My Writtle Story: Gary Alden

January 2023

Image for press release - Gary stands outside, in front of a tree, and looks towards the camera.

Gary Alden is a Senior Associate at Townshend Landscape Architect, a studio based in Central London, with an established reputation for delivering high quality public realm schemes across a wide range of scales, both domestic and internationally. 

Projects the practice has worked on include the public realm designs at King's Cross including Granary Square, Pancras Square and Lewis Cubitt Park.

Gary was awarded a first-class honours degree in a BSc (Hons) Landscape and Garden Design at Writtle in 2003.


What does Writtle mean to you? 

Writtle was the first place I lived at away from home, the campus environment was a great place to grow up and learn, yet still having the friendly support and of course a wholesome meal at the Writz! 

I still occasionally go on walks around the fields near the college, the front of the main building always takes me back to the great memories I had at Writtle.


What were your Writtle highlights? 

The social life! Monday night student nights at the college bar followed by either Zeus or Dukes (now long gone), then an invigorating plant ID around the college grounds on a Tuesday morning.

Having said that I did go on to win an award for the 'Most Improved Student' in the final year, a bit of a back handed compliment, but maybe I did finally get it!

I took a year out between my 2nd and 3rd year to go on an Erasmus exchange to Finland.  

This was a chance to try something new, travel, get a more international perspective and gain more experience, particularly in computer aided design, graphic skills, and heating up a sauna.


Could you tell us about your experiences after leaving Writtle? 

Having left Writtle I went on to do a post graduate diploma and an MA in Landscape Architecture, at the time this was not offered by Writtle. I was then able to get a job straight away, which 18 years later, now a chartered professional, I’m still there.

I am a team leader and work on amazing schemes as a Landscape Architect. 

I am currently working on a large scale urban regeneration masterplan at Canada Water in London which included early visioning work on the 21 hectare masterplan, planning consent and now overseeing delivery as it is constructed on site over a number of phases, over many years.

I am also working on 'The Green Heart' part of the Broad Marsh public realm for our client, Nottingham City Council. 

This is an urban rewilding project that will reconnect those living and visiting Nottingham with nature, enabling people to develop stronger connections, recognise its importance and foster a sense of stewardship of the natural world. 

I am collaborating on this with world renowned British designer, Thomas Heatherwick.


Do you have any advice for our current students?

Think big and you can make a positive contribution in a career at helping to mitigate against climate change. If you have a passion for connecting people with nature and shaping the public realm to create lively environments that contribute to people's health, happiness and wellbeing, this is the place for you. 

Landscape Architecture is a profession that we are desperately needing quality graduates for.


For more information on our Landscape Architecture postgraduate courses, click here