Judy Lee Shern, ASLA is a Senior Associate in OJB’s Solana Beach office.
What inspired you to become a landscape architect?
Like many in the profession, I started my studies in Architecture and was introduced to Landscape Architecture though an Intro to Architecture class. After attending Pasadena Art Center High School, I changed my career path to Landscape Architecture.
How has an artist or landscape architect influenced your design and plant materials?
Peter Zumthor is one of my greatest influences when it comes to design. After visiting Vals Thermal, design was not simply about aesthetic and use-it was about sensory experiences. By using raw materials, water, and light Vals Thermal triggered many senses and emotions I didn’t realize was possible. In my designs, I do work to implement moments that can trigger sensory interaction outside of the obvious.
What is your focus when designing? What makes your work rewarding?
My focus is to create a space that will be utilized. A space feels incomplete without human interaction. Seeing people use the space is the most rewarding part of being a landscape designer.
Where do you go to feel inspired?
Cliché as it sounds, living in Southern California it’s hard not to be inspired by the diverse culture and landscape. This is especially true in Los Angeles where there seems to be something new and evolving daily. The Bradbury Building in Downtown LA is my favorite place in LA. It’s one of the few historic buildings preserved and it’s always refreshing to see history preserved in the city. The exterior of the building does not reflect the beautiful iron work and tall glass ceiling in the interior. Studying the Southern California environment and the people is my inspiration.
What has been your favorite OJB project to work on and why?
Westfield Century City. The team and client all worked very hard for the last few years to re-think what an outdoor mall can be. With e-commerce on the rise there was a focus to provide a place where people want to ‘hang out’ rather than just go shopping and then leaving. There were lots of challenges working with the multiple retail tenants and working on an existing structure, but the design and construction team collaborated to create solutions while keeping the integrity of the design. Also, I finally have a project that my friends and family will also be utilizing!