Director of Landscape Architecture | ASLA
“The most satisfying projects for me are the ones where I can help someone create a meaningful place that becomes part of their life story.”
Director of Landscape Architecture Michelle Arab believes in the lasting influence of stories. For her, landscapes contain layer upon layer of narratives accumulated over time. In her work, Michelle seeks to unearth these stories and express them deliberately and evocatively through her designs. Since earning her dual Master of Landscape Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees from University of Pennsylvania, Michelle has been captivated by the way landscape design can influence how we move through environments and the stories that unfold there. Michelle understands the importance of letting her landscape designs evolve over time; she is most interested in setting the stage for stories to unfold within her designs. “The most satisfying projects for me,” Michelle notes, “are the ones where I can help someone create a meaningful place – a place that becomes part of their life story.”
Before joining Olson Kundig in 2016, Michelle collaborated with the firm for over ten years on projects ranging from large private residences to hospitality projects and college campus expansions. She has also worked on several large-scale museum projects while with Charles Anderson Landscape Architecture, including the gardens of Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park and the expansion of the Anchorage Museum in Alaska. In these works and in her commercial and residential landscapes – many of which incorporate artworks – Michelle seeks to create beautiful places through the artful integration of nature and the built environment.
No matter the scale or location of her projects, Michelle enjoys investigating every angle of a site, from its natural and cultural history to wildlife patterns and folklore. What results are provocative and rich designs that connect to the immediate context of a site, and to the larger scale of human history.