Sustainable Future for Fairbourne, UK

From the ‘Land of the Himalayas’, the GEN Z Series moves to the British Isles to meet Graduate Landscape Architect Amrutha Chempaliputhenpurayil Raj from India. In September 2023, she graduated with Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the Birmingham City University. Soon after her Masters’, Amrutha joined ONE Creative Environments, Worcester, UK. Interestingly, her father retired as a Civil Engineer. Her mother is a dedicated housewife. Her brother followed his father’s footstep to become an Engineer and serving in Merchant Navy.

Master Plan

Amrutha reveals, “My supportive family is the source of my strength. Brother Deepak played a crucial role in persuading my parents to endorse my pursuit of a Master’s degree abroad (smiles). Along this transformative odyssey, my steadfast companion has been my husband Sonu, offering unwavering support. My story epitomizes the harmonious blend of passion, familial encouragement, and personal resilience, paving the way for extraordinary achievements.”

Amrutha is a multiple award-winning student-landscape architect. Her passionate dedication and creativity won her Master’s Thesis three prestigious awards – ‘The Landscape Institute John Knights Award’, ‘Sustainable Design Award’ and ‘Best Graphics Award’. It was enchanting interacting with the talented landscape architect. Johnny D talks to Amrutha to explore her quest and her multiple award-winning thesis.

Habitats Preservation and Restoration Efforts – Fairbourne

What was your childhood ambition? Did you always wanted to become a landscape architect? 

I have always had a strong interest in the construction industry, because my father worked as a civil engineer. In addition, my mother’s magnificent collection of 50 fruiting trees and 100-plant kinds at our home provided me with a nature-loving childhood that stoked my enthusiasm for architecture and landscapes. My path towards architecture was shaped by a combination of early inspirations and exposure to architecture. I aspire to enhance existing spaces, creating better environments for both humans and all living beings.  My journey guided my evolution from architecture to landscape architecture (smiles).

Spatial Principle

How has architecture / landscape architecture influenced your life as a student?

Architecture and landscape architecture have profoundly shaped my student life, infusing it with creativity and purpose. As a student, these disciplines became lenses through which I viewed the world, transforming the mundane into opportunities for design and innovation. The challenges posed by architectural projects honed my problem-solving skills and fostered a disciplined work ethic. Moreover, the emphasis on sustainable practices instilled in me a responsibility towards the environment.

Collaborative projects and exposure to diverse design philosophies broadened my perspective. Overall, architecture and landscape architecture have been not only my academic pursuits, but also the guiding forces to influence my mindset and approach to life.


What challenges did you face at Birmingham City University for your Master’s Course in Landscape Architecture?

Embarking on my Master’s in Landscape Architecture at Birmingham City University as an international student posed initial fears of belonging and adapting to a new culture. The apprehension of fitting in was palpable before arriving. However, upon reaching the university, these worries were swiftly dispelled. Establishing meaningful connections and receiving invaluable support from tutors became transformative. The university’s welcoming environment not only dissolved my initial concerns, but also played a pivotal role in propelling me toward realizing my aspirations in the field of landscape architecture.

Sea Level Rise

Briefly tell us about your University and the Course.

Pursuing my Master’s at Birmingham City University offered a unique blend of innovation and practicality. The program seamlessly integrates theoretical insights with hands-on applications, fostering a holistic grasp of sustainable design, urban planning and environmental stewardship. The university’s diverse and inclusive community nurtured a creative atmosphere, thereby enhancing collaborative exploration.

Notably, a module Co-Lab, involving real-life projects facilitated direct client interaction, a valuable experience. BCU’s emphasis on practical knowledge over excessive theory resonated with my preference for design and hands-on learning. The university’s commitment to excellence and a supportive environment truly enhanced my educational journey, focusing on the practical aspects crucial in the landscape architecture field.

Flood Flow Analysis

Briefly describe the significance of your project with the ‘Title of the Project and Site Location’.

Title: ‘Embracing the Wave: Building a Sustainable future for Fairbourne’; Site: Fairbourne, Gwynedd, North Wales.

Fairbourne is a village located in the county of Gwynedd in North Wales, UK. It is situated on the coast of Cardigan Bay and is known for its scenic beauty and recreational activities, such as sailing and windsurfing. The village has a population of around 1,500 people and is a popular tourist destination. The village has a railway station and regular bus services connecting it to nearby town and cities. The village also has a small shopping area, a pub, a hotel and a café.

Rocky Living Shoreline

The Faribourne Village Project 2100 is a visionary response to the critical decision by the UK government to decommission Fairbourne Village, situated along the Welsh coast. This village has become an early casualty of rising sea levels, flooding from mountainous regions and the adjacent estuary. The government’s decision stems from irrefutable evidence of the village’s vulnerability to climate-induced hazards, posing grave risks to both inhabitants and infrastructure.


In crafting a sustainable and resilient model for coastal areas, this project draws inspiration from the sea snail shell’s spatial principle and incorporates the Golden Ratio. Introducing nature-inspired breakwaters, a Celtic Forest, Seaweed farming and inclusive amenities like wild spaces, the design fosters biodiversity while safeguarding cultural heritage. By prioritizing sustainability, the Faribourne Village Project 2100 aims to provide a transformative blueprint, serving as a paradigm for other coastal regions within the UK and beyond.

