LAEP Alumna Designs Landmark NYC Island
As a principal for the international urban landscape architecture company West 8, alumnus Jamie Maslyn Larson is currently helping with a major landscape architecture project in New York City. Although she graduated from Utah State University 16 years ago, Larson still utilizes the knowledge she gained at USU every day.
Larson is the principal-in-charge of redesigning Governors Island, a 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor, and works with sub consultants, in-house designers and the community in making sure that their ideas are heard and implemented into the design, she said.
“The centerpiece of the initiative is to bring New Yorkers back to its waterfront in fun ways with parks and pathways,” Larson said.
A six-acre plaza with art and water features, a hammock grove with 1,500 new trees, two turf ball fields, historic renovation and 10 acres of hills with a view of the Statue of Liberty are just some of the things currently under construction as phase one of the project.
Larson said she’s been working on Governors Island since 2008 when West 8 won a competition to be the company in charge of the project. After that, the company, whose main office is located in Europe, needed to build an office in New York and recruited Larson to help with the project’s master plan and execute the different stages. In 2010 she was promoted to principal.
Although work on Governors Island will continue at least through Spring 2015, Larson said finally seeing some green is an indescribable feeling.
“To actually see the effect of having the quality of the botanics and the brightness, it was euphoric,” she said.
Her interest in urban systems and designs was a passion she housed during her time as a master’s student in USU’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. Although Logan, Utah and New York City are very different places, Larson said she learned essential principles of landscape architecture during her schooling that helped her to succeed in any setting.
“I think fundamentally what I learned in my education at Utah State University was to delve deeply into a particular setting, dissecting the issues and problems around any particular site,” she said.
Larson stated that she also values the faculty members who helped her.
“I would say my personal experience was supported by an unbelievable faculty,” she said. “I felt very cared for in the sense that [urban systems] was an unusual interest given the location but they really took my personal passion and helped me form it.”