September 26, 2018

Meet the OJB Team

Colby Alston is a Designer in OJB's San Diego Office.

What inspired you to become a landscape architect? A stranger inspired me to become a landscape architect. I explored the College of Art and Design at LSU after stumbling upon the landscape architecture program in the catalog while searching for a new major. A graduate student approached me and introduced himself while I was staring curiously at the student projects displayed on the walls. He described his experience in the program and I knew I was in the right place.

Who as an artist or landscape architect influenced your design and plant materials? Cooking is like landscape architecture in that you take ingredients that have been used for many years by humans and arrange them or process them in a unique way to achieve a unique experience. Gordon Ramsey’s culinary expertise and leadership are world renowned. He creates sundry dishes for the contemporary palette by amalgamating history and culture with modern culinary techniques into an incredible edible presentation. Most people can only identify a few plants; they usually know the plants they can eat. There are teachable moments between generations in regards to edible plants. Edible plant materials can spark conversations creating memorable moments in the landscape.  

What is your focus when designing? What makes your work rewarding? There is often no right answer to many design challenges, however it is satisfying to solve complex problems with children’s art supplies. I use markers and colored pencils to make lines and shapes which represent design solutions. What is rewarding about landscape architecture is seeing projects start from a scribble and end up constructed.

Where do you go to feel inspired? I get a revitalized sense of inspiration every time I travel somewhere new. I enjoy visiting natural areas as well as new cities and experiencing the local culture. I don’t necessarily have a favorite place I have traveled to. The people I am with make the experience in the place special. I also find myself surfing the World Wide Web when I can’t travel to get inspired and drawing upon my experiences from things I’ve seen online.     

What has been your favorite OJB project to work on and why? My favorite project has been UC San Diego North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Center. I started my internship at OJB just as the project started the Schematic Design phase. I was able to help take the project through design development before returning to LSU to finish my undergraduate degree. The project is now being constructed. It will be exciting and rewarding to see my first project come to life over the next two years.