Shared principles; individual flair.
Today the practice is made up of three teams. Mark and Clare run the Filkins office, and Martin manages the London office. Our landscape architects have great creative flair with a diversity of specialisms and talents - landscape painting, skylines and views, historical research, planting, landscape management and ecology, among others.
All follow in the proud tradition of Brenda Colvin, who founded the practice in 1922, and Hal Moggridge, who joined her in 1969. It is Colvin & Moggridge’s philosophy, passion, dedication and rigour that continue to flourish in the practice today.
Founder (1897-1981)CBE PPILA
The late Brenda Colvin was a daughter of British India. The beauty of Kashmir and the flowers on its riverbanks remained vivid childhood memories. She attended Swanley Horticultural College where, inspired by Madeline Agar, she became passionate about landscape design.
A brilliant plantsman with an excellent sense of place, she founded in 1922 what is now the oldest landscape practice in the UK, soon producing numerous beautiful garden designs, many of which still look highly contemporary today.
Following the publication of her seminal book ‘Land and Landscape’ she began working on large-scale landscapes – including reservoirs, power stations, new universities and Aldershot military town. Always innovative, she perceived very early the relationship between ecology and landscape design. At Aldershot, for instance, she created new woodlands by naturally regenerating native species, and constructed a lake by excavating gravel to cover urban rubbish.
A deep thinker with a long-term outlook, she succeeded in perpetuating her practice and ideas beyond her own lifetime.
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ConsultantOBE VMH PPLI FIHORT RIBA AADIP
Working in the office of Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe inspired Hal to change professions, from architecture to landscape architecture, and his opportunity came in 1969 when Brenda Colvin asked him to join her as partner - she was in her 70s and he only 33.
The success of the public enquiries that often preceded consent for the large industrial landscape projects the practice became renowned for can, in part, be attributed to Hal’s encyclopaedic knowledge of each and every site. To quote Hal himself: “if, under hostile cross examination, it is possible to name the species of a specific tree or remember the condition of a particular gate, then conviction is given to opinions about more strategic matters”. Indeed he fervently believes that a complete empathy with the site lies at the heart of successful landscape design.
In the 1970s Hal played a key role in restoring the Capability Brown masterpiece at Blenheim, thus reviving the national interest in Brown and the Georgian natural landscape garden.
Hal never lost his feeling for the importance of views that his rediscovery of Brown inspired, and more recently, his pioneering work defining the spatial character of important urban views in Edinburgh and London has won him international acclaim, leading to his appointment to UNESCO’s Historic Urban Landscapes working group. Like Brenda before him, Hal was honoured for his unique thinking and work in landscape architecture.
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A peripatetic childhood and his grandmother’s Devon garden instilled in Chris an acute awareness of places and the defining differences between them. He believes atmosphere is the key, but not always the acknowledged, element in landscape design and garden making.
To every project Chris brings his vast knowledge of plants, planting and horticulture.
Among his many undertakings has been a substantial coastal garden in Brittany for the holiday house of a German client who required maximum flower power during his holiday season. When Leeds Castle asked for a memorable new garden overlooking the Great Water, Chris made exuberant use of terrace levels, sunny walls and pergolas to fully exploit the brilliance of the setting. And the Rose Garden at Hyde Park Corner, once a featureless and waterlogged area, is now a fanfare and popular place to pause as one enters Hyde Park.
Chris holds that a true expert is unafraid to admit to not knowing everything. He believes that the more you know in your field of expertise, the more you realise there is still to learn.
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DirectorBA(Hons) DipLA CMLI MIHort
Landscapes that house botanical and zoological collections are Mark’s special passion.
His brilliant work at Jersey Zoo (the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust) started when he won a design competition to create a new Orang-utan enclosure. He soon moved on to reorganise the zoo masterplan to improve visitor circulation, as well as designing a number of major exhibits over several years. A personal highlight was a new enclosure for Madagascan Teal, which enabled this endangered species to breed for the very first time in captivity.
But it is Mark's intuitive understanding of 3D space, the visual and physical links that make a landscape work including the play of light and shade that make him a truly gifted landscape architect. Working for all types of client, on projects sometimes spanning decades, he has designed gardens and parks for some of the country’s most magnificent properties. To take only one example, at Castletown Cox, one of the finest 18th Century houses in Eire, the surrounding landscape, once sugar-beet fields, is now parkland that rivals the wonderful architecture.
Mark's natural talents are reflected in his pursuit of landscape and portrait photography, but it is with the master planning of a landscape that he achieves the deep satisfaction of knowing that he’s somehow captured a truly great composition.
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DirectorBA(Hons) MA CMLI
Martin specialises in highly sensitive landscape settings. Early on in his career he successfully overturned the then National Rivers Authority’s objection to a proposed Sculpture Gallery and park on a floodplain site. How? By proposing a floodable landscape that celebrated the dynamic characteristics of floodwaters, shaping the ground to create sculptural forms that changed as the floods advanced and receded, thereby turning a design constraint into an opportunity.
Martin is also fascinated by the analysis of views and the design of skylines. Working with Hal, he successfully fended off proposals for overly tall buildings that would spoil special views, or intrude upon areas of seclusion within the Royal Parks. And a citywide study of views and skylines in Edinburgh has more recently informed a review of the city’s High Buildings Policy.
Considering a landscape’s natural beauty, enhancing or re-arranging any given prospect or scene, in the mind’s eye is hardwired in Martin. He simply does what he loves, and loves what he does.
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DirectorBSc(Hons) MSc DipLA CMLI
For Clare, landscape design and ecology go hand in hand. A botanist, landscape ecologist and manager by training, at both Regent’s Park and Jersey Zoo, she turned previously nondescript waterside areas into fascinating habitats for waterfowl collections - complete with exciting ornamental water features and luscious planting design. The scheme to restore Ox Lee Quarry to pasture hit upon a problem when it was discovered that there was not sufficient soil to do this. Clare’s solution – placing the soil at different depths for different land-uses – resulted not only in pasture, but also plans for woodland, wetland and wildflower habitats.
Clare really understands the way modern estates work, estate ecology and historic landscape design. This means she has an impressive track record when it comes to submitting conservation and planning proposals that adapt historic landscapes to new uses. For example, Tackley Park in Oxfordshire benefited from her talents when her rigorous report, enthusiastically received by Natural England, resulted in another significant grant for country estate restoration work.
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Senior AssociateBA(Hons) MA(Cantab) MA MSc CMLI
Anna is a highly qualified Landscape Architect, with a uniquely broad educational background in Geography, Architectural History, Construction Law and Arbitration.
At Portland House, she designed and implemented a richly detailed urban garden for a young and active family, incorporating a walled kitchen garden, tennis court, croquet lawn and beautiful tree-house complex set in ornamental woodland.
Working with Mark at Castletown House in Ireland, Anna oversaw major changes to the existing parkland including several miles of new drives and railings, new landforms and the addition of a 750m long re-circulated ‘river’ complete with stone bridges. And now, a little-used part of the Daylesford Estate is graced by a small stream, complete with waterfalls, lake and waterside planting that appear to have always been part of the Estate's waterways.
In all projects, whether working as part of a multi-disciplinary team on large scale, complex project, or creating detailed planting designs for a smaller private gardens, Anna brings huge experience, knowledge, and an intuitive sensitivity to the natural and built environment.
Her aim is simple: to make every landscape design sit comfortably and elegantly in its surroundings.
Needless to say, she is also the practice's very own advisor on all contractual issues.
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