Designers Peter Emerson, Chelina Odbert, and Gary Strang, AIA, reveal the tools and collaborators that help make their landscape projects truly bloom.

Peter Emerson
courtesy RIOS Peter Emerson

Peter Emerson

Studio Director


Los Angeles

courtesy Angel City Lumber

Angel City Lumber: Local Lumber Products
“Angel City Lumber crafts wood products from fallen neighborhood trees Angelenos have lived among for decades, redirecting an exquisite, urban natural resource from becoming waste and into beautiful creations. Seek out your area’s local sawmill. Many cities have similar vendors, including Austin’s Harvest Lumber Co.”

courtesy Atelier Vierkant

Atelier Vierkant: Handcrafted Clay Planters
“This family business in Belgium handcrafts, sells, and distributes clay planters worldwide and has made its way into many of our most exclusive projects. We love that each planter comes from clay, an ancient material resource, but is given its contemporary design personality. No two pieces are exactly alike!"

courtesy Vestre

Vestre: Parklets 2.0
“City dwellers on a mission to reclaim the public realm from the automobile [should] check out Vestre’s Parklets 2.0 series. In eight weeks, you can transform a parking spot to make space for people and plants. Plus, the manufacturer makes long-term sustainability a prerequisite through commitments to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Chelina Odbert
courtesy Kounkuey Design Initiative Chelina Odbert

Chelina Odbert

CEO, Founding Principal

Kounkuey Design Initiative

Los Angeles

courtesy Kounkuey Design Initiative

Kounkuey Design Initiative: The Wobble
“This lightweight, durable, interlocking piece can be connected in several ways to quickly and inexpensively transform any outdoor space into a play zone. We have used the Wobble to temporarily reimagine miles of LA and Philadelphia streets into intergenerational public spaces.”

Artwork by Andrea Bergart; photo by Ross D.

Project Backboard: Public Art
“Sports facilities are often perceived as gendered and exclusionary spaces, but Project Backboard’s use of public art as surface helps reframe these spaces as places that are welcoming and flexible for people of all genders and interests. We are using Project Backboard at the redesigned Vare Recreation Center in Philadelphia.”

courtesy Kompan

Kompan: Universal Carousel
“We look forward to using this inclusive play spinner in future projects as it goes beyond physical accessibility to also encourage exchange and shared experience across people of different abilities, mobilities, and ages. The ground-level spinner features a seat, handles, and plenty of room for standing or accessing with a mobility aid.”

Gary Strang, AIA
courtesy GLS Landscape | Architecture Gary Strang, AIA

Gary Strang, AIA


GLS Landscape | Architecture

San Francisco

courtesy GLS Landscape | Architecture

Kreysler & Associates: Architectural Fabricator
“Taking cues from a tree’s structural form, this arbor fabricated by Kreysler & Associates was designed to provide shade and cooling effect from integrated misters while offering a visual point of interest. Approximately 20 feet in diameter by 12 feet high, it was [made] with fiber-reinforced polymer with internal steel rods and post-applied sand-blast finish.”

courtesy GLS Landscape | Architecture

DeepRoot: Silva Cell
“We used this product at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. The modular Silva Cell soil system provides structural support for the granite planks with open joints, allowing lightly compacted nutrient-rich soil to remain for each tree. Water easily passes through the open joints, eliminating the need for visible drains and [ensuring] every square foot of the plaza [is] usable.”

courtesy GLS Landscape | Architecture

BOK Modern: Architectural Fabricator
“We have worked with [this San Francisco company] on metalwork fabrication for several projects, notably the pavilion at Station Park Green. Laser-cut steel sheets and collaborative in-house engineering resulted in the 1,800-square-foot [space], which acts as a lantern. Without any conventional steel framing, the structure is light and strong, reducing cost, weight, and transportation logistics."

This article first appeared in the March 2023 issue of ARCHITECT.

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