Why Landscape Architecture? Why LandDesign?

By: Mack Drzayich, Landscape Design Intern

My first exposure to landscape design was in the private residential sector. It was great being able to work one-on-one with homeowners to beautify their surroundings. I loved it. But I still yearned to create spaces that were meaningful on a larger scale – places that reached beyond the backyard and benefited communities at large. A great deal of the individual experience is influenced by the bigger picture, and I wanted to help paint that picture. So naturally, my wife and I packed our bags and moved across the country for graduate school in landscape architecture at Penn State University. Two years and two kids later, I’ve found myself in Charlotte, NC, interning with LandDesign!

Wait, hold on. Let’s rewind. Why landscape architecture? And why LandDesign? (And while you’re probably wondering Why two kids in grad school?!? I’ll just stick to the first two).

Landscape architects bring a unique skillset to urban design, and as the world’s population continues to transition to urban living, I sense that we will play an increasingly essential role. There are a lot of players involved in shaping cities, including urban planners, architects, engineers, environmental scientists and developers, to name a few. Landscape architecture in many ways is a blend of all of these fields – art, ecology and sociology all in one. And I’ll never forget what world-renowned architect, James Wines, said in a lecture at Penn State, “Landscape architects are the true heroes in city sustainability.” Green matters, and we have the chance to be social and environmental advocates in urban developments – notoriously harsh environments. Landscape architects aren’t just minimizing damage, but reversing it, and yes, I wanted to be a part of it.

So why LandDesign? LandDesign’s ethos – creating places that matter – struck a chord with me. While simple, it embodied my earlier desires of doing something that actually had a positive impact on broader society and the environment beyond one person’s backyard. Thankfully, I’ve come to find out that this notion of creating places that matter isn’t just a slogan. I experience it at the drawing table, I hear it in the way my coworkers talk and I see it reflected in the work that goes out the door. In our Charlotte office, we are truly elevating Charlotte’s culture and quality of life through meaningful design, and I’m lucky to take part in it. I will also add that I am grateful for the culture at LandDesign. They value not only design and professional development, but community involvement and family, because well, you know…two kids.