built environment is constructed and as a result worked with Lend Lease as a project manager on several large projects in Melbourne and rural Victoria. Working onsite, she gained experience in leading the design and delivery of both interior and external works. In her roles she was exposed to the nexus between planning, architecture and construction which led her to pursue her Masters in Urban Planning. In this space she has been able to further develop a foundational understanding of planning theory with a focus on urban governance, integrated transport planning, urban ecology and GIS. Most recently, Fiona worked at an urban planning and design studio in Hobart, Tasmania where she has been able to apply her informed planning skills to developing transport strategies, master planning and planning scheme amendments. With this combined experience, Fiona comes to REALMstudios with a motivation to deliver community and place focused projects that have a meaningful interaction between the human and natural systems of governance, economy, transport and urban ecologies.
Principal Hobart Studio Alaric has a landscape, urban design and planning mindset, specialising in climate resilience and natural system design. Working across a multitude of scales and typologies he has contributed sustainable design value to a range of projects, both in Australia and internationally. With a focus on social action and cyclical value, Alaric harness the resilient growth and adaptive qualities of natural systems. This has led him to deliver award winning interventions that solve a multitude of urban constraints and social issues. His previous experience in strategy at the City of Melbourne has given him an acute understanding of government process and the importance of city shaping to develop resilient and socially inclusive communities.
Business Management As REALM’s Business Manager, Ann-Margaret oversees Finance and Operations nationally across REALM’s studios. Prior to joining REALMstudios Ann-Margaret has worked in finance, operations and project management roles for design studios, global media agencies and more recently the university sector. These roles have seen her work for several companies across Australia, Singapore and London. She has gained strong financial, operational, risk and governance experience during this time, leading, implementing and reviewing quality systems and processes. With the ability to manage various segments of the business, including budgets, risk, facilities and human resources. A member of Australian Institute of Project Management and a certified project manager, she plays a critical role in supporting REALMstudios' project teams with the resourcing and financial aspects of their role as well as overall business planning and monitoring.
Founding Director Jon sees projects through a landscape architectural and urban design lens, viewing them as city making opportunities framed by his deep interest in the relationship between landscape systems, people and place. His work has been recognised through various awards, competition wins and publications, including significant master planning; E-Gate in Melbourne, Masdar Carbon Neutral City in Abu Dhabi and Seoul Grand Park in Korea. Up until 2006 Jon was a founding partner of leading Sydney based design practice Pittendrigh Shinkfield Bruce; then through acquisition of PSB Jon was a Principal at EDAW responsible for Global Design Direction, and then from 2009 to 2012 the Director of Design and Planning AECOM Melbourne. In 2013 he formed the practice of REALMstudios and in parallel works with Monash University’s Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities exploring the application of water based research through design. Through his work Jon maintains a passion for the expression of indigenous and landscape systems in design.
Senior Planning & Landscape Architecture Jess is a senior town planner and graduate landscape architect with over 10 years’ experience in city making. She applies an integrated planning and design approach to her projects, drawing on both her macro and micro lens of understanding to successfully negotiate place-based outcomes. Having worked for several years in the West Australian local government sector, Jess has a deep understanding of strategy, policy and the dynamics of local democracy. This period of her work saw her manage and deliver major strategy for Council including public open space strategies, precinct plans, structure plans, and place plans, as well as a number of design-based projects that rebalanced the use of space to allow for community focused outcomes. Most tellingly, Jess likes to immerse herself in an understanding of place as the foundation to good design outcomes. She approaches projects in the same way as you would a garden believing that in most situations gardens grow naturally, responding to the sun and water that is simply part of its life. But with a little weeding, pruning, and nourishing, the plants in that garden will not only survive, but thrive and bloom in a way that would not have been possible without this nurturing. Likewise, she believes that communities and place are inevitably going to exist, but through good design we can foster, strengthen and celebrate what makes each place exceptional.
