Date: 27.10, Saturday, 18.00

Place:  Museum of Architecture in Wrocław, 5 Bernardyńska St.

Co-organiser: EPR Architects

Stephen Richards is a Partner at Gillespies Landscape Architects, a celebrated landscape design firm established for over 50 years with a professional team of more than 140 people.

Since graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Landscape Architecture from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Stephen he has accrued over twenty five years’ experience in the design and implementation of award-winning public realm spaces in the UK, Central Asia, the Far East, Middle East and Africa. He has a particular interest in the design and detail of streetscapes, public squares and parks, and is particularly fascinated by exploring contextual narratives in landscape that embed his design work with a sense of place.

At Gillespies he was the team leader for the multiple award-winning and RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlisted NEO Bankside, a residential project in London, and the unique Danfoss Universe Park in Denmark. Stephen has also been landscape design team leader for a series of key signature developments in London including the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, the elevated garden over Crossrail Station Canary Wharf, and the British Museum World Conservation and Exhibition Centre which has been shortlisted for the 2017 Stirling Prize.

During his time working in Gillespies’ Malaysia office, he developed the designs for the Commonwealth Games Stadium complex and during a spell in Cape Town, South Africa prepared designs for the upgrading of the dramatic public facilities on the Table Mountain World Heritage Site.

As Partner at Gillespies Stephen has successfully worked with some of the world’s most highly acclaimed architectural practices including Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, Foster and Partners, Hopkins and Partners, Farrells and David Chipperfield Architects.

Stephen has been a visiting critic at the AA in London, as well as appearing on a variety of panel discussions. He has exhibited his drawings at the Royal Academy and has been awarded a top European prize for his designs for a suite of street furniture. He was recently invited to Melbourne as guest speaker of the City Council and has published numerous articles on landscape architecture.

Greening the City

Over time our cities have had to cope with the decline of their principal industries and infrastructure, increasing densities, increasing vehicular movement and associated air pollution. Many have suffered from inappropriate rushed development resulting in protracted social and health problems. But is ‘greening’ the catalyst for stitching the city back together and a fundamental part of delivering socially integrated new urban spaces?

Technical advances have provided numerous possibilities for plants to appear in every inch of the city but are we as designers, planners and developers merely undertaking a very expensive exercise in redecorating our urban spaces as visual gratification or do we fully really appreciate how well-considered external design can positively impact on our well-being?

As our urban conglomerates expand at an ever-increasing rate Stephen Richards explores the shift away from traditional parks and gardens to a host of new interventions that bring us in closer contact with flora and fauna in our daily journeys, and in our urban working and living places. He asks what value we should place on this ‘greening’, and what really is ‘nature’ in cities given the meticulous planning and management required to sustain it. He looks at the possible future of our city spaces, creating spaces that remind us of our place in the world and our quest to create inclusive, healthy, rewarding and joyful cities.