Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Julie Kachniasz received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and now appreciates the dynamic city of Chicago. After speaking with faculty members about IIT’s Landscape Architecture Program, her decision to attend IIT was an easy one.
“IIT’s program benefits from its location in Chicago—a city with a vibrant park system—and especially from professors who are deeply committed to forwarding the influence of landscape architects,” says Kachniasz, who finds urban environments to be especially motivating.
Several of her lecture and studio courses have allowed her to further develop her urban interests. In one lecture course, she looked at the role of urban agriculture in both creating a more sustainable food system and restoring communities. “Collaborating with other students on the design of an urban garden for an interim housing program illustrated the opportunity landscape architects have to influence positive change in multiple ways—socially, environmentally, and aesthetically,” she says.
In a memorable studio course, Kachniasz and her fellow students spent two weeks in Europe, meeting with prominent landscape architects. A highlight of the trip was a three-day charette, an intense period of design activity, at Insel Hombrich, a landscape park/art museum in western Germany, where the group engaged in design discussions, sketching activities, and periods of observation.
“I’m excited by projects that inspire reflection and foster community be rethinking existing infrastructure,” says Kachniasz. “I love the potential good landscape architecture has to revive neighborhoods. A thoughtful, well-designed park brings people together and makes us look anew at our environment.”