Studio

Founded in 2009 in Austin Texas, Studio Balcones designs landscapes that inspire and create connections between people, nature and urban life. We create outdoor environments that are context-sensitive and beautiful, with moments of the unexpected. We design for the 21st century, creating spaces that are flexible, adaptable and enduring.

We champion resilient plants and sustainable materials crafted with a modern, site-specific aesthetic. We work closely with our clients, listening and responding to their needs. To realize the highest quality product, we collaborate with expert team members including architects, artists, and engineers. With twenty years of combined experience working in the residential, commercial, and public sector, we provide landscape architectural services for a wide range of projects, working solo or as part of a team. We are a certified Woman Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) with the City of Austin and a certified Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) with the State of Texas.

The Studio Balcones Team

Ilse Frank PLA, ASLA, Associate AIA

Principal

Ilse is a co-founder and principal of Studio Balcones. As a firm leader, Ilse focuses on creative solutions for civic and institutional projects that will have significant impact on the future growth and function of cities.

Her work at the University of Texas at Austin was recently awarded 2020 Texas ASLA Merit Award and a 2021 AIA Austin Design Award of Merit. Prior to founding Studio Balcones, Ilse worked on many award-winning design competition projects at a firm in New York City. She has a Master of Landscape Architecture and a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. Ilse is a licensed landscape architect in Texas and Oklahoma. Ilse volunteers her time as a member of The Trail Foundation’s Project Committee and Arts & Culture committee and previously served on the Art In Public Place’s Advisory Panel. A native Austinite/unicorn, she loves enjoying tacos on a good patio, hikes with her dog, Brisket, and exploring the art scene with her husband, Tim.

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Jennifer Orr PLA, ASLA

Principal

Jennifer is a co-founder & principal of Studio Balcones. Her commitment to protecting and supporting healthy ecological systems sits at the center of her work.

As a self-proclaimed “plant nerd,” Jennifer oversees all office planting design, and loves to insert whimsy and play into her projects. Her Belmont Parkway Residence won a 2021 Texas ASLA Merit Award and Home Slice North Loop won “Best Use of Hill Country” by the Austin Chronicle. Prior to founding Studio Balcones, Jennifer worked in Philadelphia designing award winning parks and civic spaces. She has a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in International Affairs from Georgia Institute of Technology. Jennifer is a licensed landscape architect in Texas. Jennifer is a 4th generation Texan with deep affection for her hometown Austin and Texas landscapes. She is a mother of two and enjoys exploring the natural world with her children and husband. Jennifer gives back as a current board member and past president of the Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy.

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Michael Meihaus PLA

Senior Associate

Michael Meihaus is a Senior Associate that brings over 10 years of wildland restoration experience to the team. He offers clients technical expertise in reforestation, wetlands, trails, and river systems as well as unique perspectives on building an ecologically sound future for their projects.

Michael’s work on the Yuma West Wetlands received the 2019 Ponderosa Pine Partnership Award for innovation in urban forest restoration, collaboration, and leadership on the banks of the lower Colorado River in Yuma, AZ. Michael has a Master of Landscape Architecture from Kansas State University, and is licensed to practice in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. He has worked extensively with the National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, BIA Navajo Nation, Arizona Game & Fish, City of Yuma, City of Austin, and many foundations and non-profit entities. Michael volunteers his time as a member of The Trail Foundation Eco Committee in Austin Texas. If you can’t get ahold of Michael, it’s likely because no one can – somewhere out on a river or lost on a trail with his family, far from the reaches of civilization.

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Kat Mays

Associate

Kat is an Associate who brings a strong background in commercial, multifamily residential, and master-planned communities in Central Texas to the Studio Balcones team.

Kat has a strong passion for how people interact with their outdoor environment. This passion, mixed with her 10 years of creative design and construction experience, allows her to bring thoughtful, sustainable, and cohesive designs to life. She is a lifelong Texan and proponent of using native plants to restore and enhance the vast landscapes Texas has to offer. Kat holds a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Texas A&M. Outside of work you can find her disc golfing around town, discovering new patios to enjoy some great food with her wife and two little boys, and woodworking in her garage.

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Lindsay Burnette

Associate

Lindsay is an Associate Landscape Designer who is passionate about large-scale design thinking, community engagement, and 3D visualization. Lindsay’s skills in computational design and parametric modeling, coupled with her strong sense of graphic representation help to bring Studio Balcones’ ideas to fruition.

Prior to joining Studio Balcones, Lindsay served as an Americorps member in Oregon and a Fulbright Research Fellow in Seoul, South Korea. She received a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies and Art History from Lewis & Clark College. Lindsay serves on the board of Austin’s Multicultural Refugee Coalition and is a cofounder of the Rural Futures Collaborative. She enjoys taking advantage of Austin’s natural springs, exploring new neighborhoods by bike, and sipping delicious beer made by her husband.

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Dan Zedick

Associate

Dan is an Associate Landscape Designer who brings an eye for detail, strong organizational skills, & a passion for human scale site specific design.

Dan has extensive experience working within the public design process & has helped manage our five new City of Austin Fire EMS Station projects. He is interested in how public spaces can positively impact people's lives & help in the formation of community. Prior to working at Studio Balcones Dan worked in design build. He got his B.S. in Environmental Sustainability & his Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona. Outside of work Dan enjoys taking advantage of Austin’s many bike paths & trails, listening to live music, taking long walks on the beach, & finding public places in the rain.

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Canyon Gutierrez

Landscape Designer

Canyon began his career in California, gaining experience in Landscape Construction, City Planning, and Landscape Architecture all before finishing his degree.

He brings a new perspective to the design process with his diverse project experience in both residential and commercial design-build projects. He has a particular interest for residential design, environmental restoration, and enjoys all the challenges that new design projects present. Canyon recently graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture. His interests outside of work include watching sports, doing yoga, watching live music and eating great food with even greater people.

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Michael Shuey

Landscape Designer

Michael was drawn to the profession of landscape design starting with a passion for native plants and riparian restoration.

His strength as a designer lies in his deep interest in understanding human behavior in the landscape to help improve the design of outdoor spaces. Michael was part of a team that was awarded 1st in the Master Plan category of the 2020 EPA Campus Rainworks Challenge for his sustainable design of the University of Texas at Arlington campus. Prior to Joining Studio Balcones, Michael received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geography from the University of North Texas and now holds his Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington. On the weekends you can find Michael tinkering with his smoked brisket recipe, or searching for the next adventure with his group of hometown friends.

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Tiffany Rasco

Office Manager

Art, nature and Austin all come together at Studio Balcones and Tiffany could not be more excited to be a part of the team.

Making the most of her varied work experience: waiting tables, museum education and salon ownership, she assists wherever needed. Growing up in Austin and watching it evolve into a “grown-up” city, she finds it rewarding to work where nature, beauty and sustainability are still cultivated and created for everyone to enjoy.

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