Petra Marar

What do you do at PGAdesign?

There is no typical day for me here. I am often working on a few different projects at the same time—planting design for streets in the East Bay, a refresh of a commercial area in the South Bay, a housing development. I switch between focusing on drafting and other drawing formats, writing, and working with teams to make sure the work is well-coordinated.

Where did you go to school?

I attended Cornell University for masters degrees in Landscape Architecture and in Regional Planning. As an undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence College, I studied French Language & Literature and Design Studies (which included a lot of sculpture). I think the through lines are narrative, form, materiality, and expression.

What is your favorite landscape space and why?

Currently, I am enamored with Death Valley National Park. The geological forms demonstrate the astonishing scale of the earth’s movement, and the power of water, which is only matched in severity by silence. Plus, it taught me greater appreciation of sunrises, sunsets, and the stars.

What’s your favorite urban spot?

In Oakland, I really do love Lake Merritt. Circumnavigating it, especially at night with lights reflecting on water, taking in the Saturday morning farmer’s market, picnicking on a warm day. It’s always a good scene.

What was your favorite book you’ve read lately?

Oakland has excellent bookstores, and I’m trying to visit the public library more often. Recently, I was moved by Tommy Orange’s There There, and I just re-read Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston in 1937—that is an amazing piece of literature.