New York Members Elevated to Fellows

The American Society of Landscape Architects New York Chapter (ASLA-NY) is pleased to announce the elevation of three members to Fellow status. Fellowship is among the highest honors the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) bestows on members and recognizes the contributions of these individuals to their profession and society at large based on their works, leadership and management, knowledge, and service. The designation of Fellow is conferred on individuals in recognition of exceptional accomplishments over a sustained period of time. The ASLA Council of Fellows has chosen Elena Brescia, Chris LaGuardia and Laura Starr from the New York Chapter to be elevated this year at the Council of Fellows Investiture Dinner on November 8 held during the ASLA 2015 Annual Meeting and EXPO in Chicago, Illinois.

This year’s ASLA-NY member honorees include:

Portrait of Elena Brescia, principal at Scape Landscape Design.

Elena Brescia, RLA, ASLA

Elena Brescia, RLA, ASLA, Partner at SCAPE/LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE PLLC has been elevated to Fellow in the category of Service. Elena has been serving voluntarily for the ASLA and pro-bono for interdisciplinary organizations continuously for 15 of her 22 years as a professional. She served on the Executive Committee of the New York Chapter of the ASLA for six years and, concurrently, as a representative of the Chapter on the Executive Committee of the interdisciplinary design coalition New York New Visions for Rebuilding Lower Manhattan. She served on the New York State Council of Landscape Architects. Currently, she serves on New York’s interdisciplinary arts and design coalition, the Fine Arts Federation of New York, on which she has served for the past nine years as a Director, an Officer, and as President. Her service has engaged many influential groups and has had a positive impact on the field of Landscape Architecture; it has increased recognition for the field in the City and among affiliated design disciplines. Elena’s efforts during her six years with ASLA-NY enabled the Chapter to search for and hire its first Executive Director, and helped set the stage for the Chapter’s current initiatives such as Continuing Education courses and Awards Programs. Elena also participated most recently in the Chapter’s 100 Year Anniversary Short Film, which highlights historical events and persons that helped shape Landscape Architecture in NYC, key accomplishments of our Chapter and members, and what the future holds for our profession. Watch this short film at:

Nicholas Quennell, FASLA, Partner Quennell Rothschild and Partners LLP, notes that Elena “has always been a team player, putting process and results ahead of personal recognition, and her work is first class.”


Christopher LaGuardia, RLA, ASLA

Christopher LaGuardia, RLA, ASLA, President at LaGuardia Design Landscape Architecture has been elevated to Fellow in the category of Works. For the past thirty years, Christopher has been committed to the advancement of landscape architecture on the eastern end of Long Island. In his practice, he strives to integrate the needs and habitat of people with the natural landscape in clear and understandable terms. Over the years, Mr. LaGuardia’s award winning work has been highly recognized at both the local and national level. He has also lectured widely on his design influences and the profession. Most recently, his ongoing relationship with the Cultural Landscape Foundation in Washington D.C. has brought nationwide attention to his work, as well as his many successful collaborations with some of the world’s best known architects and artists.

In his nominating statement, Charles Birnbaum, FASLA, Founder/President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation notes, “I first visited a couple of Chris’ projects in The Hamptons five years ago – what impressed me during these first visits was both the simplicity and sophistication of his work. His dedication to the highest professional standards extends from his design work to his role as an ambassador for the profession.”


Laura Starr, RLA, ASLA

Laura Starr, RLA, ASLA, Partner at Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners PLLC has been elevated to Fellow in the category of Works. During her thirty-year career, Laura has exhibited sustained excellence, winning 17 design awards in two decades. Her work across New York City has transformed residents’ daily experiences, and revitalized landmarks synonymous with New York itself. The quality, scope, significance, and ambition of her work demonstrate Laura’s worthiness for inclusion in ASLA’s Council of Fellows. Characterized by an unerring focus on balancing site ecology, aesthetics, and lived experience, Laura’s work spans a range of site types, including major parks, pocket plazas, cultural institutions, individual residences, and major infrastructure works. Through her lectures, panelist appearances, professional leadership, project work, and most recently, her visionary contribution to resiliency through the Big U, Laura consistently advocates for evocative landscape solutions that enhance city life even as they accommodate the many functions of urban space. Her innovative approach and commitment to an inclusive, democratic design process make Laura a powerful voice for a city that is greener and more responsive to the needs of a twenty-first century public. Laura is a founding partner of Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners PLLC, a past president of ASLA-NY, Founder of the Sustainable Streets Initiative and past board member of the National Association for Olmsted Parks.

Niall Kirkwood, DSc, FASLA, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Technology at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design describes Laura as having “reinvented some of New York’s most iconic landscapes. Her ideas are guiding New York’s response to climate change, ensuring that the intimate experience of landscape and its ability to enhance social and economic opportunity are not sacrificed in the impulse to protect and fortify.”


For a full listing of all fellows, please go to

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About the American Society of Landscape Architects, New York Chapter
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the national professional association for landscape architects. Founded in 1899, the association represents over 15,000 members and features 49 professional chapters and 76 student chapters. The territory of the New York Chapter encompasses the fi ve boroughs of New York City, Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, and Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange and Rockland counties. The Society’s mission is to lead in the planning, design and care of both our natural and built environments. While keeping pace with the ever-changing forces of nature and technology, landscape architects increasingly have a profound impact on the way people live, work and play.