Jill Primak provided a unique perspective to the many paths that landscape architects can pursue. However, I did not expect to talk with someone who deals exclusively with one type of design. While many of the landscape architects we have talked to do many types of landscape design, how Primak deals with only playscapes demonstrates how a singular focus can yield a multitude of results and rewards.
Although she worked in a traditional landscape architecture firm, the stress of the firm coupled with her mood disorder did not foster a healthy environment for her. After moving back home to Nebraska, she connected with Nature Explore in a serendipitous transition. As she stated, her lack of knowledge about playscapes was intimidating at first, but over time she adapted to the complexities of designing playscapes. This was particularly encouraging to hear because as many entry-level designers enter the work field, there is trepidation about not being equipped with the necessary skills. Therefore, hearing her admit to the her initial lack of knowledge put to rest some of my anxiety as I begin my summer internship. All the challenges that Nature Explore face, such as regulations with safety and risk, making conceptual designs very clear in order to mitigate risk, and keeping the fluidity of design by doing conceptual designs via the analog requires a patience and attention to detail that is not practiced in all design.
Although her path in landscape architecture may not be as sexy as some of the work done in New York or Boston firms, the quality of work and clients that Primak and Nature Explore cater to are just as important and necessary.