Studio Balcones Welcomes Landscape Designer Nic Odekon!
Originally an English and French Major in college, what drew you to making the jump to pursuing the landscape architecture realm?
My language studies in school allowed for opportunities to travel abroad which led to an early goal to pursue a career in international development, which culminated with my service in the Peace Corps. While overseas I concluded that working with international NGOs and the State Department was a good start, but I wanted to contribute in a more tangible means to how communities operated and developed themselves. When I finished my service and returned to the States, I started searching for a way to combine my interests in community development, environmental focus, and design. Landscape architecture represented a great intersection of these types of work and I am excited to build back towards development through landscape architecture.
What do you hope to achieve working at Studio Balcones, what’s your favorite thing about working at Studio Balcones?
Studio Balcones’ focus on people has been one of the major factors of deciding to work here. From the office culture to the approach on projects, how people interact with and experience the places and designs is always the central focus. I am excited to learn about not only plants and materials and the process of construction but to also continue to learn how to assemble them in ways which make memorable and distinct environments.
What is your favorite thing about working in landscape architecture, where do you feel your most fulfilled in your role as Landscape Designer?
Landscape architecture’s place in development means that I can dabble in and learn about a wide range of topics – environmental conservation, wildlife management, gardening, playgrounds, earthworks, construction techniques, furniture design, pool design, public event spaces, technological integration, animation and 3d modeling, the list goes on and on and so does my curiosity. I feel most fulfilled in pulling in several different fields into a design and presenting a solution to make a vibrant place that could be central to a community from what might otherwise be an overlooked space.
If you could work on any type of landscape project, what would be your ultimate dream project?
My dream project at this point would be an institutional project like a library, which has the potential to really become an integral part of the community it is located in and help shape it for the future. A project which has a wide diversity of user types from old to young and rich to poor and figuring out how to craft spaces are used simultaneously across all groups.
Tell me a little bit about your time in Peace Corps, what if anything did you come away with from your experience?
I spent my time in the Peace Corps in farm fields with women’s groups and schoolyards making gardens, teaching and learning about how to take care of the resources we have available to us. My biggest takeaway from those experiences must be that no matter where you are, what culture you are from and what language you speak that people are people; some of them suck, but most of them are great and they might eat different things in different ways and wear strange things, and even interact with one another in ways which you wouldn’t, but at the end of the day we all have very similar needs and there are more commonalities than differences.
If you could tell the general public one thing to get them interested in landscape architecture, what would it be?
Think of where you have met and spent time with the important people in your life. How much of that time has been outdoors yet still in a built environment? I think the importance of landscape architecture is that we get to make the spaces where people encounter and build the friendships in their lives and where they choose to continue to return to with them.Tags: landscape designer, nic odekon, Studio Balcones, utsoa
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