Designing Tomorrow's Landscapes: Landscape Architecture student Catherine Yan | Ontario Agricultural College

Designing Tomorrow's Landscapes: Landscape Architecture student Catherine Yan

Posted on Thursday, January 11th, 2024

Landscape Architecture student Catherine Yan sitting and posing for the camera
Landscape Architecture student Catherine (Jiaxin) Yan

Catherine (Jiaxin) Yan, a Toronto native and Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) student at the University of Guelph, shares insights into her passion for landscape architecture and photography. In this Q&A, Catherine discusses the diverse and expansive nature of landscape architecture, emphasizing the continuous learning journey it offers. 

Name: Catherine (Jiaxin) Yan
Program: Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario 
Passionate about: Photography 

Why are you passionate about studying Landscape Architecture?

"One thing that I will always love about landscape architecture is the never-ending learning journey that I will go through no matter where this career takes me. Landscape architecture is an extremely broad discipline, and I am still trying to figure out where my specific passion lies within it but knowing that this journey will always teach me new things keeps me wanting more! "

What are you passionate about?

"Photography is one of my passions as I have always been fond of capturing memories with a camera because it encourages me to notice and appreciate the small things in the environment. Just a fun little add on, I love anything matcha flavoured because it tastes good and looks pretty, so the best of both worlds!"

Why did you choose U of G?  

"One of the most important things that I have learned through BLA is the practical knowledge that many of my LARC courses have covered in the past two years. Things like site analysis, concept design development, and construction documentation were extremely valued when I interned over the summer. In addition to the hard skills, soft skills like time management, leadership, and organization are often practiced as we have a very project-based course structure.

My summer internship was with NAK Design Strategies in Toronto, a landscape architecture and urban design firm that has a diverse portfolio of work in GTA and Canada. As an intern I participated in a wide variety of work including pre-design, schematic design, and construction documentation of projects through developing rendered masterplans, CAD baseplans, and prepared for client review presentations! These are things that the program prepared me for and that in turn allowed me to focus on learning and acquiring new knowledge.

After BLA, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in landscape architecture or in an adjacent field such as urban design or urban planning. "

Landscape Architecture student Catherine Yan smiling for the camera while seated next to the Landscape Architecture building sign.

What is your most memorable experience you've had at U of G?

"I had the chance to go to LABash back in March of 2023. LABash it is an annual student-run landscape architecture conference that takes place at a North American post-secondary institution with a BLA and/or MLA program. It was hosted in March at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas and I had the privilege of travelling down with two of my peers thanks to the travel grants from the University and our sponsor Maglin Site Furnishings. During our time there, we met other landscape architecture students across the North America, and we connected with the 2024 LABash host from UC Davis and that had prompted one of my peers to apply for LABash to be held here in Guelph in 2025! "

What aspect of your exchange to Singapore are you looking forward to the most?

"It would definitely be traveling back to Asia! Prior to permanently living in Toronto, I travelled back and forth between Canada and China up until 2013. The last time I visited Asia was back in 2014 and I am very excited to travel and learn about the different cultures. As well, going on exchange through the lens of a landscape architecture student will enrich my experience as Asia is the birthplace of many landscape architecture practices and principles. "

What advice do you have for prospective students considering this program?

"One piece of advice I would give to every prospective student considering BLA is to conduct extensive research on the profession of landscape architecture, why it is so important for them, and what they appreciate about it. It is a huge commitment on your time and efforts after you join the program. If you enjoy the outdoors and learning about landscape architecture, I think you will find this journey rewarding and fulfilling! "

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