Is it a coincidence that when you are born and raised in a place known as the “City of Arts and Flowers”, you gravitate towards a career in landscape architecture? Maybe. Maybe not, but landscape architecture is the art of designing the outdoor environment (with plants and flowers), so perhaps for LCI’s newest designer, Arturo Zaragoza, his hometown of Lompoc, California, serves as subliminal stimuli for his new career in landscape architecture.
Arturo joins LCI as a 2017 graduate of California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. He is a lifelong soccer player and Arsenal FC fan. And even though he is a recent transplant to Southern California, he already follows the L.A. Dodgers and L.A. Lakers. Additionally, he enjoys playing acoustic guitar and discovering music, whether it be old or new.
Recently, Arturo was asked about his passion for landscape architecture, what drives his landscape designs, and what advice he has for future landscape architects. See what Arturo has to say below:
What drew you to a career in landscape architecture?
I grew up very curious about building things. My father’s friend was a landscape contractor and would sometimes take me with him to his job sites. From there, my interest for landscape construction began. I also have always appreciated the natural environment and its beauty. I believe landscape architects have an innate responsibility to be stewards of the environment.
What do you find most rewarding about landscape architecture?
Being able to improve the overall quality of life of people and different ecologies through design is the most rewarding thing about landscape architecture.
Who in landscape architecture inspires you?
- John Muir – for being one of the first advocates for wilderness preservation
- Ian McHarg – for pioneering the site analysis process using geographical overlays of the land
- Chris Reed – for his cutting edge design efforts that respond to different social and cultural traditions
- Linda Shotwell – for staying modest to the profession and her dedication to helping students become competent professionals
What would you like to see for the future of landscape architecture?
With many of the world’s ongoing phenomena (e.g. drought, rising sea levels, pollution, environmental degradation), I would like to see landscape architects tackle these issues and educate the public on ways to mitigate and prevent them.
When you are developing a landscape design, are there any specific goals that you consistently keep in mind?
I always try to keep a design practical but functional in order to create a productive landscape. The intended user of the space must be able to interact properly with the design elements in order for the design to be successful. Also, with California’s ongoing drought, I always try to select native and/or drought tolerant plants that are regionally appropriate and are favored by birds, insects, etc.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to become landscape architects/designers?
Be ready for many sleepless nights in school! And always keep a positive attitude.