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Meet Kristin Booker, ASLA

Booker Design Collaborative, Louisville, Kentucky


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Kristin Booker, ASLA


A registered landscape architect with over 20 years of experience, Kristin Booker has worked in both the private and public sectors with an all-encompassing understanding of the complex process of bringing successful projects to fruition. Her project management experience includes urban planning, historic preservation, commercial development, public realm improvements, residential design and public meeting facilitation. She was a landscape architect for Louisville Metro Government from January 2000 to December 2008; and a landscape architect on the Landmarks Urban Design staff for Louisville Metro Government from 1999-2007. She has a command of local regulations and ordinances that pertain to preservation, landscape design, and site planning. She enjoys collaborating on projects and consensus building to yield a successful outcome that meets core objectives. Booker was office manager at CARMAN from 2008-2011, and started Booker Design Collaborative in March 2012. BDC is a landscape architecture and urban planning firm based in Louisville, Ky., and its services include institutional, public, residential and commercial design and planning. BDC specializes in therapeutic garden design and green infrastructure.

Education:
Ohio State University, Bachelor's degree, Landscape architecture, 1989-1994
Tong Ji University, landscape architecture study abroad, Shanghai, China, summer of 1993
Dumbarton Oaks Symposium, "Sound and Scent in the Garden," Washington, D.C., 2014
Annual Native Plant Symposium, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2012-2014
Annual Sustainable Urban Landscapes, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2012-2014

Professional Affiliations:
St. Francis School, facilities committee
Downtown Louisville Beautification Committee
ASLA annual meeting, Washington D.C., speaker in 2010, "West Main Street Regeneration"
Kentucky Society of Landscape Architects, incoming president for 2017

Certifications:
Women Business Certified, Women's Business Enterprise National Council, October 2014
Women Business Certified, Louisville Metro Government
Registered landscape architect, Kentucky Board of Landscape Architects, Lic. 604


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Private Residence, Louisville, Kentucky
A series of three interconnected spaces was conceived, each with unique characteristics and programmatic elements, for this private residence. The change in backyard elevation was optimized, setting the different spaces apart. The expansive upper dining and living terrace connects the home to the backyard and is the starting point for a three-tiered fountain; the courtyard with its bosque of columnar trees contains a reflecting pool and 'floating' walkway of limestone; the lower terrace includes a pool, cabana, hot tub and fire pit. Durable and lasting materials were chosen, including limestone, bluestone and ipe wood. Irrigation and lighting were also components of the design.


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Center for Women and Families, Louisville, Kentucky
The Center for Women and Families sought to transform its courtyard into a restorative and playful space for its shelter residents. BDC had three goals: create a welcoming and rejuvenating space that safely accommodates active play, social interaction and healing for women and children; use plant varieties that can withstand active play while featuring edible and native varieties that require clients' care; and provide color and excitement by using sculptural elements to highlight the garden and create a bright, tranquil space. Though the courtyard is relatively small, areas were designated for mothers to congregate, children to play and people to gather. A ribbon-like tricycle path winds its way through the courtyard as an active play element.
Photography by Kenneth Hayden, Louisville, Ky.



Q & A

1. What was the pivotal or motivating factor(s) that made you choose a career in landscape architecture?
I discovered landscape architecture in college as an undeclared major looking for options. Once I realized I could design outdoor spaces where people create lifelong memories, I was completely hooked.

2. If you had not become a landscape architect, what profession might you have pursued?
In high school, I wanted to become a marine biologist, but anything related to natural sciences or a profession involving children was appealing to me.

3. What do you most enjoy about being a landscape architect?
I enjoy discovering how to creatively address complex programmatic needs in a way that is beautiful and inspirational.

4. Do you think women landscape architects generally get the same respect as their male counterparts? Have you experienced any discrimination because of your gender within the profession or by clients?
There have been moments in the past where I have experienced discrimination, but it has not deterred me from advancing my career, starting my firm or being part of some incredible projects. It may take additional time to build confidence among team members at the onset of a project, but once a partnership is forged, the subject of gender is far from center stage.

5. When you first meet people not affiliated with the profession and explain that you are a landscape architect, how do you describe what you do?
Landscape architects solve complex problems that have social, cultural, environmental and economic implications. We change how the world looks, feels and works, hopefully making it a better place for everyone.

6. What in particular do you attribute your success to?
Communication and understanding, working in a collaborative manner with the client and design team, and creatively addressing the unique design challenges each site possesses.

7. What is (are) the most important contribution(s) made by landscape architects in the field of design today?
Regeneration of brownfields sites into beloved public open spaces, reclaiming forgotten spaces in our urban centers, and regeneration of the natural environment are key areas where landscape architects are making an impact right now. There are so many positive social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits to the profession of landscape architecture.

8. How has the landscape architecture profession changed since you first began working in the field?
Designers are being challenged in a good way to incorporate advances in other fields of study. Landscape architects are working with ecologists, biophysicists, economists and sociologists to define a compelling new design aesthetic. With this opportunity, we are creating a new set of principles to guide the practice of landscape architecture.

9. What career advice would you give to recently graduated landscape architectural students as they enter the profession?
Practice the art of listening and give yourself the license to explore the solutions that are bold, innovative and creative. Be humble and grateful. It takes time to hone your craft, so be easy on yourself and celebrate the smallest victories.

As seen in LASN magazine, November 2016.








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