2020 Annual WASLA Conference

Seattle Airport Marriott, March 27, 2020

From A to B: the Shifting Linear Landscape of the West Coast


Spanning one extreme to another, the west coast of North America is united by its relationship to the Pacific Ocean, wind currents, animal migration patterns, and impacts of climate change. Yet the coast is also varied and dynamic. Geology, soils and nutrients, water resources, fire adaptations, cultural influences, and both country and state borders create distinct landscapes that face unique issues. This lecture will consider the coast through a designer's eyes, informed by projects from Anchorage, Alaska, to Puerto Los Cabos on the tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula. How are these landscapes similar and different? What influenced the creation of our coastal landscapes? And what can we learn from these adjacencies as our climate continues to change? Diverse and connected, we will explore the shifting linear landscape of the West Coast.

Speaker Bios:

Michelle Arab, Director of Landscape Architecture Olson Kundig

As Olson Kundig's director of landscape architecture, Michelle strives to create beautiful places through the artful integration of nature and the built environment. Since earning her dual Master of Landscape Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees, Michelle has been captivated by the way landscape design can influence how we move through environments and the stories that unfold there.Before joining Olson Kundig in 2016, Michelle collaborated with the firm for over ten years on projects ranging from large private residences to hospitality projects and college campus expansions to large-scale museums. In her work, Michelle enjoys investigating every angle of a site, from its natural and cultural history to wildlife patterns and folklore.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explore different ways to understand the landscapes of the West Coast
  • Learn how design and construction contrast along the West Coast
  • Consider the impacts of climate change on adjacent varying landscapes