Conscientious. Analytical. Risk-Taker.
As a young adult, torn equally between the arts and sciences, committing to a singular path for undergraduate studies was nearly impossible for me. I was drawn to the only field I could find that would allow me to integrate my interests, the mother of academics: philosophy. As engaging as I found philosophy to be, the path to professional life was unclear. I literally hired a coach to help inspire my next move. After dozens of career and personality tests, one profession appeared time after time. A combination of words I had never heard: “landscape” and “architect.”
As I began to read about Landscape Architecture, it seemed too good to be true. I could finally integrate my broad interests into a practical and, by all reports, rapidly growing profession. When I entered the grad program at the University of Toronto, I found that many other students had floundered before discovering landscape architecture. The question remained, why was landscape architecture such an unknown? The work of landscape architects improves the quality of life for so many. Many great places are themselves famous (think Central Park) but there is little awareness of the masters that realized them.
Understanding of the tremendous value of Landscape Architecture is slowly growing in an age where we face ever increasing pressure on the natural systems that sustain us. When a community invites the thinking of landscape architecture into its development decisions, it will rest lighter on the landscape, in a more sustainable way, which integrates and optimizes the complexity of human needs in balance with the natural environment.
University of Toronto
Master of Landscape Architecture
State University of New York
College at Buffalo, B.A. Philosophy, summa cum laude
My favorite project at JKLA has been Grace Plaza at the University of Buffalo’s North Campus. The campus was designed in an era when exterior commons were considered more of a liability than a priority. As design values have since changed, the tremendous success of this project is a testament to the need for quality exterior environments. By replacing the ill-considered soil mix and planting design with just the right soil composition and an exuberant palette of mostly native plants blooming constantly throughout the growing season, we have seen this space ignited with life and activity. People simply want to be in Grace Plaza. We have even heard reports that the maintenance staff (who initially opposed the extensive planting) “cannot be kept out of the space.” It has been a tremendous honor to set this process in motion, and have it people fall in love with it, take ownership of it, and carry it forward.