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Q & A: Eleanor Trenfield

Eleanor Trenfield is the new honorary editor of Landscape. This is your opportunity to learn more about her.

© Tom Lee

Please tell us a little about you As a chartered landscape architect, I am currently specialising in strategic landscape planning. I am part of the expert panel investigating potential Green Belt policy for the Landscape Institute and have experience providing expert witness evidence.

I work at Barton Willmore, a large multi-disciplinary practice, and am based in Soho Square, London, undertaking work across the country. I have a degree in architecture from the University for the Creative Arts and an MA in landscape architecture from the University of Greenwich. I am now a guest tutor for undergraduate architecture students at the University for the Creative Arts, and attend reviews at the University of Kent. I live in Canterbury and am married to the most wonderfully optimistic man I have ever met.

How did you first become interested in landscape?
Thinking back, it was visiting the Botanical Gardens in Harare, Zimbabwe almost every day with my father during my childhood. It had various zones, one of which we called the rainforest which had luscious vines, tall heavy canopy trees and probably constant irrigation (which was not something I ever considered as a child). To me, it was magical.

What is the most important thing you learned during your education?
To interrogate a brief. And plant knowledge.

Who has been key to your career in landscape architecture so far? 
Many people, but two that deserve special mention: Tom Turner – a fantastic tutor who challenged and enthusiastically encouraged me throughout my MA, and supported me in my final project that proposed an alternative design for Boris Island Airport in the Thames. I set up a website and was published and interviewed in aviation publications and for government feasibility studies, and attended debates

Julian Bore – the person who first introduced me to the landscape profession and offered me, 
as an architecture graduate, a position at his practice (Lloyd Bore), and supported me through my chartership.

What is the most challenging project on which you have worked?
Early in my career, I worked on a highways infrastructure scheme from inception to completion, which had many complexities including ownership, protected species, proximity to Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar (Convention on Wetlands) sites, relocation of existing land uses, and difficult site conditions with exceptionally heavy clay soils and high winds. In addition, there were the challenging landscape contractors who worked from a soggy A4 black and white bit of paper which vaguely resembled the series of A1 coloured plans which I had spent hours meticulously annotating and colour coding (lesson learned).

What is it about Landscape that matters to you and why do you want to be honorary editor?
I appreciate that Landscape reaches a wide audience, with a wide and rich scope of experience and expertise. As honorary editor, I will liaise with Darkhorse who are the editor and publisher and with the support of the advisory editorial panel members (who are an accomplished cross section of the profession), ensure that articles continue to be interesting and relevant to readers, and that the journal keeps us well informed. Tim Waterman was a fantastic honorary editor and leaves big shoes to fill. The next few years will be challenging for all of us and we need to make sure that we are well informed so we are prepared and can spot opportunities.

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