Copyright Natural Habitats 2016

Growing Careers: Den Aitken

Growing Careers: Den Aitken


Our Second ‘Growing Careers’ installment features Landscape Architect Den Aitken and his academic approach…making some of us feeling a little less..er, bright

9 years ago Den began his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Degree at Unitec after a number of years spent in the landscape industry. Graduating with an Honors Pass, Den’s study culminated with an award for innovative sustainability in design research with a project that challenged conventional responses to sea level rise. Den also began lecturing at Unitec during his final year of study, assisting in a construction based design studio.
6 years ago, together with colleagues in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Unitec, Den opened a design studio focusing on the relationships between research and design practice. Within the first year of operations Den was a key member of an award winning team in the 2009 ‘Opening the Red Gates’ design competition. The proposed design was one of five selected proposals for the development of Queens Wharf for the 2010 Rugby World Cup. Den was also invited to join the Department of Landscape Architecture at Unitec where he ran a series of design studios, urban design papers and research supervision.
2 years ago Den ran a study tour of Italy, travelling through a number of large and small cities across the country, exploring context and the role of tourism on identity and culture. The tour included a visit to a number of historic gardens including Villa Lante and Villa D’Este. Shortly following this tour Den accepted the role of Curriculum Leader: Bachelor of Landscape Architecture ultimately leading to the role of Programme Director: Diploma of Landscape Design at Unitec, where he was able to apply his experience in practice to the development of the programme curriculum.
2 months ago Den joined the Natural Habitats consultancy team bringing with him a diverse spectrum of experience spanning both practice and academia. As a Project Landscape Architect Den sees his role as one grounded in context and the stories of a given site. Den also feels strongly that the landscape profession is tasked with the responsibility of kaitiaki, or guardianship, and as such, connecting with the natural, historical, social or ecological context of a site forms the underpinning values of his professional methodology.

Email Den at den@naturalhabitats.co.nz for Landscape Architecture services with depth, knowledge and a promise that the council will dig his considered design notions.