Brice Tegeler is a Designer in OJB’s Houston office.
What inspired you to become a landscape architect? Growing up I always loved being outside learning about the environment and ecological systems and how it all worked together. As I got older, I became interested in city buildings and architecture thanks to games like Sim City. I went to college for Architecture but was introduced to the Landscape Architecture program freshman year and I decided it was a better fit for me since it combined more of my interests.
Who as an artist or landscape architect influenced your design and plant materials? Piet Oudolf is a garden designer who uses groupings of plants in his designs that he chooses for their texture and color, creating a dramatic effect throughout the year. GGN is a firm that comes up with very creative and unique architectural details to address the complex urban designs that they do. Oudolf and GGN combined forces to create Lurie Garden in Chicago, which is my favorite contemporary urban landscape design and one I find to be influential in my designs.
What is your focus when designing? What makes your work rewarding? I enjoy designing urban spaces. The challenge of creating a beautiful place that successfully attracts people in a dense urban area is a problem that I like trying to figure out how to solve. It is very rewarding to see a completed design become successful, loved, and used by the people it was designed for.
Where do you go to feel inspired? I love traveling to unique landscapes and seeing how plants and landscape features come together in such beautiful ways. I also love visiting landscape designs that have become successful and seeing how people use and interact with the space.
For natural landscapes, the Black Hills in South Dakota are amazing because they are full of huge granite rock formations which are surrounded by large pine and aspen trees. Combined it creates some really beautiful landscapes especially in the fall when all the leaves on the aspen trees have turned bright yellow. For a built landscape, the Plaza outside the Pompidou Center in Paris comes to mind. It is a really popular public space even though the design is very simple. It features a large plaza that slopes from street level down to the first level of the Center. The space creates a sort of amphitheater with street performers using the backdrop of the center and everyone watching and listening from the slope. The design is really clever because it is so simple but really effective.
What has been your favorite OJB project to work on and why? My favorite project to work on so far is Midway’s proposed East River mixed-use development here in Houston. It’s very cool to be working on designs for an entirely new urban neighborhood and it has the unique feature of the Bayou. Figuring out how the development could interact with the Bayou has been one of my favorite challenges in the project. I also like that we get to work at all levels of the design from the masterplan and streetscape guidelines to the smaller public green spaces and plazas in each phase. Being a recent graduate from school it has been a great learning experience working on a project of this size.