Senior Landscape Architecture Michael is a landscape architect whose numerous transformative and creative projects reflect his progressive, engaging and innovative spirit. Michael’s design history has focused on providing landscapes that foster imagination, delight and wonder at a variety of scales; from activation programming to large urban redevelopment. In his work Michael continues to develop his understanding of how landscape architecture can better engage and respond to the needs of an ever-increasing urban population whilst generating spaces that are unique, stimulating and activated. Micheal has applied this across numerous community activation and regeneration projects where his designs sensitively respond to the site and its social, historical and environmental context. Creating places that are both legible and functional, whilst playfully responding and engaging with the local culture and , are central to his design philosophy.
Architecture & Urban Design Emily Is a graduate architect and urban designer with keen strategic thinking and graphic skills. With years of experience crafting finely wrought residential projects, Emily brings an eye for detail, materiality and architectonic refinement to her work. Her understanding of the relationship between buildings and activities guides her process, contributing to complex urban projects with specificity of both place and purpose. With a focus on experience and legibility, Emily helps REALMstudios design and deliver rich responses to complex urban conditions. Her deep understanding of architecture’s spatial possibilities comes from detail design of bespoke residences and an exemplary academic career integrating research, design thinking and a synthesis of place, concept and urban fabric. This reinforces her interests in community-based and socially responsive design, which extends across project scales and types to include outcomes as diverse as precinct planning for major transport infrastructure projects through to narrative and Country-based lyrical responses in intimate urban playspaces. This work is all supported by a range of sophisticated graphic and communications skills and aptitudes, across digital and hand-made media, adding depth and richness to REALM projects.
Founding Director Damien is an accomplished and award-winning designer, client manager and project leader with over 20 years professional experience. He is a public realm design specialist and sits on two local Design Review Panels (Canning Bridge Structure Plan and City of Vincent). He is also a member of the inaugural Western Australian State Design Review Panel. As evidence of his leadership Damien provided critical landscape related input into the award winning WA Dept. of Planning DesignWA policy including the Apartment Design Guide. In October 2021 Damien delivered (together with the 5 person Creative Directorate) a highly successful National AILA Festival of Landscape Architecture titled: Spectacle & Collapse - Changing Landscapes. He is also active in supporting the AILA in advocacy, within the WA context. Damien has recently led design and delivery of high profile and bespoke projects including the 2021 AILA award winning Lathlain Community Parklands and Swancare Aged Care Leisure Precinct. Notable recent works in Perth include: Raine Square Plaza & Laneway, Exchange Innovation Precinct (Stage One Greater Curtin), The new Curtin University Design & Built Environment Faculty Building, The Bob Hawke Secondary College in Subiaco and the Murdoch University Student Hub Major Upgrade. Other major projects include: Station Square at Batavia Coast Marina for Development WA and Centennial Park Strategic Plan in Albany. Previously, Damien led public realm designs for; Greater Curtin Master Plan, Kings Square at Perth City Link, Workzone in Northbridge and the award winning; Alkimos Beach and Mount Clarence ANZAC Improvement projects.
Associate Watkin is a landscape architect with a special focus on water, vegetation and ecological systems. He believes that cities can be places where human and non-human systems come together in intriguing but meaningful and productive ways. Following the completion of a Bachelor of Science that focused on vegetation ecology and then his Masters of Landscape Architecture, Watkin sees his work grounded in design and ecological science, research and practice demonstrated across his interest in ecological restoration and landscape management literature and his experimental food forest in one of Melbourne’s northern suburbs. Prior to starting with us at REALM, Watkin worked with SLA in Copenhagen, Denmark. There he employed world leading nature based urban design principles to further enhance a wilderness in Scandinavian public space. In his combined experience Watkin brings a grounded ecological landscape sensibility to his work and to the work of REALMstudios.
Landscape Architecture Jasmin is a landscape architect who studied in Germany and completed work experience with a leading Swiss practice, Raderschall Landscape Architects, during which time they won the ‘Allmend Brunau’ competition. She wrote her Diploma Thesis on ‘City Living Space: Interaction with Rivers as a Mirror of Society’ which explored two rivers in Zurich, Switzerland. This focus continues to drive her professional interests. After moving to Australia Jasmin was involved in several Sydney projects including the winning competition for ‘East Darling Harbour Headland Park’ at Barangaroo with Hill Thallis & JILA. Jasmin was also involved in a number of private residential gardens during this time. In Perth, whilst working for EDAW/AECOM and Mary Jeavons, Jasmin worked on the award winning ‘Yokine Playspace’, a regional scale all-abilities nature-based playground. With REALMstudios Jasmin has worked on the Highgate Primary school Seniors Hub and West Coast Steiner School Hub projects. Most recently was instrumental in designing the landscape component for the new Waldorf high school campus in Perth Hills. Jasmin balances her professional development and career with busy family commitments.
