The ‘Taxon|Archive|Lab - Library’ or, TAL-L, is a database and teaching tool for landscape materials. The project reflects on the environmental challenges of material use today and aims to restore our knowledge about landscape materials through strategic indexing and experimentation. TAL-L provides a tool to sample the varied materials that make up Hong Kong’s terrain and its built landscapes; to record the layered alterations in this physical composition over time; and to track the material flows, extractions and accumulations that accompany its development.

’T’, ‘A’, and ‘L’ represent the three distinct facets of the library: Taxon, Archive, and Lab. ‘Taxon’ provides a conceptual and organizational scaffold for students to understand materials in a systematic way. ‘Archive’ describes the collection of physical and digitized material samples. The ‘Lab’ is the experimental arm of the database and links to a body of material-oriented design experimentation.

ARCHIVE: How do we index materials?

TAXON: What are landscape materials?


​​The digital and physical library aims to help renew material literacy and design practices within the landscape architecture discipline. The library outlines a methodological framework to consider landscape materials as a complex resource and is unique in providing a multimedia material database for students, practitioners, and researchers focused on sites and resources in Hong Kong.

This pilot phase of our project is funded by the University of Hong Kong’s Teaching Development Grant and is already being integrated as a tool and resource within the landscape curriculum. The ongoing project seeks collaboration with engineering and environmental research labs to develop solutions for the city’s landscape material practice. Please get in touch with us!


TAL-L Materials Library
Room 607 Knowles Building
Division of Landscape Architecture
The University of Hong Kong
Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong

Susanne Trumpf: strumpf@hku.hk

Ivan Valin: ivalin@hku.hk


Susanne Trumpf

Susanne is curating the library’s classification taxonomy. She leads investigations on fabrication techniques for sustainable materials and the use of urban soils as landscape material. She is co-directing TAL-L.

Susanne is a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Landscape Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. She has over ten years of practice experience in Berlin and Hong Kong and is founder of indialogue. She graduated from TU Berlin, Germany (BArch) and TU Delft, Netherlands (MArch) in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences.

Ivan Valin

Ivan is an expert in landscape materials and construction. He leads on-site investigations and focuses on synthesizing material knowledge into technical and design innovation. He is co-directing TAL-L.

Ivan is an Associate Professor of Practice in Landscape Architecture in the Division of Landscape Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. Ivan runs Valeche Studio, a small research and design consultancy devoted to exploring new material and ecological configurations in the public realm of urbanizing Asia.

Ceci Sze Lee Wong

Ceci catalogues our materials hands-on – taking soil samples, setting up material tests, and maintaining our physical collection. She is a Research Assistant at TAL-L. She graduated from City University of Hong Kong (BA Creative Media) and received her PDLA and MLA from the University of Hong Kong.

Byron Pai Lun Chiang

Byron is our data cruncher, responsible for setting up the digital archive. He is a Research Assistant at TAL-L. Before his career switch, Byron worked for AFJD (Amber Frid-Jimenez and Joe Dahmen), Matthew Soules Architecture, and RK|Studio in Vancouver, Canada.

Madison Appleby

Madison is interested in illuminating material stories local to Hong Kong. She is a Research Assistant at TAL-L. Before this she received her Bachelors of Science (Hons.) from the University of Victoria and her Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Toronto. Previously her research focused on an end-of-life study of a 10+ year old green roof at the University of Toronto's GRIT Lab.