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Student Showcase Archive
Show RCA 2019

Nicholas Petridis

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Major project:

Sacralising the Sacred

In the context of progressive privatisation laws in Latin American countries, the subject of environmental and socio-economic impacts from extractivism toward indigenous peoples has brought about a somewhat shrouded pandemic that is degrading indigenous cultural identities around the world.  In the context of my research project, that cultural identity is concerned with the Atacameña peoples from the Atacama Desert, in Northern Chile. The extractivism, on the other hand, is concerning lithium mining corporations – who operate primarily in the Salar de Atacama in the San Pedro de Atacama Commune. 

With this in mind, my research project discusses a growing problem that is emerging from extractivism in the Salar de Atacama.  One that is social; highlighting why this has not been brought to the fray of the debate (as much as it deserves).  But more importantly, how this is impact a local identity – the Atacameña. Furthermore, the research project discusses the importance of local agricultural practices through the annual Cleaning of Canals ritual (in Spanish, Limpia de Canales). One that is a polyvalent and plurivocal ritual; where politics, culture and economics set the scene for social relations around their most precious resource – water. The research project further discusses a proposal to use this ritual as a tool for regenerating a biocultural landscape that once existed around the Salar de Atacama edge – the forest of Tamarugos (Prosopis tamarugo).  


  • Nicholas Petridis is a London-based landscape designer from Queensland, Australia, who is fascinated in applying phytogeographical survey methodologies to landscape architectural practice.  

    Nic’s interests have been strongly influenced by his background as a Horticulturist, where he went on to follow his passion for landscape architecture at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). During his final year at QUT, Nic underwent a two-semester exchange at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), followed by relocation to London for work experience at several leading landscape architecture practices that include: Vogt Landscape, Bradley-Hole Schoenaich and Todd Longstaffe-Gowan. All of which encompassed a number of challenging projects that include: Vajrasana Gardens Buddhist Retreat Centre, the landscape master planning for Kensington Palace Gardens, and the RIBA award-winning project at Marsh Hill near the River Alde estuary.

  • Previous degrees

  • Dip Horticulture, Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE, 2008; BDes Landscape Architecture, Queensland University of Technology, 2012; MA Environmental Architecture, Royal College of Art, 2019
  • Experiences

  • Horticulturalist, Cottage Garden Nursery, Brisbane, 2005-2007; Horticulturalist, Palms For Brisbane Nursery, Brisbane, 2007-2011; Intern Landscape Architect, VOGT Landscape, London, 2012-2013; Assistant Landscape Architect, Bradley-Hole Schoenaich, London, 2013-2014; Assistant Landscape Architect, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, London, 2014-2015
  • Awards

  • Queensland Overseas Foundation Scholarship, 2011; QUT Student Exchange Bursary, 2011; RCA School of Architecture Bursary Award, 2017
Royal College of Art