Stephanie Roa

  • What brought you to your profession of landscape architecture? Who encouraged you along your career path? Who has helped you succeed and attain your professional goals? These are among the questions landscape […]

    • A very interesting article! I had some very early influences in my life that led me to my career in Landscape Architecture. My Dad, was a very gifted professional Advertising Artist & Graphic Designer…..Dad was a big influence on my wanting to be a professional designer, when I grew up. I took my 1st Architectural Drafting Course in the 7th Grade (and made an “A”), I really enjoyed the course. Took Drafting again in the 9th, 10th and 12th grades…and took 3 Art courses in Jr. & Sr. High School. So, my teachers even as early as Jr. & Sr. High had a lot of influence on my future design career.

      After 3 semesters studying @ The University of North Texas in Denton, Texas (just North of Dallas)…most of the courses I took were Architectural Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design…along with some basic required courses. Didn’t feel like I was on the correct career path, so, I dropped out & enlisted in the U.S. Navy for 4 yrs…that was in March 1970. I was assigned to be a Yeoman YN2 (the Administrative Assistant to The Air Wing’s Commanding Officer)…working for mostly Naval Fighter Pilots. I was on an Aircraft Carrier….and went to the Mediterranean Sea for (3) 6 month cruises. I had the opportunity on all 3 cruises to have a lot of liberty in Southern European Countries…like Spain, France, Monaco, Italy & Greece. What I SAW and experienced while on liberty were major influences on my eventually deciding to study to be a Landscape Architect.

      Seeing Plazas, Water Features, a wide variety of Plant Materials, various paving materials, Monuments, Italian Villas, iconic structures like the Acropolis and visiting the Vatican, steps/drainage/retaining walls…..and just so many other “design elements” that I know I was exposed to just sort of soaked….without my fully realizing it. After being Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Navy in March 1974…..I think I came to realize that the very foundation of Landscape Architecture was, at least, in part in Europe.

      So, in the Summer of 1974 while looking thru the Texas A&M University Course Catalog…..I came across the “Landscape Architecture” Undergraduate Degree Program. After read the list of the various courses in the design curriculum….I realized, THAT was what I wanted to study….that I wanted to become a professional “Landscape Architect”. My LA Professors @ Texas A&M were definitely a huge influence…..supportive and encouraging me along the way & I have to give a lot credit as well to my ex-wife while @ A&M (she is a very talented Graphic Designer)

      I graduated with a B.S.L.A. degree in Landscape Architecture in May 1977, Worked for (1) year out of college @ Lane L. Marshall’s Office in Sarasota, Florida (Lane was the President of ASLA at that time). In the Fall of 1978, I returned to the Dallas area to design for “Enviro Design” in Dallas (1978 thru Feb. 1991). When I began designing with that firm, their were only (6) of us who were LAs….within the next 8 years, the firm grew to (40) LAs…I was sitting in the #3 spot below the (2) Partners of the firm. I learned so much from the Sr. LAs, the (2) Partners and even from many of the young LAs who joined our firm…..I just became a “sponge” up until early 1991 when I left to establish my own (1) person LA Firm…..which I’ve been doing every since working out of my Home Design Studio.

      I also learned so much working along side Architects, Civil Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Landscape & Irrigation Contractors…..as well as Pool Contractors. Approx. 600 projects designed later…..I just know I learned much from every project & from all of the various designers also involved with those projects. Somehow, I also managed to squeeze in (4) years worth of “over-time”…so, sometimes it does take “burning the candle on both ends” to meet those deadlines.

      I’m STILL designing, even @ my age, nearly 70 yrs. old…..actually, really never thought I’d be designing anything at this age, but, I just feel I have a continuing creative urge that I need to fulfill. Still having fun! *smile* It’s been a long and amazing journey with no regrets in choosing “Landscape Architecture”.