Saltmarsh Section

Central to its vision is the creation of a community empowered to combat the challenges posed by climate change. Through a comprehensive approach that intertwines nature-inspired elements and inclusive facilities, the project envisions a thriving future. By establishing a harmonious balance between ecological preservation and human needs, the Faribourne Village Project 2100 strives to empower communities to navigate the complexities of climate change, ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future for coastal regions worldwide.

Saltmarsh Transformation Now – Future

Which National or International architect / landscape architect has inspired / influenced you? Please specify as to why?

Robert Zion, an influential landscape architect, has left an indelible mark on my design ethos. His visionary approach, notably evident in projects like ‘Paley Park’, showcases a deep understanding of urban spaces. Paley Park, a celebrated oasis in New York City, exemplifies Zion’s commitment to creating intimate, accessible green spaces within the urban fabric.

The park’s ingenious design, featuring cascading waterfalls, lush greenery and thoughtful seating, illustrates his dedication to human-scale environments. Inspired by Zion’s emphasis on blending nature with the urban landscape, I am motivated to craft designs that prioritize both aesthetic appeal and the well-being of the community they serve.

Part Plan

As an Intern, what is the most important lesson(s) you have learned from senior architects, while being a part of a project?

As a landscape architect intern, the paramount lesson gleaned from senior architects is the significance of holistic collaboration. Engaging in real projects, I learned the intricacies of interdisciplinary teamwork, where effective communication and mutual respect are fundamental. Senior architects emphasized the symbiotic relationship between environmental sustainability, functionality and aesthetic appeal.

Understanding the delicate balance required in crafting spaces that serve both human needs and ecological harmony became a guiding principle. Witnessing their adept negotiation of client visions and project constraints underscored the importance of adaptability. This invaluable experience taught me that successful landscape architecture transcends design; it is a dynamic interplay of creativity, collaboration and adaptability.

Part Plan Sections

Hostile architecture is fast changing the urban landscape of prominent cities around the world. Architecture is meant to benefit the people / users at large, but the effects of hostile architecture are targeting people and depicting wickedness of the society and architecture field. Elucidate your perspective about this unwanted trend in urban landscape.

Hostile architecture, permeating urban landscapes globally, represents a concerning shift in design ethos. While architecture should enhance public spaces, the rise of hostile designs targeting specific groups is disconcerting. This trend not only reflects societal issues, but also impacts the city’s essence and wildlife. Rapid urban growth often involves destroying existing ecosystems for sterile and unwelcoming designs.

As stewards of the environment, architects must prioritize sustainability and coexistence with nature. Preserving and enhancing the existing urban fabric ensures a harmonious balance, crucial in mitigating the broader environmental impact of urbanization. Addressing these concerns becomes imperative in combating climate change and fostering a more inclusive, sustainable urban future.

Celtic Forest Transformation

Which significant aspects of the global platform ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ did you liked the most, and why?

I appreciate ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ for its focus on crucial global issues. The series addressing the ‘Climate Crisis and Urban Flaws’ provides insightful perspectives on the world’s environmental challenges, fostering awareness about the urgent need for sustainable solutions.

Additionally, the global platform’s support for young architects in ‘Global Architects – Part IX’ is commendable. Promoting their innovative designs not only nurtures emerging talent, but also hints at potential solutions for future urban and environmental challenges. This dual commitment to raising awareness and empowering the next generation reflects a holistic approach to addressing pressing issues and building a sustainable future.

Boardwalk Details

Local charm of cities has diminished due to Modern Architecture as every city looks alike and similar. How should architects / urban planners / landscape architects modernize cities, while maintaining the local charm intact?

Preserving the local charm amid modernization requires architects, urban planners and landscape architects to grasp the essence of each place. By integrating cultural and historical elements, they can create designs that respect and enhance local identity. Convincing clients of the value in maintaining existing character is crucial; showcasing that modernization can coexist with tradition, thereby enhancing the city’s fabric. Balancing innovation with preservation fosters unique urban landscapes and celebrating diversity. Ultimately, the key lies in collaborative efforts, where modern designs complement rather than overshadow the intrinsic charm ensuring cities evolve, while retaining their distinct cultural identities.

Informational Resting Cubicle

Looking at the past in the current present, what are the futuristic architectural changes you would like to see in your home city / town? Elucidate the reasons for your vision.

In my hometown in India, I aspire for a future where architectural changes prioritize environmental conservation. The rich biodiversity of the country fall often victim to unchecked urbanization driven solely by financial gains. I envision a shift towards sustainable design that not only protects existing natural elements, but also integrates and respects the surrounding wildlife habitats.

Preserving the delicate balance between urban development and nature is crucial for the well-being of society, encompassing all living beings. This futuristic approach would ensure that progress aligns with ecological responsibility, fostering a harmonious coexistence between urban spaces and the diverse natural heritage of India.

Wild Camping Trail

Honours and awards related to architecture, if any.

My project ‘Embracing the Wave: Building a Sustainable Future for Fairbourne’ has earned prestigious honours, including the Landscape Institute John Knights Award, recognizing excellence in landscape architecture. Additionally, it has secured the Sustainable Design Award for its environmentally conscious approach and the Best Graphics Award, acknowledging outstanding visual communication.

Moment of Pride

Image Courtesy: Amrutha Chempaliputhenpurayil Raj

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