From Toronto to Abu Dhabi, LANDinc is making waves around the world as one of the most progressive and innovative integrated landscape architecture and urban design firms in the industry. Creative and resourceful, the LANDinc team is a comprehensive, and energetic design force that has a proven record of design excellence and client satisfaction.
LANDinc’s portfolio of completed works bridges both conceptual master planning projects and built works with a diverse range of scales and complexity. Their design and planning solutions embody a common philosophy of strong, simple design in response to the unique cultural, economic and environmental challenges at each stage of every project.
Whether building a complete city in the Middle East, a National Memorial on Canada’s East Coast, or a skateboard park in the GTA, LANDinc brings creativity and execution to any project.
Led by the principals Patrick Morello and Walter Kehm this multi-disciplinary design firm provides urban design, environmental planning, sustainable infrastructure, and landscape architecture to a wide range of private and public sector projects throughout Canada and internationally.
The reason to create LANDinc was to offer clients the ability to approach a project in a more creative and integrated way, especially for larger projects. Creating a professional team that’s able to assess complex projects and being able to discuss a broad variety of design issues with professionals from a variety of fields such as heritage planning, engineering, storm water management, hydrology, geotechnical, etc.— simply put, fully assess the project and its locality as a single unit, not as a series of disjointed studies and design exercises.
LANDinc always considers both, constraints and opportunities of the project, whether they would be economic, environmental or even cultural. Once the firm creates the project master plan through a collaborative and process oriented approach to understanding the opportunities then it starts working with the respective industries to build infrastructure, buildings, and landscapes.
“For example, we design communities, and to do that you need expertise in civil engineering, transportation planning, architecture, landscape, etc., but all of these disciplines only support the design of the whole in an integrated, sustainable and ecological manner. That’s our forté,” explains Morello.
“We have people from these disciplines on staff, so we are very well informed when we are doing our planning work. The scale of our work ranges from our largest project which was 350 square kilometres – 65 kilometres of shoreline in Libya – design of a new city (which could be considered three cities). This was a very large project for us, and here we had to carefully study the land and the sea in order to understand where the city centre would be, where the marinas would be, institutions, districts, etc., and then design the individual districts. ‘Integrated’ means — involving many disciplines to make each stage well thought out. It is absolutely necessary to have an inclusive and well-informed process to fully understand the many layers that influence the opportunities and constraints of a site,” says Morello.
“We don’t believe in a preordained layout of the city without this knowledge. This knowledge is the key to make any city sustainable, otherwise you are just fighting nature, placing green spaces where they won’t thrive, or creating environments that may cause floding. We believe in working with nature and creating sustainable environments that thrive naturally.” – Patrick Morello, Principal
Backed by its expertise, the firm strives to provide designs that are efficient and sensible, and “efficient” also translates to “sustainable”. Sustainability is what drives LANDinc’s projects the most, always focusing on lowering the ecological and economic impact of ineffective urban designs. As an example of an outdated design, Morello points to the traditional urban transportation planning. “We are looking at alternative transportation modes for communities not to require 100 metre right-of-ways or expansive roadway widths. The proximity of living and work are also key to public infrastructure, and this gets built in with the transportation. So, once again, you can’t have these disciplines separate, otherwise your design will be inefficient. This is the example of the integrated approach,” says Morello.
The sustainable approach won the firm the tender to design Zenata eco-city on the outskirts of Casablanca in Morocco. The plan here is to build new smart eco-city, which will be one of the first sustainable cities in Africa. The 30-year project will create a city that can potentially accommodate 300,000 residents and 100,000 jobs by 2042.
“Iterative, process oriented, and based on a fundamental understanding of the biophysical and environmental influences was really our approach as a team that had beaten the French and the Spanish competition [in the Zenata tender]. We brought in financial planning sub-consultants from London, we had energy specialists from Germany, transportation specialists from Switzerland and architects from Toronto and Morocco, all with specific experience in North Africa. We understood the constraints of the land, the slope, the geomorphology, the geological history, the hydrology, the watershed and potential for the collection of storm water, the economic drivers, the social impacts, etc.
We simply started to draw on the map during the interview, and we said ‘we don’t believe in a preordained layout of the city without this knowledge. This knowledge is the key to make any city sustainable, otherwise you are just fighting nature, placing green spaces where they won’t thrive, or creating environments that may cause floding. We believe in working with nature and creating sustainable environments that thrive naturally.’ This is a conservation approach to design and that’s what won us this contract,” says Morello.
This followed the successful planning of a new community in the High Atlas Mountains of North Africa – Oukaimeden, Morocco. Understanding the ecological and cultural systems of place becomes extremely important when 30 towns down stream will be affected by our work and what we do with the important water resource in the mountain range plateau.
Besides Zenata, the firm participated in many large projects internationally, as well as projects domestically. One of the large mixed use community on the north shores of Egypt along the Mediterranean Sea. LANDinc was responsible for the master planning and detailed design for over 15 parks, 4 km of beach front promenade, a town centre, 3.5 km of canal system and over 25 km of streetscape and public realm design. The programming of these spaces was based on an in-depth understanding of the local users, traditions and indigenous plant material. It was also based on LANDinc’s in-depth knowledge and experience of international detailed design standards in Canada that international developers were seeking.
The firm also worked with St. John’s Kilmarnock Private school campus master plan to create an integrated strategy for learning while embracing the natural heritage of the site. The first phase of the expansion was to create an environmental class space on the lake within the school’s property that integrated spaces for environmental learning and sport recreation – a special boat house facility. This first phase was just completed in June 2013. The learning center and dining hall are next, and will form the new heart of the campus.
One of the exciting and recent projects that may interest Canadians is to create a fully accessible park and trail system at Ontario Place, with the challenge of creating an iconic landscape that would represent the province and its people. LANDinc is leading a comprehensive team of specialists including international designers from Rotterdam to assist the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport with Infrastructure Ontario and Waterfront Toronto to make this first phase – public park – a reality.
“To do this on seven and a half acres is quite a challenge. Once again, we need to consider the environment as a whole while working with various stakeholders, from the City, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, local residents, and many other interest groups, including the people who will be using the park. So in many ways, the project is as complex as designing a city,” smiles Morello.
Another Canadian city that has benefitted from LANDinc’s design approach is the nation’s capital, Ottawa. Three important and special projects on Parliament Hill by LANDinc for the Federal Government show how design also starts with consensus building through facilitation between important stakeholders like the House of Commons, Supreme Court,The RCMP, FEBRO, City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission, Public Works, and others. While planning for the future building phases, including the analysis of the security perimeter and vehicle screening, it was important to understand the wide spectrum of impacts to all Parliamentarians and the public. While developing the design for a cantilevered walkway behind the center block of the parliament buildings, it was important to assess the heritage impact and identity of the Parliament Hill from the surrounding lands including the Museum of Civilization, and the National Gallery in Ottawa. When consensus was achieved, LANDinc team introduced technological solutions to preserve the unstable slopes and the historic “lovers walk” that wraps around Parliament Hill, and it was then important to understand the sensitivity to the landscape and the impact on security and users during construction.
From small local skate parks in rural Canada, to Capital Buildings in our nation’s capital, to international City Planning, LANDinc’s integrated multidisciplinary approach to urban design, environmental planning, and landscape architecture provides its private and public sector clients with well-informed design and planning, and a sustainable outcome.