      J. Robert (Bob) Wainner

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  • At the annual LAF Innovation + Leadership Symposium in Washington, DC, seven emergent voices in landscape architecture shared their ideas that will drive the future of the profession. These seven voices were the […]

    • What a great article, Stephanie! Thanks for bringing attention to these awesome designers and their work. It looks like the presentations are available online at Vimeo and on LAF’s website: https://www.lafoundation.org/news/2019/07/fellowship-videos

    • I’m on the verge of retiring from the Landscape Architecture profession…..after almost 42 yrs. of practicing. Although, I totally enjoyed my design career, IMO, our profession’s future doesn’t look very bright.

      The U.S. Bureau of Statistics shows that over the next 10 years, there will be ONLY a 6% job increase OR approximately 16,000 jobs. Which amounts to about 1,600 new LA jobs per year over the next 10 years. There are approx. 75 U.S. Universities with LA graduating classes of 40 to 60 graduates every year. Even with LAs retiring or leaving and pursuing another career path, WHERE are all of the LA graduates going to work? Doesn’t sound like a very promising future for Landscape Architecture to me.

      Also, I’m really tired of seeing the Landscape Architecture Profession being so LEFT (Liberal). So many “pie in the sky” ideals that make little sense. If the leaders of the LA profession wish to help the profession, they need to work with ASLA and be much more proactive in “marketing” the profession to the public. I believe it’s a “fact” that a vast majority of Americans do not know what we do….”what is a Landscape Architect?”. How can ANY profession be effective in our society when so few people even understand what it is?

      I was very obvious to me, that ASLA.org and the LA profession in general fully supported President Obama’s liberal agenda, but, this same group seems to have a problem with President Trump’s policies and agenda. I personally believe Trump is taking a “measured approach” to improving America’s air and water pollution…environmental problems. It can’t sensibly resolved over night. And, the fact is, that the U.S. is only responsible for approx. 13% of the Planet’s pollution problems. Who is going to “force” other Nations (like China, India, South Korea, Iran, Russia, etc.) to clean up their air and water pollution…..answer: nobody. The Paris Agreement is not reasonable or sustainable…and had the U.S. joined it, the U.S. would have been paying Trillions of dollars to clean up the air and water in many of those other Countries. Trump did the right thing, pulling the U.S. out of the Paris agreement. I’ve been waiting to see if ASLA.org will join in supporting the Liberal’s “New Green Deal” concept.

      I have no regrets about choosing LA as a career, but, I am disappointed in its’ direction & leadership and feel for all those thousands of LA graduates in the coming years.

      J. Robert (Bob) Wainner

  • Landscape architects and urban planners are frequently tasked with translating the unique desires of a community into a meaningful public space that seamlessly integrates into the existing community fabric. In […]

    • Speaking of Seattle. Most of what we are seeing and hearing in the news about Seattle is how BAD the homelessness is getting & how Conservatives are being attacked on the streets by Liberals. Why not get citizens “engaged” in resolving those problems???

  • During the Land8x8 Lightning Talks in Seattle, Laura Rose, Principal at the landscape architecture and planning firm Walker Macy, contemplated the role of beauty in design.

    At a time when landscape ar […]

    • When I saw ‘Beauty’ in this post’s title, I immediately wondered if David Brooks would be referenced and sure enough, there he is! Mr. Brooks is, of course, the compassionate conservative commentator on the PBS NewsHour and other media outlets as well as an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times. He occasionally writes about culture. Several years ago, he wrote a column entitled, “When Beauty Strikes”, for the Times. In this column, he quotes Leon Wieseltier, who in a Times Book Review stated, “We live in a post-humanist moment”. Brooks argues that in this ‘moment’ we are “beauty poor and meaning-deprived”. The post-humanist moment is perhaps better understood as the worldview we currently hold which Brooks considers to be the opposite of one based on beauty. Beauty, according to Brooks is, “… a big transformational thing, the proper goal of art and maybe civilization itself”. To say this another way, our current worldview is to make money, buy lots of stuff, live unsustainably, rely on technology for happiness, and occasionally include beauty in our lives as an afterthought.

      Maybe if we embraced humanism a little more, we wouldn’t have to, “lead the discourse on mitigating climate change, fostering community, and enacting social change”.

