I met Ruth over 5 years ago when she interviewed me as part of her foray in establishing the Urban Design Centre of Western Australia. We struck an immediate rapport, and have remained in touch ever since, assisting her both in a professional capacity, that of teaching alongside and also for her in regards to Urban Design, and on a personal level assisting her and holding quite fun and cerebral discussions with her in her home in North Perth.
During this time I have been aquainted with her aversion to the words ‘outcomes’, ‘whilst’ and ‘built-form’ and also her warm touching and fun-loving personality, honed with lifelong experience and carried with a dignified air.
She has also somewhat also remained an enigma to me, in that I have not known anything of her past and personal life in our numerous discussions together. Somehow, however, I suspect that she had wanted it this way and rather enjoyed the mysterious quality this projects. I have never known if she enjoyed or was adept at playing the piano so prominently displayed in her living room, nor the origins of the large amounts of maps she retains or copious quantities of books residing on her many shelves.
Nor can I provide any explanation for her love of cooking, and the reasons for displaying an image of a building with large superimposed fingerprint in her UDC office. These things are a mystery to me and as such, now they will forever remain, for which I do not regret as in life there will always be aspects not fully able to be discovered of all whom we meet and in this I find comfort.
She will always remain in my mind as someone who has inspired me to make a difference in the largest way possible, but also impressed upon me as one who considers that not all parts of Urban Design need be serious and determined, but also enjoyable and human. We must relish the world around us and remark on the wonder and mystery that it is, remaining open-eyed as we gaze at it and at all times with laughter-lines.