Novedge: Tell us about yourself and your role at urban edge studio
Bill Eubanks: I am a landscape architect with a little over 30 years of experience, which is really hard to believe because I feel like I am still learning. I am the Creative Director at urban edge studio. This is supposed to free me up to mostly design and not manage projects. It works better on some days more than others. I love public meetings, public workshops and the energy of a design charrette. It was a super cool day for me when I became a Fellow of ASLA.
Novedge: What drew you to work with the public rather the private space as an landscape architect?
Bill Eubanks: Actually, we do a lot of both. I prefer public work, though, because it benefits and affects so many people. I also love the public process. But some private work can be really rewarding and oftentimes the private sector has a huge impact on the public realm.
Novedge: There are four fun videos on Vimeo around the issues of walkability, community, frontage, land use and traffic. Can you explain your studio’s approach to them?
Bill Eubanks: I think we place a lot of emphasis on the public realm — especially streets. This includes how architecture addresses the street and helps form the public realm. It includes how a pedestrian feels on that street. However, we do very little traditional streetscape kind of work. We prefer to get them right the first time. While we avoid “isms” for the most part most of our work boils down to what I would consider form based not because it’s a trend but because it works and makes sense.
Novedge: What software do you use?
Bill Eubanks: Our favorite software is our brain. We try to use that the most. Daily if we can. We use lots of trash and sharpies. Markers are still part of our world. When we do go digital, we use Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, SketchUp, and AutoCAD. We also abuse things like Excel to do things that are very graphic – not just spreadsheets.
Novedge: What is it like to work at urban edge studio? What do you look for in an intern and/or an employee?
Bill Eubanks: We work hard but we try to keep balance in our lives. We have fun. We joke around a lot. We also collaborate constantly. It’s like breathing for us. Our studio is open, literally and figuratively. We are highly creative and that sneaks out in all kinds of ways. Right now we are listening to the new Sunvolt album, Honky Tonk. We listen to a lot of music. We don’t really like cheap beer. Ever. Pretty much, if an intern can hang in that kind of environment and has the ability to make us laugh and to make us think, they will fit in just fine.
Novedge: As a small studio, what has been most important in developing and growing a successful practice?
Bill Eubanks: I think consistency in who we are and what we do is so important. We have a reputation to maintain, whether we like it or not. And we live and die by that reputation. So, integrity, ethics, creativity, and professionalism are key to our existence, every day.
Novedge: What innovations do you find most exciting in your field?
Bill Eubanks: Urban agriculture, eliminating food deserts, introducing green infrastructure, embracing urbanity, density, walkability, complete streets, repairing sprawl. These are some of the things we talk about and try to embrace in our practice.
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