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

As a founding principal of Studio Balcones, Ilse Frank views projects through the lens of an architect and a landscape architect, and pays particular attention to city and regional planning.

Ilse designs with a consideration for the long term and far reaching impacts beyond a site’s boundary. At a finer scale, she approaches public space and parks in tandem with buildings— addressing relationships of scale, materials, and inside/outside connections. As a born and raised Austinite, Ilse knows the lay of the land and culture of Texas and looks forward to shaping its future.

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Jennifer Orr PLA, ASLA

Principal

A founding principal of Studio Balcones, Jennifer brings her strong design background, extensive plant knowledge and deep understanding of ecological systems to each project.

Jennifer’s experience ranges from large scale green infrastructure projects to small scale residential gardens, both urban and rural, public and private. Throughout her work, she strives to connect humans to nature, creating landscapes that are integrated, functional, sustainable and beautiful. Jennifer has a great love of the Texas landscape with its unique and often challenging characteristics, and she enjoys participating in the growth of her hometown.

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Michael Meihaus PLA

Senior Associate

Michael is a registered professional landscape architect in the states of Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico specializing in environmental restoration and recreation with past project experience ranging from parks and recreation planning to river and wildland restoration design.

Michael received his Master of Landscape Architecture from Kansas State University in 2009. Michael managed over 50 restoration and environmental design projects. He has also designed stream-bank bioengineering, riparian restoration BMP’s, and backwater wetland restoration in Mexico, Indonesia, and the US. Outside the office Michael can be found (or not found) paddling down a hill country river, or off to the Big Bend to savor the unique beauty of our public lands and national parks.

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Kat Mays

Associate

Kat is a proud Texan who grew up in different parts of this large and diverse state, she graduated from Texas A&M in College Station with a Bachelor’s in Landscape Architecture.

Kat has a strong background in commercial, multifamily residential, and master-planned communities in Central Texas. She has a passion for sustainable planting design, stormwater management, and innovative yet functional design challenges. Her interests outside of work are disc golfing around town, discovering new patios to enjoy some great food, and working on new wood working projects in her garage.

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Melina Farahi

Project Designer

Melina received a Masters in Environmental Design from the University of Tehran in 2008. When she relocated to the United States, she also earned her Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Colorado in Denver.

Since 2012, Melina has immersed herself in civic design projects in Colorado, California, and Texas. She is invested in healthy community development. Currently, Melina is settling into her new Texan landscape with projects that address public art, urban streetscapes, and ranches.

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Lindsay Burnette

Project Designer

Lindsay recently received her Masters in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated with an ASLA Honor award, the Narendra Juneja award, and the Van Alen Travel Fellowship.

Prior to joining Studio Balcones, she studied urban agriculture and informal settlements as a Fulbright Research Fellow in Seoul, South Korea, served on the board of Architects Without Borders – Oregon, and worked as an Americorps member for social and environmental justice organizations in Portland, Oregon. She is interested in the social agency of landscape architecture and seeks to work at the intersection of community development and design.

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Dan Zedick

Project Designer

Dan received his Master’s in Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona in 2018 and has a background in environmental science and sustainability.

Dan has experience working in residential and commercial design-build as well as in landscape installation and maintenance. He has a passion for plant materials and nature, and looks to natural elements for design inspiration. Dan is interested in how public spaces can positively impact people’s lives and help in the formation of community. He enjoys taking long walks on the beach and finding public places in the rain.

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Michael Shuey

Intern

Michael recently ventured outside the Texas hill country and graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with his Masters in Landscape Architecture.

Michael has experience in residential landscape design, but before beginning his career, he started with an interest in native plants. Michaels background in riparian restoration and environmental geography informs how he can design context-sensitive landscapes. Michael is interested in rain water mitigation, sustainable development and how people desire to use outdoor spaces. Outside of work, Michael is tinkering with his home brew recipe, or finding the next adventure with his 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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