July 06, 2020

10 Questions for Ben Gaudes

10 Years at Nadi Design

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To celebrate Nadi Design’s 10-year anniversary, we’ve asked the current staff 10 questions that reflect on their time here and how they see the firm evolving over the next decade. Here are their thoughts (answers have been edited for clarity):

 

1) How has Nadi Design evolved since you first started working as part of the team?

Although I have only been a part of this team for six weeks, I can feel the evolution of Nadi Design. Our team dynamic is strong, and we have developed that strength over time to where it is now. So even though I cannot speak to specific areas, I do, however, feel a strong presence of the office's evolution, from our collective work ethic, expertise, and efficiency every day.

2) What is the most innovative and exciting project you've seen the Nadi Design team work on?

The most exciting Nadi project I have seen has been one involving a design charrette at a K-8 public school. It's common to see designers and architects get passionate and excited over their work. However, it was a real treat seeing the non-designer attendees of the charrette find their inner "designer" as we discussed the project. By the end, these attendees brought so much enthusiasm to the table they had refined their dreams, translating them with pen and paper to create a master plan. Seeing this passion being manifested from community citizens through words, images, and drawings was definitely an exciting experience.

3) Nadi Design's mission is to design for a better world. What is the most memorable and impactful way you have seen the firm put that mission into practice?

The most impactful way I've seen Nadi design for a better world is again, through the design charrette I attended. A better world sometimes does not stem from the ideas of the landscape architect or planner. A space must meet the needs of the community it serves, and more often than not, that community has preconceived notions on what they desire in their area. This ability to facilitate discussion and extract a community's needs, rather than imposing ideas they may want, is crucial in creating shared spaces that will be used and withstand the test of time.

4) What makes Nadi Design stand out from its competitors?

For me, Nadi Design's emphasis around "play" is what makes us stand out. I find it fascinating that we not only purposely search for "play" in our designs, but also in the design and client communication process. It is a small change that makes an invaluable difference in the work-place, projects, and client relations.


5) What do you hope to see Nadi Design achieve in the next 10 years?

In 10 years, I see Nadi Design becoming a role model for new landscape architecture, and urban planning firms alike. While we will continue to create projects all over North America, more firms will adopt our ideas and design with a better world in mind. Less signature style designs will be placed in our communities and replaced with designs that beautifully reflect an area's genius loci, culture, and demographic needs.

6) What is the most rewarding part of being a member of the Nadi Design team?

The most rewarding part of working at Nadi Design is coming to conclusions from collective brainstorming. We have a team that is deeply experienced in each of their respective fields, so ideas are not only plentiful and diverse but extremely valuable.

7) What is your favourite Nadi Design project?

My favourite Nadi Design project is Rose Lake Green. Before working here, I would visit this site frequently at night just to watch the colourful lights and water show. The seamless integration of the pump house into the whole site has to be my favourite part. It really allows the entire event to be experienced on another level of immersive-ness as you can watch the fountain with uninterrupted views of the surrounding neighbourhood land-scape.

 

For Ben

 


8) What kind of design trends or new approaches to landscape architecture do you predict will become increasingly popular over the next ten years?

Over the next 10 years, I see our urban landscapes becoming increasingly pedestrian-centric. The efficiency of pedestrian travel, public amenities, active transit network systems, and accessible, frequent and reliable public transit are just some of the areas that will be popularized and prioritized.

9) Are there any kinds of creative, out-of-the-box projects you hope the Nadi Design team will get the chance to work on in the coming years?

I really hope the Nadi team will be able to tackle a project which involves redeveloping a Downtown Winnipeg parking lot into a public park space. It's no secret Winnipeg has an overabundance of surface parking lots, and being a firm that is based in the heart of Downtown Winnipeg, we see the value and potential in these spaces beyond being parking havens.

10) What are some ways that you've seen landscape architecture, urban design or urban planning create lasting, positive change within a community?

I have seen landscape architecture and urban planning make the strongest lasting, positive changes within a community when they respond and acknowledge a site's history. For example, The Forks site is a very successful public space that celebrates the history of the rail yard, the meeting of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, and the First Nation presence. The Forks is accessible to all ages and abilities, and people can go for a beer, watch the rivers, or read about the history of the site. Also, being the fantastic tourist attraction it is, this site is excellent for our economy. For me, this ticks all the boxes for landscape architecture and urban design project that makes lasting, positive changes within a community.