Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) is passionate about the poetic expression of the Australian landscape and contemporary culture. This has permeated our design work in a multiplicity of public settings, from urban waterfronts to desert walking trails. In each case the detailed exploration of context, site and community have informed outcomes and enriched the patterning and detail of built landscapes.
Four streams of investigation have informed the practice’s work:
– Contemporary urban life and global culture
– The elemental power of site and landscape
– Artistic practice in a range of disciplines
– The creation of a sustainable future
The results of this dynamic dialogue with clients, communities, academics, and colleagues is an eclectic body of work woven together by a common thread of quality, commitment and surprisingly simple but rich environments which support the life of the communities they serve.
Many projects have been for significant cultural institutions such as museums, botanic gardens, universities and national parks, while others have been part of major urban redevelopments. For example: theAustralian Consul Generals Residence, Kobe Japan; the North Terrace Redevelopment Adelaide; Uluru Aboriginal Cultural Centre; the Forest Gallery at Melbourne Museum; Melbourne’s Victoria Harbour Development; and Geelong Waterfront Redevelopment. These and many other projects have been the subject of numerous awards. Some prestigious international awards include the 2013 World Architecture Festival ‘Best Landscape’ award for the Australian Garden, the 2003 and 2012 ‘World’s Best Waterfront’ for Geelong Waterfront Redevelopment and Auckland Waterfront Redevelopment. Other awards of note include the 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012 Award of Excellence by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, and the 2002 and 2006 Australia Award for Excellence in Urban Design This success is borne out of an open studio based approach where the principals lead the design of each project supported by a talented group of landscape architects and urban designers.
The principals Kate Cullity, Perry Lethlean, Scott Adams, Lisa Howard and Damian Schultz each bring different disciplines and skills to the firm. Along with a shared background in landscape architecture, Kate is trained in botany and visual arts, Perry in urban design, Lisa has extensive expertise in educational campus design and Scott is renowned for his infrastructural experience. TCL currently has a staff of 30 (March, 2018).
The practice’s designs have often arisen from collaboration with fellow designers and artists resulting in the creation of memorable environments characterised by the achievement of a shared vision and sensitive integration of buildings, artworks and landscape.
TCL specialises in:
– Community spaces and public parks
– Urban Streets and plazas
– Waterfront developments
– National Park masterplans and their detail design
– Cultural and Heritage projects
TCL brings exceptional skills and experience in the design public space and retail environments. Our directors are landscape architects and urban design leaders in their field, with long standing emphasis in places of cultural significance.
Importantly, we have brought creativity, contemporary design thinking and a touch of the poetic to our projects and created memorable environments which have enhanced the social, cultural, environmental and economic lives of the communities in which we have worked.
Working waterfronts are constantly in flux; crusty, practical, muscular and dissolving, with temporal qualities that engage all of our senses. Yet contemporary waterfront redevelopments are often characterised by the removal of the very qualities that attract us to these places. At Auckland’s waterfront, Jellicoe Harbour, Jellicoe Street, Silo Park and North Wharf Promenade redevelopment these conventions are challenged in a development that transforms a neglected industrial and maritime precinct into a layered, mixed-use precinct. Underpinning the design are two key moves: retention and enhancing of fishing and maritime industries form the focus of new public experiences; and, interpreting the site’s peculiar archaeology of patterns and materiality informs a new public landscape.
Jellicoe Harbour has an engaging diversity of use, including large industrial container shipping, ferry services and a viable fishing industry. North Wharf Promenade is now a site of negotiation, a pedestrian and cycle promenade from which to witness and experience the coexisting waterfront industry. Jellicoe Street runs parallel to the harbour edge and is in contrasts with the exposed, hard harbour condition establishes a new public realm language for Auckland promoting a civic presence with an indigenous character, pedestrian focus and rich, informal planting. Silo Park is a triangular tract that links Jellicoe Harbour with the marine industries to its west located on an old cement factory with a retained silo now forming a multi-programmed focusing on a layered public space that facilitates a range of hybrid uses.
