Jaclyn recently completed her Master of Landscape Architecture program. Prior to this she studied environmental design and worked for architecture, industrial, interior and landscape design offices. She also pursues independent projects, including landscape installations constructed in Vancouver and Norway, and a social media project, Landscape Diet, exploring the health benefits of a nature-based lifestyle. During her first year in the MLA program she worked as an assistant architect at UBC and obtained an internship at a local landscape architecture office. Within SALA, she has been a teaching assistant for a design studio and several electives. During her studies, Jaclyn has been awarded the Robillard Scholarship, Diana Lane Johnson scholarship, the Durante Kreuk Prize, the first year Book Prize for excellence in studio and a publication in the student edition of Sitelines Magazine. Outside of school, Jaclyn volunteers at an urban farm to collaborate with the community and understand the design process from a hands-on experience. Her interest in the profession focuses on the establishment of symbiotic relationships between humans and nature.
Why did you choose landscape architecture?
I am fascinated with the built environment, how humans move through it, and its ability to alter our perception of time and place, to bring awareness to the world around us, and thus to our role as individuals within the world. As long as I can remember, I wanted to be an architect. When I was little, I spent endless hours building forts, drawing imaginary ‘blueprints’, and crafting cardboard architecture models. Yet throughout my life I have always been drawn to the natural environment. For me, landscape is not dissimilar from building architecture, interior architecture or urban design, but its ecological, ephemeral and programmatic qualities make it a unique spatial realm. The landscape provides us with resources, ecosystem services, places to connect with one another, and opportunities to connect with nature. It is not only an environment we inhabit, but a source of physical, psychological, social and spiritual support. Correspondingly, as the world around us continues to evolve, it faces complex environmental, economic and social challenges. Landscape architecture, as a spatial platform which synthesizes environmental, ecological and social paradigms, presents immense timely opportunity to positively contribute to the natural and built environment, those who inhabit it, and to foster symbiotic relationships between person and place so we may grow together.
What has made your time at UBC the most memorable?
Collaboration. For me, it was a joy to work with and get to know my peers, mentors and professors throughout my time within SALA. Through sharing ideas, opinions, curiosities, and aspirations, I was able to form a sense of open-mindedness in my education while developing an independent perception, philosophy, and approach to design. It has been a reward to witness my peers evolve throughout our time at school, each finding their own skills, talents and passions which I look forward to witnessing continuously grow in years to come.
What has been your most memorable or valuable non-academic experience studying landscape architecture at UBC?
There is so much to learn in school; from educators and peers, within books, media, research and through experimentation with new ideas. While these endeavors hold limitless potential for growth, there is also much to learn outside of school, particularly and quite literally, for landscape architecture students. The summer before my final year at UBC, I decided to spend time away from the classroom and instead dig my hands into the dirt while volunteering as local urban farmer. Working in the food garden presented the opportunity to get to know how landscape architecture operates off paper while also getting to know members of my community. At the farm, I learned basic skills such as how to plant seeds, weed, and harvest crops. Spending extended time in the garden allowed me to witness it grow and change throughout the season, unveiling its dependence on humans, and our reciprocal dependence on nature. Working directly within the landscape outside of the school environment inspired me to perceive landscape architecture differently, to feel an intimate and personal connection with it, and form a better understanding of its character as it evolves throughout time. This experience taught me lessons of academic and personal value, while discovering an advocacy for community work, and finding a balance between indoor and outdoor learning.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Inspiration is found everywhere. Music, books, food, fashion, history, pop culture, memory, relationships and travel are few of many sources of inspiration. For me, more important than inspiration however, is curiosity, imagination and investigation. When we allow ourselves to question freely, and explore or investigate a subject open-mindedly, we embrace the potential for limitless discovery; not only for academic or research findings, but for developing inner attitudes and perceptions towards design and towards a way of life. For me, the journey of exploring curiosity, imagination and investigation is the most inspiring part of design, known as process. It is both critical to inform design solutions and rewarding, as it frees us to boundlessly grow, to continuously renew how we see the world, ourselves in it, and our potential to positively contribute to it as future designers.
How will you go on to make a difference in our world?
Upon graduating from the MLA program I hope to spread awareness through design to the broader public about the timely potential, need, and benefit of landscape architecture. For me, the profession holds immense opportunity to synthesize the production of much needed resources while supporting holistic health for humans, and improving environmental and ecological conditions. Its development of innovative paradigms can restore, prevent and seed the existing and future vitality of our built environments and those who inhabit them. I would like to advocate for risk taking within the landscape architecture profession, encouraging landscape architects to take leading design roles within multi-disciplinary projects. I will strive to create opportunity, through design, for humans to participate with nature, to intimately connect with it, and to discover their own perceptions and relations to nature, in both the natural and constructed world around us.