If you have
ever tried simply arranging some flowers, let alone
designing a whole garden, you will know it does not always come easy. Imagine having to repeat that over hundreds
of square metres, if not hectares.
From the plants and trees you choose to the types of surfacing; from the water and ecology to considering how the site will mature, relate to buildings close by, encourage people to engage and how it will be maintained – you will need to do all that and more, and do it all to a budget.
This is the world of the landscape architect, whose importance in shaping the spaces in which we live, work and play is increasingly recognised. This is the world of Teresa Hazelwood.
Roberts Limbrick, a team of over 100 architects, designers and creatives based in Gloucester and Newport – and which has just opened a London office – approached Hazelwood to lead a new team at its practice in 2022.
David Billingham, a director at Roberts Limbrick, said: 'We have known Teresa for many years and knew what an excellent fit she would be to our team. She’s an experienced landscape architect with a real passion for the wellbeing and sustainability benefits of well-designed outdoor space.'
The company had been looking to the future and saw Hazelwood's skill set as a must-have. Its work already included everything from small community buildings to regeneration work on whole town centres, a list to which it recently added a venue for a major global sporting event and new-builds at Hartpury University and Hartpury College, Cirencester College and Dobbies Garden Centre in Tewkesbury.
'I had already worked in partnership with Roberts Limbrick on a number of great projects. The job offer immediately had massive appeal. It felt like a great time to join,’ said Hazelwood, a graduate of the University of Sheffield, who is originally from Portsmouth, where her mother was a town planner.
SoGlos met the landscape architect at the firm’s offices, The Carriage Building in Gloucester. Its restoration of the building , which dates from 1864, achieved a BREEAM rating of Excellent; a globally recognised measurement for the quality of sustainable built environments.
'I think Roberts Limbrick had been looking to the future a lot during the Covid-19 pandemic. It had recently expanded to offer interior design to complement its architectural services and it also wanted to be able to consider the external environment around its buildings.
'That was recognising it is not just about ‘the building’, it is about the context, the overall experience, the views from the building, the environment, health and wellbeing. I think since the pandemic we are all understanding the value of our outside spaces a lot more.
'What I do aligns really well with Roberts Limbrick, which is about designing places for people,’ said Hazelwood, a mother and keen trail runner in her spare time, and who a year on from her appointment now leads a growing team.
She added: 'There are three main strands to what I do; the design element, which is about designing spaces and places; the landscape planning aspect, assessing the site’s potential, the constraints, what impact it could have on the character and visual amenity of the space or place.
'Then the management of it; how do we look after these places after they are created.'
It is work that clearly gets under her skin. She admits to returning to a major development recently (a new landscape park for a major housing project), which after years on the drawing board was blossoming into a real space ready to be embraced by people and nature, and becoming quite emotional.
Roberts Limbrick also recently worked on the Spirax-Sarco Engineering Group headquarters in Cheltenham, with Gloucestershire firm McLoughlin Planning, to transform the aging Grade II-listed 1950s extensions on the Charlton Kings building into sustainable, modern space fit for a global engineering business and its One Planet: Engineering with Purpose Sustainability Strategy.
'Again, that was not just about the building. The client also wanted to ensure enhancement of the area around the new offices, providing attractive outdoor spaces for colleagues, improvements for wildlife and provide views of nature from the building,’ said Hazelwood.
'So much of the job is about understanding the client's needs. We talked, listened, and have design proposals to turn a concrete space into a green oasis.'
The project was awarded BREEAM Outstanding at Design Stage, a rating given to just half a per cent of sustainable new builds.