Congratulations to Adam Knight for winning the undergraduate prize 2017 for planting scheme

Here are a word from Adam Knight and few visuals of his dissertation.













After leaving secondary school in 2011 I pursued a career in the world of Horticulture studying Amenity Horticulture at Writtle University College. Whilst studying horticulture I worked within a specialist nursery called Langthorns Plantery in which I gained valuable hands on experience working with plants and understanding the life of a plant, particularly maintaining ornamental shade and herbaceous woodland stock. During my studies and extensive knowledge of plants that grew as a passion, my course also involved various design modules that taught me the basics principles in garden design.

During these modules I discovered my passion was in design and understood how landscape is important and directly affects all of us who will use it. In the summer of 2012 the Olympic games was a memorable time in most peoples lives because of the amazing achievements produced by GB athletes however, although inspiring for many reasons. The design and transformation of Stratford and The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was inspiring and deepened my interest into Landscape Architecture, with myself then researching further into the subject of Landscape Architecture.

After two years of studying at Writtle University College and successfully gaining my National Diploma in Horticulture. I wanted to pursue a career in Landscape Architecture however in 2013, I decided to take the following year out. At this time I wanted to expose and strengthen my plant knowledge securing a work experience placement at RHS garden Wisley. During this time I gained exposure working in the Centenary glasshouse working with Tropical Temperate and Arid plant species. After finishing my placement at RHS Wisley and for the remainder of 2013, I continued to work at Langthorns Plantery gaining more responsibility and managing the independent nursery on a regular basis at weekends working as part of a small team directly dealing with RHS Chelsea garden designers and members of the public.
In 2014 whilst enrolling back at Writtle University College and studying Landscape Architecture I was determined to balance university with practical experience, securing a Job at The Beth Chatto gardens in Essex. This enabled me to understand how to design with plants following the unique grouping of plants and the philosophy Beth Chatto taught me of selecting the right plant for the right place, which intern also taught me the understanding into how climate soil and conditions can affect your plant selection alongside design.

Whilst studying for next two years I continued to work at The Beth Chatto gardens being part of the propagation team managing the diverse stock beds propagating a vast selection of stock for the garden and nursery team, whilst visiting and being a key team member at shows such as RHS Wisley, RHS Hyde Hall, and Great Dixter. Beth Chatto also provided me with the opportunity to visit RHS Chelsea and speak with Beth Chatto on a regular and weekly basis. The experience I gained working at Beth Chatto and the team I was involved in not only allowed me to develop as a professional but also as a person.

During my third year and whilst studying at Writtle University College and having studied the subject for two years I found that my strongest interest was understanding and witnessing how public projects in the urban realm was influential to the people and community who would use theses landscapes with many class study tours visiting Kings Cross regeneration and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. In my third year of studies my dissertation thesis looked into how post-industrial landscapes can be reclaimed and used in the public realm. The site I choose to design for my dissertation thesis is an area in the London Borough of Newham known as ‘The Beckon Alps’ in East London. A former post-industrial landscape towering over 40 meters from the surrounding streetscape with large quantities of the soil structure constructed from deposited waste material from the Beckton Gas Light and Coke Company that once operated south of the site from 18701969. Understanding and having worked with plants for a large part of my early working career I was specifically inspired in learning to understand how plants can relive and reduce toxic material within soil through the process of Phytoremediation.

In response to my research and design project I selected plants that would work effectively in accordance with; Phytovolatilization, Phytostabilization, Phytodegredation, and Phytoextraction. These diverse plants groups on site worked in accordance with site-specific conditions and the challenging aspect created by the topography. Using the research I gathered whilst studying I devised a planting program on site that would relive contaminates while encompassing and improving the sites ecological value and connecting to the wider urban landscape.

Whilst studying I became interested in the work and projects that Gillespies had delivered, with a fascination and interest into Crossrail Place Roof Garden and The Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch street. With this desire to work on projects within the public realm I managed to secure a position before graduating at Gillespies working within the London office as a junior landscape architect. Since joining gillespies I have already worked on a range and diverse portfolio of projects including Lefortovo and Green Park Phase 2 in Moscow Russia, Cherry Park in Stratford London and Bracknell regeneration in Berkshire.

Since joining Gillespies, practice experience has provided me with the opportunity to work not only with a range of projects but also to work with industry professionals from around the world. This enables a strong collaboration within the office to produce work that reflects the people and mixed studio culture that makes Gillespies unique. As I continue to work I am being regularly challenged on a daily basis using my strongest skills including working on planting plans and using rendering software whilst being provided with regular staff support and learning as an in individual, what ultimately a landscape architect job role is.
In the near future I want to continue to develop as a landscape professional working at Gillespies collaborating on new and exciting upcoming projects. Writtle University College is a unique place to learn and has provided me with the intuition resources and experiences that has allowed me to transition from a student to a working industry professional. This is due to the strong programme of the course and the one to one tuition from lectures and staff support that was available throughout the entirety of my University experience. Having thoroughly enjoyed my time at Writtle I would also like to return to in the near future and study towards my Masters in Landscape Architecture.

Comments are closed.