Landscape Modelling, with Gustafson Porter + Bowman


Working for landscape architects Gustafson Porter + Bowman for 3 years has given me a strong understanding of digital modelling processes for landscape design. During my time with them, I produced several high-fidelity 3D existing and proposed topographical models for a range of projects across urban locations:

· Mezyad Desert Park, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Visitor Centre, satellite buildings, and landscape proposals. Stages: Concept Design to Detailed Design. Unrealised.

· Woolwich Squares, London. Stages: End of Concept Design to part way through Construction. Project was built in 2011.
See my separate project page here.

· New Ludgate Roof Terrace, London. Stages: Brief to end of Detailed Design. Project was built in 2014.
See my separate project page here.

· CityLife Milan, Italy. Stages: competition proposal, which we won. Phase 1 of the project was built in 2014.

· St. Peters Square, Manchester. Competition entry.

· Beijing Plaza, China. Competition entry.

· Rhine Terrace landscape, Basel. Stages: Brief to end of Concept Design. Project was built in 2017.


These models have to incorporate a variety of detail: all soft and hard landscape surface features, contours, breaklines, roads & paths, natural & artificial zones of water, and so on.

As a result these models must be very precise in areas (for example when we must achieve a specific path slope or set a drainage point), while other areas are less clearly defined and instead must be ‘intuitively’ regraded and moulded to smoothly transition between the fixed datums and levels.

Modelling these landscapes therefore requires a strong understanding of topography and high-end surface modelling techniques – such as tangential surfacing and curvature analysis. These techniques are more often seen in disciplines such as product design, where it can be vital to achieve tangency and surface continuity.

To aid this process I developed a set of landscape-specific scripts and parametric tools that can generate and analyse a range of features such as slope ratio, Isopach, contour, TIN spacing, and so on.

Key Topics:

· Freeform modelling.

· Surface + curvature analysis tools.

· Landscape modelling from survey data and ortho-rectified aerial photography.

Project Team:

Client: Various
Designer: Gustafson Porter + Bowman

Project Role: Architectural Assistant at Gustafson Porter + Bowman