Shelley Sparks [shelleysparks]
What is your specialization in architecture?
I specialize in landscape architecture, designing everything outside including hardscape, planting, overhead structures, outdoor kitchens, landscape lighting, pools, spas and irrigation.
Is there a web page or blog where one could see something of your work?
My website is www.harmonygardens.net. My portfolio and many of my how to videos are there.
What is it for you a good architectural design?
A good architectural design for the outdoors is one that engages the people living and working there. It is one that they love and want to support by working the land.
What era of architecture most fascinates you?
I think if I could go back in time, I would love to be a part of Chinese garden design when scholar's gardens were being designed so that I could get the nuances that I may miss now. Since there are no writings about this period, we can only guess about the ideas that have so influenced even our modern gardens.
List the name of a famous building which you don't care for.
Gardens of Versailles. Who can say anything bad about any garden but this is one that isn't to my liking. It is too contrived and clipped for my taste.
What hardware and software do you use that you deem as indispensable?
Hardware- Computer. It is essential these days in explaining anything to a client. There are many different software programs that I deem indispensable.
In which city do you live or work and why?
Los Angeles is my home. It is paradise on earth here. I can go anywhere in the world and see my plant friends because such a variety of life grows here.
Do you work with other architects? How is the team set up?
I work mostly with other disciplines. I work with architects, designers, interior designers, civil engineers, structural engineers, irrigation specialists and lighting specialists. The teams are usually assembled by the architect but sometimes I do that.
What do you think of competitions? What types of competitions do you normally compete in?
I don't normally compete in competitions.
Mantaining the signature of a building, how is the identity of the surroundings respected?
Whenever I work with garden design I am constantly reading the architecture and the neighborhood to be sure that what is done is consistent and appropriate in context.
Which architects, past or present, do you admire?
Fredrick Law Olmstead, Ian McHarg, Roberto Burle Marx, Lawrence Halpern, Martha Schwartz
In your professional philosophy, what comes first, function or form?
Function comes first for me because I am building spaces for people and if they are not usable it doesn't matter what form they take- it will be useless.
Do you view suburban sprawl as an ecological threat and a waste of resources? Do you advocate for more vertical and denser town planning?
I would like to see denser town planning ideologically but since I wouldn't want to live there, I wouldn't advocate for it.
What will the single-family home of 2050 be like?
My hope is that it will be more ecologically friendly and be an experience that will support the humans that inhabit it.
For you, which new materials provoke the most interest?
The plant industry is always introducing wonderful plants from other regions. I love the diversity that we can introduce into our gardens.
Los Angeles-United States