Karen Krolewski brings 25 years of professional experience to her work and leadership as a landscape architect. In her projects, Karen’s technical facilities fuse with her fine-arts background, allowing her to find creative freedom within project constraints. She is known for excellent problem-solving abilities, which manifest in her clever reuse of existing site materials and in her expert compliance with complex technical codes. Her projects span parks and playgrounds, high-density multifamily housing, educational facilities, and community-based spaces.
Initially drawn to landscape architecture’s potential to design for the public social realm, Karen is driven by an ongoing interest to design for others. She welcomes the constant challenge of anticipating how people will use a space, and in all her projects she strives to create soundly built, well-loved spaces where people want to spend time. Karen’s designs are often marked by her appreciation of textures and materials, as she takes great care in material selections. Whether the budget is large or small, she finds ways to integrate compelling furnishings and materials into a project.
Karen is acclaimed for her expertise in inclusive play design. In addition to lecturing on the subject, she aspires to incorporate into her projects universal access that surpasses ADA codes. Her achievements may be seen in projects including the award-winning Rotary PlayGarden and Clover Park.
What do you do at PGAdesign?
As a Principal at PGAdesign, my work focuses on green schoolyards, multi-family housing projects, and playgrounds. Designing inclusive, playful spaces are at the heart of my work. In addition to design, I enjoy the technical aspects of the work such as developing details, ensuring ADA compliance, and designing stormwater treatment systems.
What do you like about the firm?
The team at PGAdesign is truly passionate about our work, as we’ve seen first-hand the impact that thoughtfully designed spaces can have on people’s lives.
Where did you go to school?
I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus in photography from Cornell University. From there I went on to obtain a Master of Landscape Architecture from University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Why did you decide to go into landscape architecture?
I was studying fine arts when I realized I could apply my love of design and gardening to a profession that benefits communities and the environment.
What’s your favorite recreation spot?
I enjoy taking long hikes throughout the Bay Area with my husband and our dachshund. One favorite destination is King Mountain in Larkspur where a 500-foot climb is rewarded with breathtaking views of the East Bay.
What’s your favorite urban spot?
I love to go on urban hikes in San Francisco, finding the hilliest spot and discovering urban parks I never knew existed. Best are the ones where housing blends into native habitat.