Weitzman News

Posted December 22, 2016

Talking Design with Lisa Switkin (MLA'02)

Alumna Lisa Switkin is a Senior Principal at Field Operations. She came to PennDesign after working at Abel Bainnson Butz, a landscape architecture firm in New York City, where she worked on the first phase of the Hudson River Park.

Favorite book or movie about art/design?

John Brinckerhoff Jackson’s A Sense of Place, A Sense of Time

If you could go backward or forward in time, what era would you choose and why?

The Future, 2100 and beyond. As a child I was obsessed with cities in outer space, endlessly stimulated by the possibilities of the unknown. I was constantly drawing wild ideas for self-sustaining cities floating in the universe. The global issues confronting our generation and future generations today are incredibly daunting, but they also offer immense opportunities and are a call to action. I’d like to jump forward in time to see how we respond as a civilization. In the future, I could be an explorer—an explorer of new cultures, new materials, new currency, new ecologies, and new worlds.

What do you miss most about your time at PennDesign?

The energy of the studio environment, the library, and the constant exposure to new ideas and interesting people.

What was your longest day on campus?

A double all-nighter before my Studio II mid-year review.

What’s been your favorite professional project so far?

It is hard to name just one. The High Line, Tongva Park, and the Race Street Pier were three projects I had the opportunity to work on from concept to construction that defined my early career – so they will always be special to me.

What’s your favorite place in Philly?

The Rodin Museum

Design hero, living or dead?

Roberto Burle Marx

Pretzel or cheesesteak?

Pretzel