Rising Stars: Fully Grounded

Shauna Gillies-Smith, principal of Somerville-based landscape architecture firm Ground, explains why cities deserve to be more than concrete jungles.

BH: Tell us about the 1-acre Parc Nouvelle roof above the Natick Collection that you designed while at Martha Schwartz.
SGS: The developer for the project was a former architect and wanted the roof to be a park — the major amenity — for the condos above the mall. We created a graphic pattern out of sedum and river stone to blanket the rooftop, and then laid down a boardwalk of recycled wood. There are also stone sculptures and putting greens.

BH: You’re a former competitive cyclist. Do you still ride?
SGS: Racing, even at an amateur level, and being a designer are very difficult identities to juggle. I try to commute to work via bike, but it doesn’t happen every day. I think that’s a good lesson: Always try to become a little more green — ride to work when you can — instead of making it an all-or-nothing proposition that’s doomed to fail.