Stuart Beekmeyer is a designer who splits his time between Melbourne and Manhattan, using landscape architecture principles to activate urban spaces and bring modernity to remote locations.
At home in Melbourne, Beekmeyer built on research he completed while studying RMIT’s Master of Landscape Architecture to open a practice creating interactive public art and climbable sculpture.
One such project is the Brunswick Bouldering Wall, a 3m rock-climbing boulder – suitable for novice and expert climbers alike – which sits at the centre of a new public plaza in the heart of urban Brunswick.
In New York, he is primarily Design Director at technology company Pypestream. He is also part of Dhomain, a firm that designs inflatable dwellings, called dhomes, which can be used as temporary emergency surgery theatres in remote locations or as luxury glamping as seen at Burning Man and Further Future festivals.
Beekmeyer built this international career by taking the landscape architecture principles and techniques he learnt at RMIT and applying them to related disciplines, and he says anyone can do the same.
What projects are you currently working on, and how do they tie into your landscape architecture practice?
All of my work involves landscape architecture in some way, but I try to explore new areas as much as I can. In Australia, my focus is activating urban spaces with bouldering and other public art collaborations.
In New York I am a partner in an inflatable dhome company, where at the moment we are exploring the possibilities of our technology in pop-up resorts, festivals and emergency/refugee situations.
I’m also the design director of a tech company that develops intelligent automation, so I’m also using landscape architecture techniques in the digital realm. The digital realm is like an urban situation but the idea of scale and time are extremely variable. It’s a really interesting field.
I spend time and work with people that I usually wouldn’t work with in a landscape architecture context, so I’m building a broad set of connections and ideas that I can eventually bring back to the landscape design practice.
How did doing a Master of Landscape Architecture help your career?
RMIT is a cutting edge institution with a reputation for training leaders, not foot soldiers. The program has a very open idea of what landscape architecture is, so you can really take the skills you learn in a multitude of directions, often at the same time.
The research I did in my masters eventually turned into a private practice after graduation, so I’m actually building the concepts I investigated. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if I hadn’t been a student at RMIT.
What advice would you give to people wanting to studying landscape architecture?
Collaborate with anyone and everyone you can. You’ll be surprised what you learn. Get a studio if you can – it doesn’t matter who you share your space with, and whether they’re in design or not, as long as they are positive and motivated.
It’s also important to take your ideas out into the world, and no matter what you’re working on – techno party, art event, pop-up restaurant, etc. – always follow through the entire process from concept to post-evaluation.
Studying gives you the luxury of being able to experiment without failure, so take advantage of it.
Build a global career and take your ideas to the world with RMIT’s Masters of Landscape Architecture.
Story: Bradley Dixon