Member Spotlight: Wendy Andringa

MS-Wendy-HS

Wendy Andringa

Founder & Principal
Assemblage Landscape Architecture

Education: State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

ASLA-NY Committees: Membership (Co-Chair) & Climate Action Committees

Wendy Andringa is a landscape architect with creative roots in photography and the arts. She is the founder of Assemblage, a Brooklyn-based landscape architecture studio that enriches the public realm through design innovation inspired by the intelligence of natural systems. In her 18 years working in the NYC metro area, she has refined her passion for seeking climate-resilient design solutions in all contexts. Whether working in climate adaptation on the shores of the Hudson River or designing a public landscape in NYC, she works towards low-carbon design solutions that strengthen ecological and social networks at all scales. Prior to founding Assemblage, Wendy worked at SCAPE, Starr Whitehouse, and Dirtworks. Wendy has had academic appointments at the CCNY Spitzer School of Architecture, Columbia University GSAPP, and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). Wendy is an ASLA-NY Board Member and founder of the ASLA-NY Plant Research Group. She is currently exploring the potential of an open-source mapping tool for landscape designers to share knowledge about low embodied-carbon materials, including salvage and reclaim, into their projects.

What is YOUR story? What led you to a career in landscape architecture? When did you realize you wanted to become a Landscape Architect?

I found landscape architecture by way of my montage photography. As a photographer, I was creating two-dimensional imagery that captures and recombines fragments of the world in new and unusual ways, and I wanted to bring this type of curiosity and inquiry to design real landscapes. At the same time, I became fascinated with the variety of plants that emerged from cracks in the paving at the Brooklyn waterfront - I photographed them in a way that gave them a heroic status - they were my waterfront heroes! The moment I knew I wanted to study landscape architecture was when I realized I could be part of the collective effort to make NYC a thriving ecological city - we could follow the lead of my weedy waterfront heroes!

Douglaston-Littleneck Community Library, Queens, NY

Douglaston-Littleneck Community Library, Queens, NY

What project or work that you have done at any point in your career are you most proud of and why?

Starting Assemblage has been really rewarding for me - the learning curve has been great and I’m enjoying the challenge. I feel very lucky to have great collaborators and projects. One of our first projects was a year-long community engagement process with the City of Hudson that resulted in a climate-adaptive re-design for their waterfront park. It was really exciting for us as an emerging practice to be working in climate adaptation with a municipality and the Hudson community was phenomenal to work with! We just presented that project at ASLA with Taewook Cha, FASLA, Supermass Studio and Josh Cerra, ASLA, Cornell University.

What is your favorite outdoor space in the greater NYC area and why?

The urban meadow at Brooklyn Botanic Garden is my secret laboratory - I am so thankful to be able to experience the seasonal cycles of a meadow in Brooklyn - it’s the most untamed part of the BBG. My favorite urban forest is in the Ridgewood Reservoir basins - these successional forests emerged when the basins were abandoned and have become the most enchanting spaces! I hope to see them become accessible in the future - that would be a dream project.

What value do you feel ASLA gives you? Why are you involved in our chapter?

There are many benefits, but I most value the advocacy that ASLA does to promote the important work we do as landscape architects in creating healthy, sustainable and equitable environments. Being part of the collective voice of the profession is rewarding and being a Board Member has given me the chance to get involved in a decision-making capacity for the New York chapter.

Why are you a member of ASLA and what do you feel membership does for YOU?

I think the best part of being an ASLA member is being an active and engaged participant in the greater landscape architecture community in New York City - one of the greatest cities in the world! We shouldn’t take for granted how much we are standing on the shoulders of giants. Let’s face it, our hard work is often misunderstood and underappreciated, and so much of our professional success can be credited to the advocacy of ASLA. Nobody should underestimate the power of advocacy!

Where do you go for inspiration or what do you find inspiring?

I love our ASLA-NY Plant Research Group! It has grown to over 80 members and we have visited 20 sites - the collective knowledge we have accumulated about urban plants is phenomenal. Every site visit we do inspires my passion for plant systems and designing smarter for tough urban conditions. We observe to learn the successes and challenges of planting in urban spaces. Please join us if you want to sharpen your horticultural skills!

Learn more about Wendy and her firm, Assemblage

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