Barnett Memorial Public Lecture


Designing to Celebrate the Nature of our Place

 Di Lucas

landscape planner

principal of Lucas Associates

based in Canterbury and working throughout Aotearoa New Zealand

As winner of the first ‘Gold’ New Zealand Landscape Award last year, Di Lucas is very experienced in seeing the potential in an area, and through planning and design celebrating and dramatising the essence of this local character. With a landscape architecture practice established in Canterbury for 20 years, Di Lucas has an extensive track record not only here, but also throughout much of Aotearoa New Zealand.

From being nurtured in the Central Otago high country, following a science degree in botany at Otago University, Di completed the post-graduate landscape architecture course at Lincoln. After several years as a landscape architect for government, then overseas travel, Di established a rural-based practice in Geraldine. Since a return to Lincoln University and a masters degree in landscape planning, Di has practiced from central Christchurch. A decade ago she received the first of many national landscape awards and was made a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects.

Lucas Associates have undertaken many community-based planning exercises for urban as well as rural areas, from central Christchurch to other places such as for Arrowtown, Peel Forest, Waitomo, and, currently in Golden Bay.

Wanting to recognise New Zealand’s contrast from so much of the world, in that we have a unique indigenous flora that varies enormously throughout the country. She realised that we in New Zealand can work out what is native to every place, and that most countries in the world can’t do that. So Lucas Associates make sure that they respect and display this natural diversity in their designs, along with appropriate exotic plants and other influences.

Because people have found it so difficult trying to find out what plants are native to their place, Di and her team have been active in developing friendly guides to help people know what is native to their patch. Once you know that, then the design opportunities can be explored, and these are endless and exciting.

September 1999