Landscape Architecture & Communications Alexander has experience working in design publishing and communications, with former roles as Assistant Editor of Foreground and Co-Editor of Kerb Journal #28. He is currently completing his Master’s of Landscape Architecture at RMIT, where his research focuses on challenging conventions of play typologies and engaging their potential to reshape urban environments to address converging impacts of ecological degradation and urban densification. Alexander’s practice is grounded in an engagement with environmental research and discourse that seeks to deepen understanding and connection to sustainable land management systems. His passion for landscape draws from the intersection of urban and ecological systems and the socio-environmental relationships of the spaces we share.
Senior Landscape Architecture Josh is a landscape architect and human geographer with expertise in sustainability transitions, urban design, landscape architecture, integrated water management, and climate change adaptation/mitigation. Josh's work revolves around leveraging the skillset of the profession and the process of developing the built environment to bring about systemic changes within urban systems. Through his PhD research Josh explored how the process of urban design can have a profound and lasting impact on the future direction of urban environments. By delivering projects that build on natural systems and draw in a diverse range of stakeholders, urban designers and landscape architects have the opportunity to expand on what is perceived to be possible within current development standards and progressively transition cities towards sustainable futures. He has worked as a landscape architect in both Southeast Queensland and Melbourne across master planning through to detail design. Drawing on a Master of Integrated Water Management, his design work has had a strong focus on waterway rehabilitation and WSUD within the urban realm. He was heavily involved in the design and delivery of the award-winning Blind Creek ‘daylighting’ project (AILA National Awards 2021, Landscape Architecture Award in Infrastructure). Josh also played a key role in the development of the siting and design guidelines for structures on the Victorian Coast (AILA National Awards 2020, Award of Excellence in Landscape Planning).
Student Architecture Ali is a student at Curtin University, currently studying a Bachelor of Architectural Science, having discovered an appreciation for the field in the latter years of her schooling. With a wide range of interest in the arts including free hand drawings, modelling and graphic design, Ali is excited to bring her individualism and enthusiasm to her work, while strengthening her understanding of the importance of design with consideration for the future communities. Ali is focused on incorporating her studies into her work to support the wider goals of sustainability, ecological design and urbanisation, to address the evolving challenges of our rapidly expanding and modernising society.
Principal Sydney Studio Tom is an urbanist, artist and educator, engaged in speculative city making, re-imagining the productive relationships between cultural acts and the environments in which they thrive. He has recently delivered a series of strategic urban projects across Sydney and NSW for state agencies, local councils and private enterprise combining the disciplines of environmental city-making, urbanism, landscape and architecture. Working across the disciplines of architecture, urban design, academia and art in the US, Europe and Australia, he directed Lean Productions, a multi-disciplinary creative practice. He led urban design and cities research for McGregor Coxall, integrating habitats, communities and infrastructure. Tom is one of the founders of Urban Islands, a global cities workshop convening leading global urbanists to workshop contemporary urban issues and solutions. He teaches and lectures regularly in Australia and internationally. He is currently conducting PhD research exploring interactions between civic space and urban society through narratives of interdependence. His diverse interests in global cities, culture and environment unite in pursuit of a new radical co-existence, combining sustainable systems, cultural diversity and the re-integration of natural and man-made ecologies, remaking our cities and the ways in which we choose to live in them, together.
