McGregor Coxall have made a name for themselves in the landscape architecture and urban planning industries, having completed over 300 projects across Australia, Europe, and Asia. The firm’s work has earned more than 60 awards, including the prestigious Topos Journal International Landscape Architecture Practice of the Year Award, landscape’s highest international prize, which honoured McGregor Coxall as a proponent of a new wave of environmentally-focused landscape architecture, framed within a modernist design approach.

McGregor Coxall’s ability to create innovative and sustainable designs is no accident – it all comes down to their unique approach of working smarter, not harder. To achieve such international acclaim and local distinction, McGregor Coxall relies on the 3D modelling and site design tools within Vectorworks Landmarksoftware. 

Adrian McGregor, managing director, sees design software as more than a tool to create the built environment; it’s also a way to more efficiently and accurately protect the planet.  “The software we use has to be intelligent in terms of our carbon footprint modelling,” he said in an interview with Vectorworks. “With intelligent BIM, smart symbols, and coordinated worksheets, Landmark gives us the ability to make this happen.” 

Recently interviewed for the Women in BIM podcast ‘Working smarter, not harder’, Ann Deng, Senior Associate and Quality Assurance Lead at McGregor Coxall, learned that working smarter isn’t an approach you leave at the office – but one you need to adopt in all areas. “You don’t need to work hard to be a leader,” said Ann, “you need to work smart… be realistic and take care of yourself.”

Ann’s multifaceted role requires empathy, patience and a ‘can do’ attitude as she champions using the right workflow to work smarter, not harder with digital tools such as Vectorworks. Recognising the importance of efficiency in the design process and in prioritising her team’s success, Ann developed a decision-making tree to ensure the right software is utilised from the outset. “In the BIM world, you actually need to choose the right tool to give you the right outcome,” she stated, “and that’s basically the key to the success.”

“It’s not about the easy way,” Ann said of her approach, “it’s about the proper way… Instead of drawing a flat 2D plan in CAD and later putting it into Photoshop, you draw in Vectorworks — it’s a smart object, a shape. You can later plug in data and then the amount of time you invest at the beginning will be [rewarded] as your design evolves.”

It’s not only a unique approach to project and people management that Ann Deng brings to McGregor Coxall – it’s her passion. “You need to be really passionate about what you’re doing,” Ann said toward the end of the podcast, “because those passions will help you go through the hard times.” 

You can listen to the full Women in BIM podcast here

Learn more about Vectorworks – the Ultimate Software from Sketch to BIM