A licensed Landscape Architect and LEED Accredited Professional with over 20 years of professional experience, Christopher leads the majority of PGAdesign’s projects focused on transit/trails and interpretive design. His fresh, yet practical design approach to landscape design is augmented by an exceptional artistic and graphic talent. This unique combination of skills makes him a highly-effective visual communicator, whether using a quick pencil sketch or a detailed computer graphic to convey a project’s design intent. Christopher is able to creatively present a project in its true and best possible light to community groups and other project stakeholders.
What do you do at PGA?
I am a principal and one of the owners of the firm. I work on and lead many of our transportation, housing, and open-space projects.
What do you like about the firm?
We take seriously the task of designing spaces that improve the quality of life for those who use it. We work with engineers, architects, and various agencies to improve, soften, and humanize the built environment.
Where did you go to school?
I received a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. My undergraduate degree is from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
What is your favorite landscape space and why?
No matter how well we design we can’t come close to nature, so all my favorite spaces are natural. Where do I begin, it’s an impossible question, like asking who is your favorite person. I am attracted to many types of place, specifically, they include the following. Grasslands pocketed by spruce in south-central Alaska, where the grass is six feet high in late summer, extensive, almost impenetrable and with a slight wispy hush that adds to the surroundings with a mystical quality. Small ponds in deciduous forests (think Massachusetts) teaming with life, intimate, knowable. Rocky slopes of the Sierras with gnarled Foxtail Spruce. I wonder at those ancient gnarled shapes clinging to life on extreme slopes with no soil and little water. It is a rare sight.
Anything, in particular, you remember about your early days in landscape architecture?
Landscape wasn’t as integrated into projects like it is today. Nowadays urban projects are so complex, all disciplines have to be at the table early on. You can no longer just decide to shoehorn an aspect of landscape architecture into the design at the end.
Are there any landscape spaces you feel deserve more attention?
Waterfronts around the Bay. In most places, the coast hasn’t changed or recovered much from the days of fill. We now have great access with the Bay Trail but in many places, the coast is still a jumble of broken concrete. A smattering of restored areas is not significant enough to bring many native species back from the precipice. Now with sea level rise, if we don’t plan well, we may end up adding more fill in the way of levies and walls – further damaging the ecosystem and separating us from the water.