Design Practice in Flux: Building a Dynamic Practice with "Next Generation" Designers

4:30 - 5:30 pm
Location: Lynnwood Convention Center - Room 2A
Speakers: Christian Runge; Chuck McDowell; Caitlin Squier-Roper; Martha Cox; Susanna Burrows


As technology shifts the knowledge base from traditional hierarchical firm structures and mentorship to distributed models, how do firms redesign their practices, processes and organization to respond to this rapid change?  New practitioners will share their observations and the organization of their firm’s new leadership.  Using a range of project examples, these ‘next generation’ landscape designers will discuss how office and team culture influence interdisciplinary work, the challenges and opportunities to bring research into design practice, share their transitions from academia to the profession and how their fresh perspectives have influenced projects and the firm. HSW-No

Learning Objectives:
  • Participate in a discussion about the changing roles of the ‘next generation’ of designers.
  • Learn how rapidly changing technology is impacting design process and roles of young professionals
  • How office/team culture and structure influence interdisciplinary creative process
  • Discuss the challenges and future opportunities for bringing science + research into design practice
Speaker Bios:

Christian Runge
Associate, Mithun
Christian is a landscape architect and Associate at Mithun in Seattle.  Christian’s passion lies in the design at the intersection of human health and well-being, ecological and cultural processes where research can inform design.  He is currently working on a science-based ecological and infrastructure redesign for Yosemite National Park and a site design for future generations that can adapt to city-wide resilience plans for the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans.  His work received an ASLA Honor Award in 2011. 

Chuck McDowell
Chuck is a landscape designer focused on urban ecology and the integration of scientific research in the design process as a means to promote the balance between ecological function, user experience, and cultural context. With project experience ranging from university housing to watershed and disaster recovery planning, he brings a broad perspective on spatial and temporal design to practice.  Chuck received his MLA from Kansas State University in 2011 and MS in Conservation Ecology from the University of Michigan in 2014. 

Caitlin Squier-Roper
Caitlin is a landscape designer who is passionate about developing ecologically sustainable projects that grow out of an intensive study of a sites historical and cultural and physical attributes. She is particularly interested in thinking about ways to mitigate the effects of climate change, having worked on a Rockefeller project dedicated to developing resilient design strategies for Norfolk, Virginia before joining Mithun. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2002, and her MLA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013, where she was the recipient of the ASLA Merit Award and the Narendra Juneja Award for her commitment to ecological design.

Martha Cox
Martha is an architectural designer with a strong interest in health and materials.  She combines her humanistic approach to design with complex integrated projects such as Sun Valley Redevelopment Plan in Denver and State Center in Baltimore – addressing aggressive sustainable goals.  She received her Bachelor of Architecture in 2013 from Rice University.

Susanna Burrows
Landscape Architect, Mithun
Susanna is invested in creating deeply sustainable projects, and her ability to work across disciplines ensures holistic design. Her experience includes projects ranging from intimate plazas, to large urban parks, to the integration of recreation opportunities and outdoor workspaces within an existing office campus. Her intuitive understanding of the interaction of natural systems and urban systems is demonstrated in extensive work on sustainable urban infill sites, as well as her design of innovative management systems and green infrastructure. Her responsibilities on current projects include selecting California native plants that will survive both drought conditions and heavy rain events. She is also working closely with architects to skillfully connect the interior and exterior of a building via a rooftop community garden, an interior courtyard, and public streetscape improvements.