Team: Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) in collaboration with Wraight + Associates
In a former sand quarry, a new botanic garden has been completed, one that allows visitors to follow a metaphorical journey of water through the Australian landscape, from the desert to the coastal fringe. Via the artistry of landscape architecture, this integrated landscape brings together horticulture, architecture, ecology, and art to create the largest botanic garden devoted to Australian flora. It seeks, through the design of themed experiences, to inspire visitors to see our plants in new ways. The completion of the Australian Garden comes at a time when Botanic Gardens world-wide are questioning existing research and recreational paradigms and refocussing anew on messages of landscape conservation and a renewed interest in meaningful visitor engagement.
The Australian Garden engages visitors by expressing the love – hate relationship Australian’s have with their landscape. It is embraced or shunned by its people, loved for its sublime beauty or loathed as the cause of hardship. Artists and writers have often been inspired to design or write in response to subtle rhythms, flowing forms and tenacious flora of our landscape. Whilst others have attempted to order the landscape, and conceive of it as humanly designed form. At the Australian Garden these tensions are the creative genesis of the design, expressing our reverence and sense of awe, the natural landscape, and our innate impulse to change it, to make it into a humanly contrived form of beautiful, yet our own, work.
The Internationale Gartenausstellung 2017 (International Garden Exhibition) was a horticultural exhibition that was held in the German capital Berlin in 2017. TCL was selected as one of nine leading international landscape designers to be given a small allotment (380-square-metres) to create a permanent contemporary garden that showcased the cultural landscape of their home country.
Titled Cultivated by Fire, TCL’s garden explores the Aboriginal land management practice of ‘fire-stick farming.’ This sophisticated practice of selective, low-intensity burning serves many purposes for Aboriginal people, including reducing the risk of larger and more unpredictable bushfires, creating open country ideal for hunting grazing marsupials, increasing fertile new growth that provides an abundance of edible plants for both wildlife and humans, and flushing out animals for hunting during the burning.
The Cultivated by Fire garden distils and abstracts fire-stick farming to create a mosaic garden composed of elements reminiscent of both the burnt and rejuvenated Australian landscape. These elements include actual fire, charred poles and clipped branches, Eucalyptus and Acacia seedlings, floriferous garden beds of Australian native plants and a walkable orange ground plane of crushed red brick that is reminiscent of the fiery sands of the central Australian desert.
Location: Berlin, Germany Date of completion: 2017 Collaboration: k1 Landschaftsarchitekten
The disastrous Canberra bush fires of 2003 created a wonderful opportunity for a major piece of landscape infrastructure in Canberra and, taking inspiration from Griffin’s vision for the national capital, Taylor Cullity Lethlean’s competition winning entry grabbed this opportunity with both hands showing just what highly skilled landscape architects can achieve when given a virtually open canvas.
Strikingly, given the site’s rolling topography, the conceptual ‘100 Forests/100 Gardens’ is based on a staggered orthogonal grid draped over the landscape rather than succumbing to the temptation to simply following the contours. Within this grid are forests containing 100 rare and endangered tree species which are displayed not just for their scientific or cultural interest, but also to redefine the meaning of a public garden in the 21st century. Interspersed within the forests are 100 secret gardens, each with a different character and each adding another layer of complexity and delight for the visitor.
It is almost a given that landscape architects will rarely enjoy the experience of seeing their creations in the fully mature state and that is true of the National Arboretum. Indeed, as the designers state, ‘it has no completion date, its experiences and messages will continually evolve and adapt; creating experiences of true community within a sublime place that will grow with the people, the city and the nation’. However the design is so successful that even in its early years it has an extraordinarily powerful presence, combining the visual and botanical interest of the trees with beautifully sculpted landforms able to be appreciated at a multitude of scales and providing a diversity of experiences.