The Cool Box / Robyn Bartling, Director of Landscape Architecture, Denver / Senior Associate

The Hord Coplan Macht Cool Box is a place to get to know some of the people and personalities who are delivering great ideas and leading work for our clients. In the Cool Box today: Robyn Bartling, Director of Landscape Architecture, Denver/Senior Associate, Landscape Architecture.

When did you know you wanted to become a landscape architect?

I wanted to be an architect through middle and high school. My father built homes and I was fascinated by construction. I also helped with some construction on weekends and part of summer while in high school. I decided to seek out colleges that had an architecture program.  While learning more about the different design programs offered, I found out about landscape architecture.  As soon as I learned about it, I knew that the blend of architecture, engineering, horticulture, and my love of the outdoors was a match made in heaven!

What is it about your personality that helps you do your job?

I am very approachable and have a friendly attitude. I pride myself on having a positive attitude and for continually being conscious of the goal(s) for each project throughout the process. I believe strongly that everyone on the team is an integral part of meeting that goal. That includes the client, consultants, and contractors. I always look at each step of the process truly as a team effort.

“If I couldn’t be a landscape architect I’d probably be a…”

Veterinarian. I have always had a great love of animals.

What particular challenges of a project attract you or really excite you?

I love a challenging site. Whether it’s extremely flat, has a lot of topography, limited frontage, or lack of surrounding community connections, I am excited by the challenge of making the most challenging sites meet the program for the project. These sites usually provide the most dynamic interplay between community, site, and architecture.

Is there a rule or principle your studio lives by? 

Each project shall receive our heartfelt attention from start to completion. Each project, no matter the budget, should exemplify a high quality of design that is contextually sensitive.

What are you working on now? 

I am currently working on Colorado State University’s Biology Building, Colorado State University – Pueblo Occhiato University Center, and Quigley Hall Addition and Renovation at Western State University. K-12 Education projects: Parker Performing Arts School, Loveland Classical Academy (K-12), St. Vrain Elementary, Candelas PK-8, Mrachek Middle School. Park Projects: Penrose Park Master Plan and El Pueblo Pavilion Master Plan.

How does the vast expertise here at Hord Coplan Macht, across markets—healthcare, education, multi-family—and additional services—planning, interior design, landscape architecture—help you deliver for your clients? 

We have such a great group of professionals at HCM with vast knowledge and experience. True integration between our disciplines and expertise is extremely important and we feel is something that sets us apart. When we say multi-disciplinary we mean it and live it each day in our studios. Each project has its own challenges and specific programming needs and although some of our project types may follow some of the more standard practices, we are finding more often than not each project may have an opportunity to thoughtfully integrate other market expertise as we continue to focus on not just sustainability but be forward thinking in the health and wellness of our communities, buildings, and outdoor spaces.

Is collaboration important? Overrated?

As a landscape architect, I feel collaboration is extremely important. I feel like the most successful projects don’t just talk about collaborating, they actually do it! Collaboration in the design profession should be second nature. We should always seek out experts and team members in different disciplines to help meet the client’s goals to the highest extent possible.

In your opinion what is one of the most exciting trends in landscape architecture right now? 

I think the trend of looking at the health and wellness benefits of our buildings and outdoor spaces is imperative to our future. As we read and hear more about the lack of connectivity to ‘nature,’ the obesity epidemic, and the extensive amount of time with our devices at all ages, we as designers should take the future of our end users seriously. I believe it is very important to think about how people ‘play’ in their spaces.  When I design a space I am always actively thinking about the importance of how people move, socialize, interact, and engage with one another. I look forward to us embracing more and more the importance of social and physical health and wellbeing at all ages. It shouldn’t be a trend, it’s a definite need. As we continue to think through the design of our spaces, we need to be cognizant of current trends of people’s needs. We need to be thoughtful in providing designed spaces that remind our users to take time to engage socially, emotionally, and physically. Get out and play together!


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