Shi Park is a Senior Associate in OJB’s Houston office.
What inspired you to become a Landscape Architect?
I have been interested in the beauty of objects and design for as long as I can remember. I was very interested in fashion during high school which opened my eyes to the world of design. Fashion and Landscape Architecture have a lot in common, both designers use geometry to generate forms, create structure, design lines and shapes. I took a Landscape Architecture course in college as an elective and the first assignment was to design an alley. Designing spaces with planes, shapes and colors proved to me that both disciplines may not be as unrelated as they appear. Taking this course taught me that design is about innovation and invention through cross-disciplinary investigation. After finishing the course, I knew that I wanted to be in this profession. My progression into a career in Landscape Architecture seemed natural, fulfilling my desire to combine creativity with practicality.
How has an artist or landscape architect influenced your design and plant materials?
Piet Oudolf, the Dutch landscape designer takes design inspiration from natural landscape. I always look as his projects and his unique understanding of plants for inspiration. It is on my bucket list to go see his private garden in Europe.
What is your focus when designing? What makes your work rewarding?
My focus when designing is to always challenge myself to do something different, pushing myself to explore an idea that I have not or wouldn’t normally consider. It is most rewarding when something that I created and designed becomes an inspiration to others because as designers, we naturally want to be inspired and to inspire others. Making something beautiful is the essence of what most designers want to do. The challenge is to balance the needs of the client or project while pursuing a goal of creating something meaningful.
Where do you go to feel inspired?
I derive inspiration from the creative pursuits of others. Going to exhibitions, watching a play/show, or watching a great movie/ documentary exposes me to other people’s creative energy which influences my creative spirit and re-inspires me in what I am doing.
What has been your favorite OJB project to work on and why?
Currently, my favorite project is Dominion Headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. There is a one-acre roof garden terrace that includes a deck and dining court overlooking a large garden space. We really explored a different concept on the planting design and the palette. We used perennials to achieve a romantic and nostalgic landscape. The large drifts of tall perennial varieties and native plants create blocks of color and texture that weave the eye through the garden. I can not wait to see how our ideas develop into reality!