Apr 18, 2024

Celebrating World Landscape Architecture Month

April showers bring May flowers and May flowers make Landscape Architects happy. Speaking of which, Osborn is celebrating World Landscape Architecture Month this year by getting to know two of our talented Landscape Designers, Matt Olszewski and Lauren Iversen, PLA. We sat down with Matt and Lauren to learn more about what draws them to the profession and what they are working on these days. 

What got you interested in Landscape Architecture?

Matt: I learned about landscape architecture through working with other firms in that field. It was so interesting to me to learn just how versatile and hands on landscape architecture is and how we get to make the best use of the space that we have. There is also a source of satisfaction in seeing a space that you designed get built and used by the community.  

Lauren: I found out about landscape architecture in college while I was working as a student outdoor recreation leader. It felt like the perfect fit to combine my interest in architecture/design and bringing people into nature, which was my role in outdoor rec. I love that landscape architects can help to close the access gap to nature and green spaces.   

What does a typical day look like for you? 

Matt: The beauty of landscape architecture is that every day is different. Our end user is the general public, so most of my work goes around that with schools, community centers, public spaces, and parks. With this job, we get to collaborate with civil engineers and architects to create the best outcome for the space given. 

Lauren: My day involves collaborative meetings with coworkers, architects, and engineers. I’m usually solving problems related to the development of our sites – it may be through coordinating with other consultants or exploring through sketching and design opportunities to improve the experience and program of the space. 

What is something about your job that people are usually surprised to learn?

Matt: Everything about my work is so exciting! It’s amazing to learn the history of all the areas that we are working on and incorporating that history into our projects. As landscape architects, we get to dabble in a ton of projects and so we become more generalized specialists. We are supporting our civil engineers and doing fish passage work, where I’m learning how to tackle more restoration style projects. 

Lauren: People don’t always have a clear idea of what the skills are of a landscape architect. I am not a landscaper, surveyor, architect, or engineer, but as a profession we can contribute ideas and understanding of the other professions’ needs and work alongside them. We are good at considering the whole picture of a site – from the ecological perspective to how to build community and climate resilience within a project. I think we are more of a ‘knitter’, someone who weaves all the parts of the project together to help it run smoothly.

What is something youve learned since being at Osborn?

Matt: I learned how to better manage my time with all the different projects that I’m working on, as well as how to increase my overall efficiency while also how to communicate more effectively with clients. 

Lauren: I learned how to collaborate more effectively with our other practices. For example, learning from transportation drainage engineers and what engineered elements go into designing a new stream culvert in order to design fish passage and habitat restoration improvements for our local waterways.

Is there anything else you would like to share? 

Matt: It’s okay to not know everything, and you must be ready to learn what you don’t know, learn how to adapt, and show up every day with the mindset that it’s okay to grow and that learning is a positive not a negative experience.  

Lauren: Trees are cool, we need more of them! 

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