  • Anova Furnishings’ Grant Competition is back again this year, offering emerging professionals the opportunity to attend the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture (formerly known as the ASLA Annual M […]

    • I just read this article….and the “rules” for the contest. I’m a huge advocate for “hand sketching” for Landscape Architects….have been for my entire 40 yr. career. I would like to suggest to those ASLA members (who are eligible to enter) that they consider doing their “napkin sketch” using a “shade and shadow” technique. Various line weights and shading…really gives even a simple sketch LIFE. If you need some sketching technique ideas that fit within the rules for this contest…..you can easily find them on-line. GOOD LUCK to everyone!

      J. Robert (Bob) Wainner

  • During the Land8x8 Lightning Talks in Seattle, Julie Parrett began her presentation by asking the audience to consider our city’s public urban space – who owns it, how is it used, and is it accessible or clos […]

    • Question…….Is there REALLY enough days of “sunshine” in Washington State to consider “Solar Energy” as a realistic source of energy??? Also, wondering about this article…..speaking to complex and sophisticated Urban Planning…..think maybe you might get the “homeless” issue under control first? Liberalism has taken over entire WEST COAST of the U.S….and IMO, not in a positive way. People need to get “realistic” in solving the problems addressed in this article.

      J. Robert (Bob) Wainner

  • There are too few opportunities to share knowledge within the design profession. Formalized research is only starting to gain prevalence, while most rely on personal experience as a basis of their knowledge. […]

  • Most people reading this article are likely familiar with the ASLA Annual Meeting – after all, it is the world’s largest gathering of landscape architecture professionals and students. And, with over 6,000 att […]

  • As landscape architects, we often find ourselves trying to tame nature into a designed form. What if, instead of working against natural systems, we invited them into our work, allowing our built work to be […]

  • The ways in which citizens engage the landscape reveal a community’s values and priorities. During the Land8x8 Lightning Talks in Seattle, Nate Cormier, Principal at Rios Clementi Hale Stud […]

  • Imagine the world is at the edge of an apocalypse – that Earth’s life has been greatly damaged and resembles a disastrous wasteland. The grim images painted in science fiction films are generally understood to […]

  • The United Nations projects that the world’s population will be 9.8 billion by 2050, with roughly two-thirds of those people living in urban areas. To feed these nearly 10 billion mouths, it is estimated t […]

  • In the face of climate change, urbanization, and social unrest, landscape architects are being asked to do more. No longer can a landscape architecture project simply be beautiful; it must also remedy […]

    • Stephanie…..very nice work. Interesting article. I think “in theory”…..what you’re saying could be possible. But, over the past 41 years of my LA profession, I have learned how “developers think & how they spend”. I realize that our profession “should” do all we can to improve the environment through out design skills, knowledge and experience….but, getting Developers & Clients to buy into this “theory” is not an easy sell. Most commercial developers these days, it seems, just wish to do the “minimum”…get in and get out with their profits. But, I think when you compare the U.S. vs. nations like China, Russia, India, South Korea, Pakistan, Iran….many others, we’re doing a much better job of, at least, trying to address our environmental ecological problems.

      Very Respectfully,

      J. Robert (Bob) Wainner

  • Anova Furnishings’ Grant Competition is back again this year, offering emerging professionals the opportunity to attend the 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philadelphia. Centered around a different topic each […]

  • In the spring of 2015, tension and unrest erupted in Baltimore, bringing the issues of racism and inequality to the center of national media attention. Since then, these disparities have only become more […]

  • At a time when environmental crises are becoming more prevalent and the health industries are acknowledging the critical role the environment plays on human health, designers are stepping up to explore how […]

  • There is something so serene about being in a forest. Whether it’s the peaceful silence or beautiful surroundings, being immersed in nature has actually been proven to affect you both physically and e […]

  • Despite their ability to treat stormwater, cleanse air, and improve mental health, plants are too often an afterthought in urban design projects. What is often considered decoration or “parsley around the r […]

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