Research Leader Dan Nyandega works at the intersection of Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Urbanism with a passion and specialisation in Water Sensitive Design for cities, buildings, infrastructure, landscape, and the public realm. Dan is driven by the understanding that water is integral to human life and can be argued to be just as important as the sun and gravitational force. As architects, we have a role in unpacking the potentials of water in the built environment as much as mitigating the effects of excess water or lack of it for a resilient society. Originally from Kenya, Dan has had over 7 years of practice experience in Architecture, Landscape architecture and Urban Design in several countries overseas. His work has been exhibited in a public exhibition at MADA Gallery (‘High and Low’ exhibition in 2019) at Monash University and St Kilda Town Hall in Melbourne as part of the ‘Swamped’ Exhibition in 2018 by CRC for Water Sensitive Cities Design Research. He has also undertaken design-led research in Belgium, Vietnam, Bolivia, Lebanon, Israel, and Somali land, where he explored an interest in Architecture and disaster and post-conflict Architecture. Dan is also a lecturer in Landscape Architecture at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), where he leads technology stream, design studios and design-led research focusing on water sensitive design: ways of adjusting lowlands (buildings, landscapes, infrastructures, and open spaces) of coastal cities to the effects of rising water levels, sea-level rise, flooding, and draughts. Before joining QUT in July 2020, Dan was a lecturer at Monash University Department of Architecture and RMIT University Department of Landscape Architecture, where he taught design studios at undergraduate and masters’ levels. He is still a visiting guest studio crit. He has also been an external examiner for Master Thesis for Msc Human Settlement at KU Leuven in Belgium.
Student Landscape Architecture Tess is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture at RMIT, with projects revealing an emerging interest in sensory stimulus and hydrological systems. Tess is interested in multi-scale design that appreciates the pre-existing, dynamic and ecological value of site, that are not solely limited to the human connection to specific landscapes. As Tess begins her journey in Landscape Architecture, it is consumed by curiosity, concern and passion. She is proud to be studying in a field that has the ability to create inspiring and educational landscapes, and that fosters a responsibility to do good and create positive change.
Graduate Landscape Architecture Andrew is a Graduate Landscape Architect with a Bachelor and Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from RMIT. His final Masters design research thesis focused on the remediation and regeneration of chemically contaminated post-industrial brownfield sites. The thesis was driven by a systematic landscape design approach which employed the process of phytoremediation as a main driver in remediating contamination. Andrew’s design philosophy centres on designing ecologically and socially sustainable landscapes, weaving land management strategies with educative and collaborative spaces to foster environmental awareness within communities. He believes that Landscape Architecture is intrinsically embedded in the evolution of the urban landscape fabrics of cities while also recognising the value of using landscape architecture in improving people’s general wellbeing and mental health.
Senior Landscape Architecture Angus is a highly accomplished and dedicated senior landscape architect, boasting more than 8 years of experience in the design field. His deep understanding of project briefs and site contexts allows him to create innovative and captivating design solutions that resonate with the communities they serve. His work consistently yields evocative results, positively impacting how people experience and engage with their surroundings. One of Angus’ defining qualities is his passion for collaboration. He enjoys working closely with fellow practitioners, such as architects, urban planners, and environmental experts, to bring innovative projects to life. Angus aims to develop designs that not only meet the needs of the community but also address environmental sustainability and the challenges posed by population growth, climate change, and social change. Environmental sustainability is a cause close to Angus’ heart. He actively incorporates principles of sustainability into his projects, ensuring that they are environmentally responsible and leave a positive impact on the ecosystem. Additionally, Angus has a keen eye for creating artful landscapes that not only provide functional spaces but also have aesthetic value, enhancing the overall experience of the users.
Principal Sydney Studio Cate is passionate about delivering equitable and sustainable public spaces that not only respond to their environmental and social context, but allow for long term community enjoyment and delight. Throughout her 20-year career, she has delivered a wide range of public domain and urban development projects of varying scales and typologies across Sydney and NSW. She has led and managed complex design teams from master planning to concept design through to construction, providing high quality service and design excellence outcomes. Cate is committed to the deep practice of understanding place and respecting Country as a means of contributing to the social, cultural and environmental performance of communities and the built environment. Her ability to collaborate and knowledge of construction allows her to pursue effective and award-winning built outcomes. Her previous experience in open space planning and policy at the NSW Department of Planning and Environment has given her an acute understanding of government process and the importance of how good planning and policy can create liveable and resilient urban environments. Throughout her career, Cate has enjoyed tutoring as a sessional academic at the University of New South Wales. She is also an active member of AILA and is currently serving on the NSW Executive Chapter.