#WLAM2016 team member profiles: Angela Hansen and Garrett Gorgen

By: Travis Estvold
22 April 2016

In celebration of World Landscape Architecture Month (#WLAM2016), this week we are profiling team members Angela Hansen and Garrett Gorgon, both hailing from CTA Boise in Idaho. Hansen is a licensed landscape architect and CTA associate with master’s degrees in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning and Management from Kansas State University. Gorgen is an intern at CTA; he holds a BS in Landscape Architecture from the University of Idaho, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from there as well.

DESCRIBE YOUR BACKGROUND/EXPERTISE/SPECIALTY:

  • AH: June marks my 10-year anniversary with CTA. Right out of graduate school, I went to work for South Landscape Architects and then went into higher education, where  I taught Landscape Architecture at North Dakota State University. My specialty? I come from a generation where we were generalists by nature. My interests are in working with communities to leverage their resources for economic development. That comes in a variety of projects, everything from scenic byways to needed infrastructure and facilities. Some use landscape architects to shrub their projects up, yet in reality we have a greater depth of experience and knowledge that we can bring to projects. But I’m not dialed into a single kind of project type. I think I’m extremely versatile in the kinds of projects I take on.
  • GG: I’m originally from Southern California, but lived for two and a half years in New York.

WHAT MIGHT PEOPLE NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU?

  • AH: That I actually have a sense of humor? It’s dry, but I have one! My undergraduate degree [from Boise State University] is in Psychology, a degree I still put to use every day. It comes in handy when working in groups with the public, or when selling a product or service to someone. As for hobbies, I’ll let you know what those might be as soon as I stop working long enough to discover them!
  • GG: I’m a bit of a gamer. I like video games, blackjack, roulette, and board games. I’ve won some money at poker before. And I can say that I’ve actually played — and won — a game of Risk in a single sitting.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

  • AH: I have a diverse array of projects I am currently working on. Everything from  master planning and programming for campus improvements at two USGS research facilities — including the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, WI, and the  Wetland and Aquatic Research Center in Gainesville, FL — to commercial and retail projects like Bish’s RV. The work that is fulfilling to me is when we are the first in the door, like for the USGS, where we are helping to generate ideas and plan improvements during an early phase. The idea that I’m working with groups of people to better their environments and improve their research processes is pretty cool when you consider what these agencies are researching. The outcome of our team’s work for these clients influences all of us, given the research they are conducting is for agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and the NIH.
  • GG: What she said! But I’m also currently working on my master’s thesis, which wraps up next semester. It revolves around local micro-climates, aimed at helping with urban climate change for pedestrian activity. I’d like to improve the pedestrian experience by helping with climate change through looking at natural ecosystems within the Treasure Valley.

WHY IS LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE VITAL?

  • AH: Landscape architects are problem-solvers; we analyze, plan, design, and manage the natural and built environment. Landscape architects play a vital role in addressing environmental problems like climate change because our knowledge and experience allows us to bridge the gap between science and design.
  • GG: Landscape architects are the unsung heroes of a lot of projects. If someone is walking from work to the local bar and enjoying the outside environment, it’s probably thanks to a landscape architect. We’ve done our job correctly if people think all outdoor environments are naturally occurring.

YOU’VE GOT A WEEK TO LIVE AND UNLIMITED FUNDS. WHAT OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENT ARE YOU GOING TO SEEK OUT?

  • AH: There are a million places I’d want to go. But there are some right in our own backyard that are pretty impressive. For sure the Appalachian Trail would be on the list. I’ve always had a curiosity about the connection between the landscape and the people that inhabit the land. The Appalachian Trail crosses nearly 2,200 miles and, because of its location, covers a lot of diverse landscapes and cultures.
  • GG: There was an old oak tree at a cliff side in Tuscany I once visited. I’d go back there, sit under that tree, drink a glass of wine and take in the view. Honestly, I’d probably be comfortable anywhere with a really nice view and a shade tree. And maybe it’s my upbringing, but I really like  urban ambience. I’d also think about going to Tokyo.

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