Celebrating Landscape Architecture Month with Lynn Whipple
Lynn Whipple loves the outdoors. She enjoys fostering her creative side and finds challenging herself rewarding. So, when she learned about the landscape architecture program her freshman year at Michigan State University, she knew it was something she wanted to try – it was almost kismet. Over the course of her education, Lynn found interest in creating outdoor people-friendly spaces. She loved learning to draw and honed this skill. She believes “having that design background made it an exciting challenge to switch from landscape architecture to graphic design and then back again.” Coupling her design experience with landscape architecture, she found she could integrate sustainability with design.
Lynn received her BLA in landscape architecture in 2008 and then later entered into her first landscape architecture position. In this role, Lynn spent most of her days Photoshopping graphics or creating presentations for principals. She was using graphic design skills almost more than landscape architecture. However, she discovered that the design process was nearly identical and provided her with an opportunity to learn more skills and become a more well-rounded designer. She found that graphic design goes hand in hand with landscape architecture when it comes to graphic standards and understanding how color, texture, and layout work together – whether within the built environment or on paper.
While Lynn enjoyed graphic design, she transitioned back to landscape architecture. She was motivated by her desire to create outdoor spaces. Lynn joined PEA Group in 2017. Lynn currently serves as a Project Coordinator I and has played a key role in many of PEA Group’s most prominent park projects, as well as trails, wayfinding solutions, and kayak launches. “Being a landscape architect gives me a unique perspective on the world and how people interact with it.” Lynn believes that landscape architecture provides her with the opportunity to not only create spaces where people can feel more comfortable and connected to their outdoor environment, but create spaces with a focus on sustainability, as well.
In recent years, Lynn has noticed there has been an increased focus on landscape architecture and how it relates to the desires of the community. More specifically, there has been an increase in trail planning as funding opportunities and people’s desires for safe bike and pedestrian routes have grown.
This increase in people-centric outdoor spaces is evident with projects such as the Great Lakes Way and the Huron Clinton Metroparks Connector. Lynn worked with large groups of stakeholders and saw firsthand how people can collaborate and get behind an idea that makes the community more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists.
While she has had the opportunity to work on numerous exciting and impactful projects, a recent project Lynn enjoyed working on was for a multi-use space on a local university’s campus. She and her team had more creative freedom in the design. Designed for both students and donors to enjoy, Lynn and her team members had to find ways to bring in the industrial elements of the engineering school with the natural landscape. She enjoyed this project as it was a highly trafficked space that would be utilized by several different groups of people.
Lynn finds it is so much easier to learn about a space when you’re in it, rather than seeing it in a photo. Her favorite way to look for inspiration is through travel. She enjoys visiting new places and seeing how other areas of the world plan for accessibility, parks, plazas, and pedestrians – seeing firsthand how landscape architecture makes a difference in the community we live, work, and play in.