Katrina Simon appointed as Associate Dean of Landscape Architecture

Newly announced Associate Dean Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT, Dr Katrina Simon. Photo by Brinlee Pickering.

Newly announced Associate Dean Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT, Dr Katrina Simon. Photo by Brinlee Pickering.

Following an exhaustive international search, Katrina Simon has been announced as RMIT’s new Associate Dean of Landscape Architecture, in the School of Architecture and Urban Design (A_UD). The School welcomes Katrina, and looks forward to a mutually energising association from mid 2018.

As a designer and maker, Katrina is ‘delighted to be joining an institution that has such a strong tradition in design, and that is so committed to ideas and experimentation.’ She is also ‘invested in and inspired by the power and potential of researching through the process of design’ and sees RMIT as ‘a great environment for this mode of research.’ This suggests a stimulating future at RMIT for Katrina, particularly given A_UD’s focus on exploring the challenges of our cities and the resilience of landscape through its rich design culture and emerging technologies, and its use of design practice as an agent of cultural change.  

The School’s Dean, Professor Martyn Hook, is excited about Katrina’s appointment and comments that ‘with her entire career built around the creative interweaving of diverse domains and modes of knowledge, Katrina is passionate about exploring ways of imparting her broad intelligence and integrated approach to new generations of designers and researchers. This is evident in the rich variety of teaching, research and academic leadership that she has achieved during her career, so far’.

Katrina has been involved in teaching for the past twenty years, developing and delivering design studios, lecture-based courses, and international travelling studios in landscape architecture and architecture. Many of these ventures have focused on the role of public open space in structuring the urban realm, and on the impact of geographical conditions on the design of cities.  In these previous academic positions, Katrina has also played a major role in the curriculum development of professionally accredited undergraduate and postgraduate landscape architecture design programs, including the creation of a research Master of Landscape Architecture by project at Unitec and the development of a new coursework Master of Landscape Architecture at UNSW. 

Research outputs, for Katrina, are many and varied, ranging across traditional publications, curated exhibitions, and peer-reviewed design competition entries. Working across these different modes, Katrina has produced 15 peer-reviewed publications, been awarded multiple funded research projects and awards, exhibited in 10 solo and 19 group exhibitions, and been recognised in over 15 design awards. She is also a distinguished speaker at education and discipline conferences around the world, a popular invited peer reviewer, design studio critic, and postgraduate examiner. 

Through her research practice, Katrina has been a key figure in multiple design teams that have successfully competed against established design firms; winning and being shortlisted in a range of competition projects, including the New Zealand Memorial in London competition and the Tamaki Drive competition run by Auckland City Council. Katrina also collaborated with the team that won the national NZIA Planning and Urban Design Award for Hurstmere Green, Takapuna in 2014. Most recently, she has been part of a design team that was one of six finalists in the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial design competition run by CERA.  She also maintains a high individual success rate in nationally-run conceptual design competitions.

Professionally, Katrina has acted as juror for awards programs run by the Landscape Industries Association of New Zealand, the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects, and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. She has also been involved in professional conferences as panel chair. At UNSW  Katrina was elected for a two-year term as Faculty Presiding Member for the Faculty of the Built Environment, a role that provided a link between academic staff and the University’s Academic Board. In this position, Katrina chaired the Faculty Board, the Faculty Standing Committee, and the Faculty’s Education Committee, and sat on the Faculty’s Executive and Research Committee as well as the University’s Academic Board.

Studying for her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in New Zealand at the University of Auckland and Lincoln University, and gaining her PhD from the University of Sydney in Australia, Katrina has worked in industry in the UK and New Zealand, and as an academic at the University of Auckland (NZ), University of Cambridge (UK), Unitec Institute of Technology (NZ), and the University of New South Wales (AUS). Katrina will join RMIT in July 2018.

Philip BeleskyNews