Ryan Steib is an Associate in OJB’s Houston office.
What inspired you to become a Landscape Architect?
Growing up I spent a lot of time on golf courses. I was always intrigued by the individuality and character of each course. My time as an intern with Robert Trent Jones G.C. in Gainesville, VA is truly where the design intricacies of these spaces resonated with me. This led me to pursue golf course architecture as a career, and ultimately pursue a degree in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University. While studying at school, I realized the true spectrum of designing the built environment and the influential nature of landscape architecture, including the many opportunities to impact the spaces that people inhabit. Once you understand how a design can genuinely make an impact on the built environment and the way people see it, it’s hard to look back.
How has an artist or landscape architect influenced your design and plant materials?
As a designer, my work has been influenced by the professionals that I collaborated with early in my career. The projects were on a smaller scale so the emphasis was really on the detail. Color, texture and composition were put at the forefront of every decision made, which sticks with me today. When you can take a large- scale space, like the ones we tend to work on right now, and infuse it with the attention to detail I learned early on, I think you get something truly special.
What is your focus when designing? What makes your work rewarding?
Being a young designer, it’s easy to get lost in plans and focus on making attractive 2D shapes. When I am designing I try to picture what it would be like to visit the space myself. I’ve learned that some of the most successful public spaces are often the most simple and elegant. The aesthetic of a place draws people in, but it’s the usability and functionality that ultimately makes them want to come back..
Where do you go to feel inspired?
I think I get inspired when I’m relaxed. With that being said, I find that I gravitate towards being outdoors where I have the opportunity to take in fresh air and the scenery around me. I’ve had the opportunity to live in cities with rich culture and environmental character, including New Orleans, Boston and now Houston. Exploring these cities and all they have to offer has made an impact on me as a person and as a designer.
What has been your favorite OJB project to work on and why?
Without a doubt, my favorite project is Partners HealthCare Campus in Somerville, MA. It was actually the first project I was involved in when I began working in the Boston office, and it was rewarding to ultimately be able to experience the finished product. Taking the train out to the site for the first time was one of the more impactful moments for me, and it’s always special when I’m able to bring family and friends out to the campus to experience something I’ve had my hands on. Seeing the project come full circle certainly makes all of the hard work worth it, and it gets you excited for the next opportunity.