Brian Boyd is a Senior Associate in OJB’s San Diego office.
What inspired you to become a landscape architect? I was actually pursuing a degree in Accounting when a friend in the Landscape Architecture program introduced me to a project he was working on for a class. I was spending a lot of time out in nature those days; camping, hiking and biking. I loved the idea of working with natural elements and systems in a creative and artistic fashion that no other profession could offer. The next week I sat down with the Director of the Landscape Architecture Department and changed my major.
Who as an artist or landscape architect influenced your design and plant materials? It’s challenging to pick just one person that has influenced my work over the years. I find it fascinating the way Andrew Goldsworthy can take a single natural element and evoke such emotion. The viewer can’t help but ponder their broader environment in a deeper, more meaningful way. His intention is not to make his mark on the landscape, but to sit delicately within it.
I have always been inspired by all the great European plantsmen, such as Dan Pearson, Sarah Price, Tom Stuart-Smtih, James Hitchmough, Gilles Clement and Piet Oudolf. They always manage to take a diverse plant palette and weave it together in a way that feels very singular and whole. Their projects are rooted in tradition, while managing to still feel modern and fresh.
What is your focus when designing? What makes your work rewarding? When designing any space you have to consider the user experience and human psychology. How are people going to use the space or move through it and what draws a person to a space and inspires them to pause or linger for extended periods of time? After spending a great deal of time and effort designing and constructing a place, nothing is more rewarding than seeing people enjoying and experiencing the space. Sometimes, our projects get used in ways that we never intended or even thought of during design. It’s always a nice surprise when this happens.
Where do you go to feel inspired? I tend to be inspired by art, architecture and travel, but spending time in nature has always been my greatest source of inspiration. I spent most of my life on the East Coast. Moving to Southern California opened a whole new world of inspiration for me. The Southwest is full of unique and diverse ecosystems, from the coast line to the desert and canyons to mountain peaks.
What has been your favorite OJB project to work on and why? I’ve spent most of my time at OJB working on East Village Green, a 4-acre urban park in San Diego, CA. I’m thrilled to have a hand in creating this great public space for the community I live in. As project manager, I have contributed to all aspects of the project from deep dives into hardscape details to carefully selecting the plant material, Schematic Design through Construction Documents. My favorite moment in the design is the amphitheater seating that overlooks the 14th Street Plaza. It will be a great pedestrian space for the community to gather for events that the neighborhood is currently lacking. A big focus has been the tree planting details for the street trees and large canopy trees. We’ve gone to great lengths to ensure we provide optimal growing conditions for the trees to thrive in a harsh urban environment. We worked closely with a soil expert to develop details rooted in science and forward-thinking construction practices.