Clara Kwon is the Principal Landscape Architect of Stand Landscape Architecture LLC. She founded the practice to articulate and facilitate the creation of beautiful, regenerative landscapes that support community, ecology and economy. She sees the human, natural and financial realms as interconnected flows of energy that can be designed to help and sustain each other. Clara’s experiences of landscape shape her design sensibility and philosophy. She was born and raised in the suburban periphery of Toronto, inspired by hometown hero Jane Jacobs and a city life of walkable mixed-use neighborhoods. Growing up in one of the world’s most multicultural and sustainable cities, she learned how diversity and ecologically-sensitive public realm design could support greater social and economic harmony.
She learned her craft by working for some of the leading landscape architects in North America including DTAH in Toronto - Canada's premier office of urbanism - and Ken Smith Workshop - of MoMA roof garden fame - in New York. Over the course of ten years, she refined her skills in design visioning, innovative research and materials design and construction management. Notable projects include a $1B LEED Gold headquarters for CSEC (Canada’s equivalent of the US NSA), the East River Waterfront Esplanade in Lower Manhattan and a natural play space with integrated stormwater management for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. She was project manager for a ground-breaking study on best practices for tree planting in Toronto’s sidewalks, working with James Urban, the expert on urban street trees. This Best Practices Manual was awarded the 2014 National Award of Excellence by the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) and Clara presented the research at the CSLA national conference on climate change that year.
Beyond her professional experience, Clara is constantly seeking new sources of inspiration through volunteer work and courses in permaculture, mycoremediation, biodynamic farming and native plants. She is passionate about improving tree canopy coverage, soils and water quality and is a member of the City of Atlanta Tree Conservation Commission and a volunteer educator with the Trees Atlanta Urban Tree Tracker schools program. She is also leading the Play BuHi program area of We Love BuHi, a community organization dedicated to supporting a livable, inclusive and sustainable Buford Highway. In 2009, she was selected to participate in an architecture residency in 2009 at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada’s Rocky Mountains.