Landscape architect Boyden Evans has made a remarkable impact on the people he works with, and the company itself – with a significant personal contribution of time and effort.
Before joining Boffa Miskell in 1986, Boyden earned a degree in botany and pedology at Victoria University. He had a keen interest in botany and plants and knew a landscape architect — somebody who had recently completed the course at Lincoln. Intrigued with what seemed to be a perfect job to merge his botanical skills with his strong interest in design, Boyden promptly did a postgraduate Diploma in Landscape Architecture at Lincoln University.
Over the past three-plus decades, Boyden has made a massive contribution to Boffa Miskell’s structure and company evolution says Hamish Wesney, managing partner of the Wellington office. “Boyden is consistently a strong advocate for ‘doing the right thing by the environment and landscape’ and taking a principled approach to company decisions at significant points,” Hamish says. “And his body of work speaks to that.”
A Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects – Tuia Pito Ora, Boyden has put his mark on many of the Capital’s landmarks, including Bush City – Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Mt Victoria / Matairangi, and The Great Harbour Way – Te Aranui o Poneke; as well as large-scale projects like Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway and the Wellington Town Belt Management Plan.
One of the early pioneers in landscape and visual assessments, Boyden is nationally recognised for his work in the sustainable energy sector — notably windfarms. Boyden prepared the landscape planning assessment and presented expert evidence during the resource consent process for Te Apiti Wind Farm – the first wind farm to supply electricity to New Zealand’s national grid. He’s also completed district-wide landscape assessments and resource studies and has been involved with rehabilitation and revegetation plans for quarries, sand mining, landfills and degraded landscapes.
Master planning and design work for residential and lifestyle subdivisions are also part of the range of project work Boyden has been involved in during his 35 years at Boffa Miskell. But those who work with him say Boyden’s ‘soft skills’ are what set him apart. “He has been a great mentor for the landscape planners within Boffa Miskell, and always invested a lot of energy to ensure that the discipline works collaboratively, using robust methodologies.
We wouldn’t have such a strong group of leading landscape planners within the company without Boyden,” says Yvonne Pfluger. “Boyden filled the role as an advisor and peer reviewer for us in the Christchurch office, for a time, and was always willing to provide input on projects when needed. He acted as a sounding board when a second opinion was required and was instrumental in ensuring that the landscape planning discipline progressed throughout the years,” Yvonne continues.
Rhys Girvan worked with Boyden in the Wellington office. “His enthusiasm for landscape is contagious and a solid foundation for our continued practice,” says Rhys. “He has nurtured and maintained a lifelong commitment to promoting the wider profession of landscape architecture, from broad scale landscape planning, engaged in mapping landscape character areas and managing outstanding natural landscapes; to ensuring high quality detailed design outcomes with the right plants and soils used when delivering intricate and complex contracts. “Boyden is always a keen eye for detail and is a go-to peer reviewer and mentor; he’s committed to ensuring we will continue to deliver high quality work.”
A strong advocate for using and advancing technology — particularly applied digital tools like GIS, Vis-Sims and drone photography — Boyden is also seen as being invested in young people and their growth, and wanting to recognise them for their efforts.
“I have always appreciated Boyden’s broad skill-base in landscape planning and his wisdom when it comes to tricky issues, says landscape planner James Bentley. “I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside Boyden during those early NZCPS Natural Character days, developing an approach that made sense to the masses. “I admire Boyden’s energy and willingness to mentor and grow more junior staff. This is certainly one of the company’s core strengths and one that I know Boyden cares deeply about.”
“Boyden has developed a ‘sixth sense’ for spotting when people may be in need of an ear to listen, some sound advice, or simply someone to share a beer with,” says landscape architect Frazer Baggaley. “No matter what the need, you always come away feeling listened to, respected, and with a fresh and useful perspective. “He goes out of his way to ensure that people feel trusted to do the job at hand,” Fraser continues. “Boyden will find a way to put people in an optimum position where they can experience the maximum growth and development, while ensuring he or others are there to support and mentor when needed. “He does this in a way that is selfless and allows people to see and realise the best version of themselves.”