Kirsten Bauer speaks at AILA conference.

ASPECT insights
Kirsten Bauer speaks at AILA conference.
This year’s four-day AILA Conference, themed “Not in My Backyard”, focuses on the ways in which landscape architects are best-placed to respond to the challenges of global urbanization and climate change. Kirsten Bauer, an ASPECT director who is based in our Melbourne Studio, is speaking at one of the conference sessions that focuses on the power and potential of digital technologies in the age of the Anthropocene.   The session, which is called “New Techniques” features a panel of highly-regarded speakers. Kirsten has led award-winning and significant public realm projects across Australia, particularly Melbourne, and has been awarded by international and local organisations. She is a current member of the Victorian Design Review Panel as well as other municipal design review panels in Victoria. Kirsten is also a long-standing invited lecturer, juror and professional advisor at the University of Melbourne and RMIT University and an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University and well as a current member of the Yarra River Protection Ministerial Advisory Committee.   Kirsten has a practise-based interest in digital design techniques and innovative design across all stages of a project. ASPECT Studio’s uses an integration of Rhino, Revit, Grasshopper, V Ray, Vectorworks/AutoCAD and SketchUp to explore design and document in three dimensions. Kirsten speaks authoritatively on contemporary landscape practice and regularly gives lectures in universities and industry events across Australia and New Zealand.   Kirsten is in good company at the conference’s New Techniques session. She is joined by Bradley Cantrell, Associate Professor of Landscape Architectural Technology, MLA Program Director at Harvard Graduate School of Design and co-director of the School’s Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab. Bradley’s work focuses on the role of computation and media in environmental and ecological design. Wolfgang Kessling, a Munich-based physicist and principal of climate engineering firm Transsolar, is also a panel speaker. Wolfgang’s research and development work focuses on high comfort/low energy buildings and design for outdoor comfort in urban settings.   The ‘New Techniques’ session explores how rapidly unfolding consequences of the Anthropocene call for new design approaches from all disciplines of the built environment. It looks at the implications of Big Data, how it is informing the future planning and design of our cities and how it can be explored with digital tools to increase an understanding of the implications of climate change as well as establishing the solution.   While the landscape architecture discipline has a long history of spatial analysis, it has little experience working with systems and data and has shown only a tentative engagement with the power of the computational. Kirsten and her fellow panelists discuss the importance of a shift in design processes and methodologies in order for landscape architecture to work effectively within this realm.   The New Technique session also explores how landscape architecture can engage with the potential of digital technologies to inspire new design opportunities. Real-time data combined with increasingly accessible software create new ways of embedding systems directly into design methodologies. Modeling the fluid dynamics of wind, water, tides, heat, humidity and pollution integrates an evidence-based approach into design and encourages a more creative engagement with complex systems.   The session explores how these time-based investigations close the gap between site, science and design. It also showcases design speculation and constructed projects in Asia, North America and Australia and considers a future design practice for landscape architecture that is better equipped to engage with the environmental uncertainty that is shaping the 21st century.