Ariel Utz Wirnsberger


Meet Ariel Utz Wirnsberger





Meet Ariel Utz Wirnsberger

Senior Urban Designer Ariel Utz Wirnsberger has worked at Ratio for more than five years. Formerly an architect, he brings a people-centric lens and technical skillset to Ratio’s Urban Design team and global perspective on good urban design outcomes.

Meet Ariel Utz Wirnsberger

How did you become an urban designer?

When I graduated as an architect, my professional interest was more related to building design but, because of unexpected events, I ended up working in the urban planning field. Sometimes life sends you down a path that you have not planned at all ‒ now urban design is one of my passions.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Working on various projects, sometimes on entirely different scales, keeps me enthusiastic and inspires me at work.

Can you give us an overview of your specific skillsets?

My architectural background provided me with the tools to shape spaces from the ‘inside’ ‒ from a pedestrian point of view that prioritises people’s spatial perceptions and balances the scales of built forms and open spaces. These skills have been important when designing ‘places for people’.

How does your area of expertise assist the wider Ratio team?

At Ratio, we often work on complex projects that need a holistic approach. Our multidisciplinary processes, including planning, urban design and transport in one cohesive team, lead to a better understanding of the challenges and the best outcomes for a project.

Urban planning processes can be very time-consuming, with various stakeholders involved and many technical issues to solve. However, when working collaboratively with my colleagues, we increase the efficiency and efficacy of a project’s entire process.

Additionally, the diagrams and plans that I prepare clearly explain those complexities and are fundamental for bringing about positive project outcomes. I am happy that my technical skills have been helpful in the different planning and transport/traffic projects Ratio has undertaken in the last five years.

Can you illustrate via a case study how your work has been of particular benefit?

The Wyndham Stadium Precinct Masterplan is a good example of a planning strategic project with a focus on placemaking where our urban design, planning and transport services worked together.

The teams worked on a vision for the area, which included main open spaces, transport connections, bike paths, and a mix of land uses to provide an overall framework for the site.

In a different scale, I have enjoyed working in the ‘Streets for people’ project we developed in Spotswood for the Hobsons Bay City Council, which was a collaborative effort between our urban design and transport departments. At present, we are continuing to design the Hudsons Road concept streetscape masterplan. Now we are in the process of collating all the valuable information we gathered during the community consultation phase of the project.

What is the biggest challenge or change you’ve made in the course of your career?

The biggest challenge of my career has been to move between different countries. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked as urban designer in three different continents. Of course, each place has it’s own way of dealing with planning regulations, planning schemes, standards etc but, fortunately, good urban design principles are universal and translatable to different contexts. More than being just a big challenge, these experiences have been a fundamental part of my growth as a person and as an urban designer.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

When finishing my first project as an architect, I ran a bit late and didn’t sleep for three days to meet the deadline (disclaimer: no stimulants of any kind were involved!). As a result, I suffered jetlag for months afterwards. Not recommended!