EDSA | Then and Now | Lianying Wang

Then & Now

Previous interns – now employees, share their perspectives, advice and insights about all things landscape architecture and their experiences with EDSA.

Lianying was an EDSA intern in 2007 while pursuing her master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Minnesota. Upon graduation, she left the firm briefly, later to rejoin our team as a designer in the Baltimore office. A hardworking, dedicated leader, she was promoted to Principal in 2020 and now oversees efforts within the Asia Pacific region alongside two of her colleagues. We were recently able to catch up with Lian to get her perspective on the industry and her time thus far with the team.

Q: What is your design philosophy?

A: My philosophy is really driven by the idea of placemaking. It’s always built the foundation of who we are as a firm as we continue to emphasize the importance of designing spaces that connect users to surrounding cultures and climates. Design, at its core, is about making memories. So, it doesn’t matter if we’re doing large scale master plan or a small streetscape – when you design with placemaking in mind you’re able to define a sense of place and enhance a community’s quality of life. The most rewarding part of this process is not only getting beautiful projects built but knowing that they will be sustainable and functional for the long term.

Q: What advice would you give to those looking to advance within the profession?

A: I would tell designers to remain curious and continue challenging themselves by working on projects of various scopes and scales. At EDSA, we provide our employees with opportunities to bridge outside of their comfort zones, which may be scary at first, but will be worth it in the long run. Take it from me – each experience will only make you a better designer!

Q: Who is your mentor and why?

A: I would say Rich Centolella, a Principal and Senior Partner at the firm. Over the years, he has given me many opportunities to challenge myself and become a better leader and designer. We’ve traveled a lot together, working all over the world, which included many projects in China. During those explorations, we participated in countless workshops together and I learned so much about the industry. Everything from being a better design professional to communicating with clients and partners: he has been a consistent role model for me.

Q: What is your favorite EDSA project?

A: I think Crosswaters Ecolodge in Huizhou, China, is one of my favorites. Designed almost 20 years ago, it was a pioneering project of sustainability and is still considered to be a great example of resilient design within the hospitality sphere. From concept through implementation, every detail and design decision was completely intentional to build the strongest narrative possible while remaining respectful to the land.

I’m always proud to show this as an example of EDSA’s work for its placemaking attributes and use of local materials. It’s a great representation of our style, the quality we bring to our projects and our design philosophy. Not to mention, it’s won a few awards which includes an ASLA award of honor in the planning and analysis category.

Q: When you think about your time at EDSA thus far, what’s one word that comes to mind and why?

A: I would say creativity, which is something that continues to drive EDSA forward. The imagination of our designers and the expertise they bring to the table is inspiring and also the reason we remain competitive and on-top of our game within the industry.

That said, I’m just proud to be a part of this team, and I’m proud of the unique culture we have been able to cultivate here. As an EDSA intern that went on to work for a few different companies before coming back, I can honestly say that there is no company like ours. How our team collaborates, how we help each other and how we share insights with one another – it’s something super special.