Leeds School of Arts

Landscape Architecture Alumnus Wins National Student Portfolio Award

Congratulations to Beatrice Freeman, MA Landscape Architecture graduate, who has won the national Landscape Institute Student Portfolio Award.

Planting strategy

Beatrice’s work focussed on proposals for Pomona Island in Manchester looking at creating modern day pleasure gardens in contrast to some of the high-density development seen elsewhere in the city. Her work sought to elevate the importance of the ecology that has been established on the site while responding to the site’s unique urban character.

When asked about her feelings towards winning the award, Beatrice says, ‘I am absolutely delighted to have won an award on a national stage and represent the next generation of landscape architects and designers. I could not have done it without the amazing support of the teaching staff on the Landscape Architecture team. They have done nothing but pour out inspiration and knowledge, since I started my under-grad in 2015, as a late teen with absolutely no experience in the field.’

She also explains how staff here at Leeds Beckett provide a very hands on approach to teaching which has helped the postgrad fine tune her spatial design skills and expand on her thought process to be able to think outside the box while creating grounded, sustainable and realistic design responses. The atmosphere of the studios in Broadcasting Place have helped her grow as a designer while surrounded by talented and creative peers, that regularly discuss and share ideas as the students develop on their projects.  

Beatrice feels proud to have won the award for her project based in Manchester where she grew up. The city is undergoing some drastic changes with cranes and building sites on every corner as sky scraping towers emerge across the district. Her project suggests a more holistic approach to city planning, and the need to step back to assess our green space assets as they are a rare and declining jewel in the city. One of these assets for Manchester is Pomona Island, which has thrived with wildlife since the decline of industry and the docks have been replaced with an urban oasis of biodiverse animal and plant life. This has become an integral habitat for hundreds of bird species which Beatrice has explored the development of the site to protect and value this irreplaceable brownfield habitat on the River Irwell.

Beatrice hopes to carry through these philosophies of wildlife preservation and sustainable urban planning that she has learnt in her time at Leeds Beckett into her career, with a focus on tackling the climate emergency and biodiversity decline. Landscape architects are at the forefront of the changing attitudes to green spaces in the UK, with many lessons having been learnt during the lockdowns of Covid-19; people are striving to get out into the landscape for recreation, socialising and respite more than ever. The recent graduate is proud to be part of an industry that strives to create new green public spaces, protect our existing natural habitats and tackle the challenges that a fast-growing urban world throws at us.  

See more of Beatrice and other Post Graduate landscape architecture students’ working the Leeds School of Arts Festival 2020.

Ecological park visual

Beatrice's work part of the LSA Festival

John MacCleary

Course Director / Leeds School Of Arts

John MacCleary joined Leeds Beckett as Course Director for Landscape Architecture in 2018. He primarily teaches the post-graduate students bringing his practice experience, knowledge of construction and environment led design approach to the students and the course.

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