By Paul Denham

All images: Allison Sainty

UNSW Landscape Architect student, Allison Sainty, won the Landscape Architect Australia (LAA) National Prize recently for her final year project called Forgotten Industry, Future Form which researched how landscape and heritage intersect at the Glebe Island silos.

Above: Allison Sainty

Allison, at the time a fourth year UNSW Landscape Architect student, chose this as her final studio project. Allison said, “My research question was, ‘How can a site’s past inform a new future for a place?’” Clearly the judges thought she answered this question. ArchitecureAU wrote, “Sainty’s project is built upon a clearly articulated enquiry and presents a sophisticated response to an industrial heritage setting.”

Catherine Evans, Director of Landscape Architecture at UNSW Built Environment, selected Allison’s work that then went in front of a blind jury.

UNSW Built Environment sat down with Allison and asked her how she came to study Landscape Architecture, why she chose to come to UNSW and how the UNSW Built Environment network landed her a job…

How did you get interested in landscape architecture?

In high school I was interested about design. I knew about architects but I didn’t think that was for me. I did a one year “design fundamentals” course which was very broad. I then decided to do a Diploma in Graphic Design and then I did an advanced diploma at Hornsby TAFE. I then worked full-time for four years in the insurance industry as a Graphic Designer. But it wasn’t enough. I wanted to have an impact on the world. So I searched uni websites and stumbled across UNSW’s Landscape Architecture course. I hadn’t heard of this before. I went to Open Day and thought this is definitely for me. So I applied as a mature age student at the age of 26.

What helped you decide to choose UNSW?

There were a number of things that helped me decide. It was supported by the institute [UNSW Landscape Architecture is the only four year degree in NSW accredited by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA)], it was Australia’s first [landscape architecture degree] and at the time it was the only bachelor’s course as all the others were masters. Speaking to Linda [Corkery, Associate Professor] really convinced me to do it. I was a bit worried about being much older than the other students so speaking to Linda made me feel very comfortable.

Has studying at UNSW Built Environment been a good experience?

The UNSW network has been amazing. Linda [Corkery] and Catherine [Evans, course Director] have really fostered a family feeling and the industry is so small so they have capitalised on that. I feel like we are all in it together.

What are you doing now?

I’m finishing two electives and I am working at Gallagher Studios. I was doing work experience there and they offered me a job. Libby Gallagher was one of my lecturers in semester one, fourth year.

See Allison's final project in PDF format

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