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Meet Susan Hatchell FASLA, PLA, LEED AP
Women in Landscape Architecture

Susan Hatchell FASLA, PLA, LEED AP

Susan Hatchell created Susan Hatchell Landscape Architecture, PLLC in 1994, a firm that focuses on the design of parks and recreation facilities, university projects and downtown plazas and streetscapes. Susan taught site planning, planting design and construction drawing as an adjunct faculty member at North Carolina State University from 2001 to 2008.

Susan has been active in ASLA since 1982 at the state and national levels. She was elected to the 2001 ASLA Class of Fellows. She served as ASLA vice president of membership from 2007 to 2008, and was elected ASLA president in 2012. She has served as secretary, president, and trustee of the ASLA North Carolina Chapter, garnering satisfaction from working with colleagues towards similar goals.

During her tenure as ASLA president it was her honor to travel to visit with representative of various ASLA state chapters, attend conferences and speak to allied professional groups about landscape architecture.

The majority of her firm's work is park master planning and design, university projects, and streetscapes in North and South Carolina. Her current projects include master planning, grant administration and application, and construction drawings for multiple phases of Nolan Park in Whiteville; planning and design work for Turnipseed Nature Preserve and trails; recreational assessment and planning for three Research Triangle Park sites; new playground design and construction services for Fuquay-Varina Elementary School; and streetscape improvements and plantings associated with Sandy Forks Road widening and realignment.

Susan Hatchell Landscape Architecture, PLLC, Raleigh, N.C.
1 Principal, 3 employees

North Carolina State University

ASLA Fellow, 2001

Professional Affiliations
ASLA President, 2012
ASLA VP of Membership, 2007-8
ASLA North Carolina Chapter: Secretary, President and Trustee

ASLA Chairmanships
Public Relations and Communications Advisory; Emerging Professionals; Nominating; Leadership Development; Strategic Planning; Awards Jury Selection; and on numerous community committees and awards juries.

ASLA Chairmanships: Public Relations Committee
Professional Interest Groups; Chapter Presidents Council; and Chapter Initiatives Program.

Taught landscape architecture as an adjunct faculty member at North Carolina State University, and continues to be actively involved on its advisory board and as a mentor to students.

James B. Hunt Jr. Library, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.

Hunt Library at Centennial Campus at North Carolina State University is a showcase of innovation, sustainability and technology - and serves as an iconic building at the southern terminus of the "Oval." The Oval is the primary green space on campus, linking educational buildings and dormitories. Designed within LEED Silver requirements, the exterior spaces around the library include plazas at both entrances, pedestrian circulation, wide seat/steps on the north side of the building, streetscape plantings, green walls, trellises, rain gardens, green roofs, seat walls, land forms and lawn areas. Susan Hatchell Landscape Architecture was involved in the project from the initial concept charrette and brainstorming sessions through to construction administration over a period of four years (2008-2012). Close collaboration with the design architect Snohetta, executive architect Clark Nexsen, other design team members, and with university staff was a key to the success of the project. The project earned a 2014 NC ASLA Merit Award.

Duke Mill Village Renovation, Duke University, Durham, N.C.

A cluster of turn of the century mill buildings provided the inspiration for the new architecture and spatial layout of the renovated Duke Mill Village, a new central campus student gathering area. The design ran concurrently with site plan approvals, groundbreaking and demolition for this design-build project. New facilities include a gym, study rooms, convenience store, campus police station, patio, lawn area/garden, and a restaurant. The plan also incorporates improved pedestrian circulation through the site. Susan Hatchell Landscape Architecture produced concept plans and construction drawings that included demolition, site layout, site lighting, planting, as well as related details for pavements and site amenities.

Oval Park Renovation, Durham, N.C.

Oval Park in Durham, North Carolina, is a busy gathering place for the active residents of the surrounding Watts Hospital-Hillandale neighborhood. This successful renovation project fixed ongoing problems at the park: inaccessible walks and play equipment, poor drainage and excessive compaction. Since the renovation, the park has become a place that neighbors of all mobility levels and all ages can enjoy together. Susan Hatchell Landscape Architecture facilitated public input meetings with local residents, prepared concept plans and construction drawings and worked with the city construction manager to observe construction.

Lake Myra County Park Master Plan Wake County, N.C.,

Located in southeastern Wake County, N.C., near the rapidly developing towns of Wendell and Knightdale, this 224-acre future park overlooks scenic Lake Myra. The site features rock outcroppings, rolling former farm fields, historic structures, steep bluffs along creeks and a mature hardwood forest. The site is adjacent to new and planned residential developments, and a new elementary school. The park plan has innovative approaches to sustainable site and building design. The Environmental Education Center will include geothermal HVAC systems and rainwater harvesting, both to be used as teaching tools to explain sustainability elements to the general public.


1. What was the pivotal or motivating factor(s) that made you choose a career in landscape architecture?
I was born in Washington, D.C., a rich, iconic public place with fabulous monuments, parks, gardens and parkways. That landscape and its history made a profound and lasting impression on me. My love of outdoors started with the urban built environment of one of the greatest cities in the nation. I love trees and plants, art, design, science and critical thinking. I found horticulture first, but it wasn't the perfect fit for me. I found landscape architecture while studying horticulture, but it's all good. It's been a great journey.

2. What in particular do you attribute your success to?
Persistence! Perseverance. Patience. My parents promoted lifelong learning, and I'm good at self-motivation, and I like working hard. I am not happy with the status quo, and I like to make things happen. "Success" came to me once I opened myself up to risks and got over my shyness. I started being involved in the ASLA and finding my leadership skills there, and at work. I learned to speak up. Basically, you have to decide if you want to ride on the bus, or if you want to drive the bus. Success is easier when you're the driver, and you get the best view.

3. What career advice would you give to a recently graduated landscape architectural student?
I love talking with students and recent graduates because they have this infectious energy and excitement for the profession and the future! "Success" doesn't come instantaneously with a degree. It happens incrementally, over many years as you develop skills, network and reputation. When we are children, we work hard to try to fit in, and it is usually difficult and painful when we don't. As adults, we need to figure out how to differentiate ourselves to excel, but we've been working so long to fit in! What makes YOU unique and different? What do YOU have to offer? BE the leader that you'd want to follow. Be involved! Be an active participant in your professional organization. Be a volunteer in your community. Be a vocal advocate and teach and learn. Be a friend and mentor to others. Step outside your comfort zone in small ways to build confidence and push yourself a bit. Find your voice, and use it!

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February 17, 2020, 1:36 pm PDT

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