Angus Bruce tells Building about tech literacy, watching your projects mature, and wishful thinking
What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
It’s the same challenge year on year – making sure there is always time to actually do the craft of landscape architecture – and not let chasing, winning, promoting and delivering the work overtake the joy of working together with project teams and clients to actually design great outcomes.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
To remove fees as a driving selection criteria for awarding contracts, and look to a weighted system that values real social benefit and environmental improvements over and above ‘lowest price’.
Why did you choose a construction related career?
I wanted to make a difference at both a community and environmental level, and a career as a landscape architect provided a perfect union of the two. In particular, what I find exciting is the fact that the work of a landscape architect never really has a finite end point – the plants continue to change and grow, the public use of space is in constant flux over any 24-hour period and equally across the years. Projects only get better as they age and mature – day one is probably the worst time to take a photo of one’s work.
What have you worked on that you’re most proud of?
Being immersed in a place, years after the design was completed, seeing the trees matured and the public utilising the space as intended, is a genuine joy.
Most helpful advice you were given?
Try to avoid starting too many sentences with ‘I wish I had … ”
What’s your favourite public open space in the world?
Chicago’s Millennium Park – from Frank Gehry’s pavilion to Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate sculpture – it’s such a richly diverse and successful public space.
What single piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your profession?
Absorb as much as you can through as many avenues of learning you can gain access to – lectures, reading, podcasts, blogs and through associating yourself with a diverse mix of other design professionals. But also pass this experience on as you progress, don’t let ego get in the way. Be a sharer of knowledge.
Who do you most admire in the construction industry?
The future talent of the landscape architecture profession – they are passionate, tech literate, highly articulate and so well versed in their craft that it’s excitingly scary.
Which famous public open space do you wish you’d worked on?
Park Güell Barcelona (pictured).
What’s your most prized possession?
It used to be my surfboard, but over the years it’s shifted to be my camera. It’s with me most of the time and as such it’s my travel log and an alternate creative outlet to the day to day.
What’s your favourite food?
No kidding, but I honestly do love my veggies.
Early bird or night owl?
I burn the candle at both ends.