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Joy Vo - Student Spotlight

Posted 18 01 2024

in News

Joy Vo
Joy Vo
West Harbour School - The Start of a new Career

Joy Vo is a 1st year student of Landscape Architecture at Unitec. She recently completed one of her first professional designs in her landscape design career-  West Harbour School. Discover more about Joy, her interest in the profession, as well as her concept design.

Since my childhood, I've been engaged in the world of plants, thanks to my dad's small garden enriched with various types of orchids. Together, we nurtured and cared for them, fostering a deep-rooted love for plants within me.

Into adulthood, I found myself in a job that didn't align with my passion. Each day felt boring until I had a realization – my love for plants never waned. Fueled by this rediscovered passion, I made a life-changing decision to return to university and pursue studies in landscape architecture.

Now, armed with enthusiasm and a dedication to my love for plants, I am on a journey to combine my skills and knowledge to breathe life into urban spaces. My goal is to contribute to the integration of greenery into development areas, creating sustainable and vibrant environments that connect people with nature.


West Harbour School Concept Plan
West Harbour School Concept Plan
West Harbour School Elevation
West Harbour School Elevation

THE CONNECTION - West Harbour School

The school occupies a concrete site lacking vibrancy and engagement. With the goal of creating a transformative landscape that seamlessly connects the human experience with nature, the concept centres on fostering a connection between students and the environment. This initiative aims to enhance not only their academic experience, but also to spark curiosity and interest in the natural world.

Embracing sustainability, the design re-purposes the existing concrete into a meandering path, mirroring the hexagonal shape of a beehive. This design choice not only provides functionality but also serves as a living lesson for students, intertwining their daily experiences with the wonders of nature. The hexagonal seating areas become interactive hubs, sparking fascination about pollination—a subject taught in the very classrooms overlooking the transformed landscape.

A vibrant colour palette breathes life into the concrete canvas, with yellow taking centre stage. This hue, synonymous with the school's identity, symbolises the dawn of knowledge and serves as a visual representation of a sunrise—a new beginning. The introduction of contrasting purple adds depth and dynamism, transforming the site into a kaleidoscope of
hues, and making the landscape visually vibrant.

At the focal point of this space stands the Lowland Ribbon Wood, strategically positioned to serve as a metaphorical and physical nexus. Its overarching branches metaphorically connect classrooms, reinforcing a sense of unity and fostering interpersonal relationships. Moreover, as a deciduous plant, it intelligently contributes to space functionality by providing shade during the summer months and permitting increased sunlight penetration in the winter.

In the end, West Harbour School's landscape transformation embodies the harmony between humans and nature, creating a dynamic and inspiring environment that encourages exploration, learning, and the nurturing of meaningful connections.