Altus Dippenaar - Landscape Architectural Technologist

Works at EXP
Years of experience: 17

Last updated: December, 2022

Career Journey




Career Milestone 1


Career Milestone 2


Career Milestone 3


Future Ambitions

Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa (CPUT)
Landscape Technology Diploma

2006 - 2010
Planning Partners International (Cape Town, South Africa)
Landscape Architectural Technologist

2010 - 2017
Matrix Landscape Architecture (Calgary, AB)
Landscape Architectural Technologist

2018 - 2022
Carson McCulloch Associates Ltd. (Calgary, AB)
Landscape Architectural Technologist

I will be actively pursuing becoming a registered Landscape Architect over the next few years.

Question and Answers

After graduation, what was the first position you had? How did that shape where you are now as a Landscape Architectural Technologist?

After graduation I started my career as junior Landscape Architectural Technologist with a private international Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning, and Town Planning company in Cape Town, South Africa. My exposure to the various international and local projects from the conceptual stage through to the design development stage, contract document preparation, and the implementation of the projects along with the guidance and mentorship of the group of Landscape Architects that was overseeing and managing the LAT's has been invaluable to my continued education and career growth.

What is something that surprised you at the start of your career? or What is something that surprises you about being a Landscape Architectural Technologist?

At the start of my career, fresh out of University, I was surprised to learn how broad our industry really is and that our involvement in projects are so much more than what the general public considers our profession to be. It never ceases to amaze me that there are individuals who think Landscape Architecture is the work that a landscape maintenance contractor does. Thankfully, our Industry has come a long way and its value is being recognized more and more each day.

What are some of your roles and responsibilities?

My career has evolved from being drafting and design support to the Landscape Architects, to private and public consultation, conceptual design, design development and the application process with the local authorities, through to preparation of tender and construction documents and administering the Contract to completion. Given how broad the Landscape Architecture Industry is, and now that other disciplines are (slowly) becoming more and more aware of the value of our profession, my roles and responsibilities is evolving as well.

What does a typical day look like for you?

One of the most attractive aspects of our industry is that my days are never the same, repetitive. There are days spent in the office preparing conceptual/design drawings, or contract documents, and there are days filled with meetings and consultations, or field work, or both. The variety of tasks, and critical thinking, makes the day(s) interesting and enjoyable.

What skills do you feel are important to have as a Landscape Architectural Technologist?

Our Industry is constantly changing and, apart from understanding and being able to use the multiple drafting and illustration software programs that are at our disposal, I believe that plant knowledge, critical thinking and a thorough understanding of the Legal aspect and implications of Contract Document preparation are important skills to have as a Landscape Architectural Technologist.

What are you passionate about as a Landscape Architectural Technologist?

Over the past 17 years of my career as a Landscape Architectural Technologist my passions have changed from being a plant person being infatuated with trees, shrubs, perennials and the combinations of the former, to understanding that Landscape Architecture does not only comprise of plants and plant combinations.
At this moment my passion is design, and what I am passionate about is creating elegant, minimalistic designs that are functional, practical and environmentally appropriate for our current climate situation. Spaces and destinations that can be used year-round and that are timeless.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have been a part of.

During my employment at the Landscape Architectural firm in Cape Town I was involved with international projects such as Zarnegar Park in Kabul, Afghanistan, Khorog City Park in Tajikistan, StoneTown Promenade in Zanzibar and the restoration and refurbishment of Bamako City Park in Mali.
Locally my involvement ranged from Commercial, Industrial and Residential developments of which Century City, Cape Town and V&A Waterfront Residential Marina are the noteworthy projects that I have worked on.

Whereas in Canada, the most exciting projects that I have been a part of was Calgary City Centre Phases 1 and 2, the Oxford Office Tower (Centennial Phase 3) and various retail developments across the City of Calgary (Sage Hill Common, Sage Hill Crossing, East Hills, and CoopersTown Promenade in Airdrie).

Describe something that you have found challenging as a LAT?. How did you overcome this?

One of the biggest challenges we face is multi-disciplinary coordination where Landscape Architecture plays an integral part in the project. Communication is more often absent than we like to admit and it complicates getting the work done. At the beginning of my career I was lacking confidence and was, well, shy...
Over the years I've overcome that and have also learned that having strong project team relationships assist greatly with meeting or exceeding expectations especially working under tight deadlines.

What advice would you give a new Landscape Architectural Technologist?

Never be afraid or hesitate to ask questions. Your peers would appreciate it because not only will it be a teaching moment for them, but it would also show them that you are eager to learn. And, should your peers not know the answer, they will research, learn something themselves, and be able to teach you something that will be to your advantage and assist with your career growth. At the end of the day our singular goal is that we want each other to succeed and prosper in our careers within the Landscape Architecture Industry.

What are your future goals?

I will be continuing my research and education within the Industry, as well, I will be actively pursuing becoming a Landscape Architect in the new year (2023).

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