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Meet April Philips FASLA, LEED
Women in Landscape Architecture

April Philips FASLA, LEED

April Philips is a designer and landscape architect with more than 30 years of experience. She brings exceptional skills in physical design and site planning to a broad range of projects throughout the United States and Pacific Rim. As principal in charge, April is committed to every project in a direct, hands-on manner. Her extensive background includes design coordination with multidisciplinary design teams for public and private sector clients, working to integrate the clients' needs and the sites' unique characteristics into creative and successful built environments. She is dedicated to creating environments that are artful, appropriate to the site and ecologically sound. Her passion is the integration of sustainable practices at all scales of development. Most recently she has been a local champion for incorporating urban agriculture into residential and commercial projects.

April's design work focuses on a fusion of nature, art, and technology with deep roots in sustainability and a regenerative landscape ideology. Her recent studio work investigates the intersection of food, design and ecology in urban landscapes. April cultivates a year round edible garden and is a passionate local food system advocate.

April Philips Design Works (APDW), San Rafael, Calif.
Calif. license #4487; Texas license #1019.

BLA, Louisiana State University;
Bay-Friendly Qualified Landscape Professional (BFL)
Honors: ASLA Fellow (2010)

Professional Affiliations
Trustee, Northern California ASLA Chapter
ASLA Sustainable Design and Development Professional Practice Network (PPN) California Chamber of Commerce
San Francisco Planning & Urban Research (SPUR)
Bay-Friendly Coalition
Women in Architecture (OWA)
USGBC Northern California Chapter

LEED; Green Point Rated (independent green home certification program in California); Bay Friendly (San Franciso Bay area).

Designing Urban Agriculture: The Complete Guide to the Planning, Design, Construction, Maintenance and Management of Edible Landscapes, John Wiley and Sons, June 2013.

Landscape Architecture Licenses
Currently lectures nationally to promote the Sustainable Sites Initiative, and Food Cities. Juror and guest lecturer, U.C. Berkeley, and has instructor in the landscape architecture program there.

38 Dolores Street, San Francisco - LEED Gold SITES Pilot Project

The 38 Dolores project is a 195,489 sq. ft. mixed-use development with 81 units, and a 30,000 sq. ft. Whole Foods Market on the ground floor. This is an urban infill greyfield development. The project goal was to bring people, housing, community-serving retail and social vitality to the prominent corner location. With sustainability as a core value, the Prado Group, BAR Architects, April Phillips Design Works, and William McDonough and Partners envisioned the project as an opportunity to bring the benefits of green sustainable living to San Francisco's Upper Market Street community. Sustainable strategies include daylighting, rainwater harvesting, alternative energy technologies, green roofs with habitat for the endangered Mission Blue butterfly, edible and stormwater gardens, transit accessibility, waste management, livable streets and environmental education components. The site was originally an auto dealership, so the physical transformation into a vibrant mixed-use development that creates an iconic neighborhood gateway is visually apparent to even a casual passerby.

VF Outdoor Campus, Alameda Waterfront in Harbor Bay Business Park - LEED Platinum and Bay Friendly

The 15-acre, four building campus for VF Outdoor is a highly sustainable off-the-grid campus that reflects the company's environmental exploration values, providing a strong indoor-outdoor relationship. The landscape maximizes the outdoor experiences for work, play and health. Solar and wind harvesting, outdoor wellness activities and optimizing views of the coastal location weighed heavily in the design. The project received a LEED Platinum rating and a Bay Friendly certification score of 124 points (minimum is 60 points). The campus is a dynamic tribute to the VF brand through its environmental leadership and its overarching message of outdoor exploration and stewardship.

Santana Row Parks, San Jose

Santana Row is a premier pedestrian oriented 40-acre development featuring shopping, accommodations, lofts, apartments, townhouses, parks and sunny tree lined streets. The linear park is the development's centerpiece. Organized around three mature specimen oak trees, the park features a series of outdoor rooms with open-air cafes, restaurants, kiosks, stages, fountains and retail. The design incorporates the best of European and American towns to create a beautiful, charming shopping and living district in the heart of Silicon Valley, blending old world ambience and high-tech comfort.

Union Square, San Francisco

April Philips Design Works, Inc. joined forces with MD Fotheringham as the Philips + Fotheringham Partnership to develop the redesign of San Francisco's iconic Union Square. The design is a formal open space organized around bisymmetrical cross-axes and stepped terraces. A grand central terrace, focused on the Dewey Memorial at the heart of the square, is framed by retail uses and a permanent stage. The slopes of the garage roof are redesigned to create a level center with terraced edges of stairs, architecture and plantings. The paving scheme symbolizes the site's natural dune heritage. The architecture of the outdoor space is conceived as a flexible framework supporting continuous community dialogue through a variety of performances and exhibitions. In this way, the tradition of Union Square - to attract people, keep their attention and make memories - is rediscovered.


1. What was the pivotal or motivating factor(s) that made you choose a career in landscape architecture?
Growing up in New Orleans I really loved the intersection of art and the outdoors. When I was applying to college I wanted to use my art talent but not just be stuck inside in a studio. My high school guidance counselor turned me onto the landscape architecture program at LSU. Led by Dr. Robert Reich, it was an amazing introduction into the world of design and ecology. I was hooked from the start. Not only was I able to do my art, I learned that I could create places that affected others through artistic expression, listening to the site, and listening to the community. Landscape architecture is truly a synergy between art and ecology.

2. What in particular do you attribute your success to?
I have a huge passion for the act of creating and design. I am inspired by a Da Vincian approach, which means that I look at everything from a "systems thinking" perspective. This helps me "map" the relationships of many things at once and not be afraid of apply this thinking approach to anything I wish to solve or create. I don't let boundaries constrain my thinking or ideation, as I believe designers should be fearless and strive to be change agents in their communities.

3. What career advice would you give to a recently graduated landscape architectural student?
It is all about finding your passion. Let the passion of your career path guide you in the direction of where you want to go. The path you've chosen should not be "just a job," as that will stifle passion. Soak up every project, place and job, and listen, learn and grow.

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October 20, 2019, 6:17 pm PDT

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