Zsofia Tarnai, Principal Landscape Architect

17 September, 2020

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What inspired you to get into the profession and what do you enjoy most about it now?

I have always been a creative and very arty person. For a long time I thought my career would be in fine art, but I am glad it turned out differently. I also had a keen interest in the natural world.   I was good at biology and botany so landscape architecture seemed to be a good choice where both of my interests could be utilised.

I love transforming and creating places for people to enjoy and ensure they are sustainable and beneficial for wildlife as well. There is nothing like seeing your initial sketches turning into reality whether it’s a new plaza, school grounds or a play area.

Your career development at Pick Everard

I first worked with Pick Everard back in 2006 on Leicester Grammar School as a landscape sub-consultant and during the coming years I contributed to many different projects establishing a strong working relationship with PE staff from many disciplines. I joined the firm in October 2018 as the first landscape architect and in 18 months I built a strong team of 5.

I received incredible support from my managers throughout. Pick Everard gave me the opportunity and the freedom to develop this division and make it a successful addition to the firm’s existing services.

What do you appreciate most about working at Pick Everard?

  1. First of all my team. We have a fantastic team of passionate landscape architects all with different expertise and skill sets bringing new ideas and suggestions to the table taking our division to the next level.
  2. I appreciate the incredible variety of projects we can work on. Since I joined, I have worked on schools, colleges, blue light and residential schemes (including assisted living), high profile public realm schemes and custodial projects. I learn something new every day and no two days are the same.
  3. I also appreciate the support Pick Everard offer for career progression. Everybody is actively encouraged to get chartered and there are plenty of opportunities to further our careers within the firm.
  4. With Pick Everard being a multi-disciplinary practice it provides the opportunity to work closely with colleagues from other disciplines. I work with pretty much all the disciplines within the firm.

What projects have inspired you and why?

I can take something away from all the projects I have worked on but some have definitely stood out more.

On the Reardon Court project, I am part of a multi-disciplinary Pick Everard team designing the external areas for an Extra Care facility for Enfield Council. I worked closely with the Council and the design team to develop an environment that offers therapeutic benefits for the residents, improves their physical and mental wellbeing but can be enjoyed by the staff or the visitors. I am proud that we are able to contribute to improving people’s lives through our design.

One of my biggest projects was King’s School in Macclesfield, another PE multi-disciplinary effort, a new campus within 80 acres of rural site. I worked collaboratively with our design team, the main contractor, Vinci, and the Headmaster and his team to ensure we achieved their vision whilst staying on programme and within budget. The new landscape supports the school’s curriculum through external classrooms, flexible spaces and features that can be used or developed as educational resource. I can’t wait to go back in the coming years to see how the landscape will have matured.

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