Image by Aasiya Jagadeesh / ITP Images
ITP Images
Image by Aasiya Jagadeesh / ITP Images

Landscape architect Janneke Eggink joins Aecom after four years with Perkins+Will

“I see cities as living organisms,” said Dutch landscape architect and urban designer Janneke Eggink. “While working on my thesis at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, I studied how elements within a city are connected, and how they can be manipulated. A city is never finished.”

Eggink, who has worked with West 8, one of the world’s most established urban design companies, first moved to the Middle East in 2015 to join award-winning architecture firm Perkins+Will’s Dubai studio.

Over the years she rose in seniority at the company, working on various masterplan projects in the GCC. She’s also participated in numerous workshops held by the UAE’s Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities and Al Ain Municipality. The past year alone, she was shortlisted for MEA Awards’ Young Architect of the Year.

“As a landscape architect and urban designer, projects will always have a basic framework that comes from the landscape itself. We always study the surroundings, so we go beyond the site – understanding the city, how it works and how it was built up, as well as the culture and environment. The aim is to connect the community with our new project,” she said.

“Sometimes we also propose new things outside of the project site to enhance the whole connection. Using metric tools, we look at how topography, for example, affects the site, as well as water management. The people that are using the space is the most important element to me – if the city
space that you are within doesn’t speak positively to you, then you will not be able to experience its architecture or urban elements.”

Recently joining Steven Velegrinis at Aecom as senior landscape architect in the landscape and masterplanning departments, Eggink plans to continue working on projects that are community-driven.

“Instead of seeing urban designers and architects as delivering a finished product, they should actually be seen as providing a framework for a community to build upon,” she said.

“It’s also really important to teach clients how to approach sites – if we are the ones doing the research, we should try to push for change if it offers a better solution for the community, ecology and environment of the neighbourhood.”