March for Women Part 2
Landscape architecture, like many modern design professions, is experiencing a constant, gradual expansion of the scope of work and expertise required to navigate the projects and challenges of today’s work environment. However, to quote the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s New Landscape Declaration: “Across borders and beyond walls, from city centers to the last wilderness, humanity’s common ground is the landscape itself. Food, water, oxygen – everything that sustains us comes from and returns to the landscape. What we do to our landscapes we ultimately do to ourselves.”
We at Studio Balcones aim to return always to this grounding of the landscape itself and its stewardship. It is with this in mind that we present our next set of designers who inspire us to be better stewards and designers of the landscapes around us, whether it is through robust ecological understanding of the systems which are integral to healthy landscapes, innovative designs leveraging the wellbeing of natural processes, or the sublime awe which brings back over and again to want to be better caretakers of the land.
Margie Ruddick’s championing of combining ecological function with design has been integral part of bringing the now common union of ideas into the mainstream culture of landscape architecture. It has also gotten her a national design award along the way. Margie is currently advocating for the advancement of wild landscapes within the profession – balancing ecological conservation and restoration with a strong sense of design.
Her work has taken her to highly visible locations such as Queens Plaza in New York City, bringing a wild landscape in to tame one of the most dangerous urban-scapes and create a memorable public space, to projects across the globe such as the Shillim Retreat, where landscape and healing come together to enhance one another.
Mia Lehrer’s seminal work on the Los Angeles River Revitalization may seem perfectly in line with the national conversation of water conservation, reclaiming riparian environments, and the multifaceted importance of our waterways so it is easy to forget that the work on this project has been going on for the better part of the last 15 years. Mia Lehrer has been able to introduce the concepts of adaptation and process back into the language of landscape architects and make them core principles which we know today are more important than ever when working with living systems. We are grateful for Mia’s work and presence in the field and continue to look to her prolific output for inspiration.
Kate Orff’s work has not only taken her across the country and to international projects, but has deservedly placed her within view of wider audiences as her work in design, landscape architecture, and ecology have been well recognized by sources ranging from Elle magazine to the MacArthur Foundation. She currently teaches at Columbia University where she founded the Urban Landscape Lab and endeavors to bring in the next generation of designers and place makers. Her unforgettable project Oyster-tecture is emblematic of her work combining ecological design, waterfront resiliency, and public engagement. Orff represents to us the importance of not only doing the work, but advocating for it and sharing it.
Tags: female designers, landscape architecture, women
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