Trained in the hard sciences, Tao Zhang '08 never imagined that his love for design could play a role in his career. But in SNRE's Landscape Architecture program, one of the nation's few design programs housed within a science school, he found a way to live out his passion for environmental science in a creative way. Here, art and aesthetics are fully integrated with responsible ecology and a deep understanding of human patterns of interaction with the environment.
"To design beautiful public spaces, you need to understand human behaviors while also protecting natural resources," Tao said.
Tao now lives in Boston and works for Sasaki, one of the world's most renowned landscape architecture firms. He recently led the winning team in a competition to design the largest public park in Shanghai, which is now being created.
"An outdoor park is a living, dynamic space that is constantly evolving and driven by natural processes. The design must be considered from the user perspective, but it also must be respectful of and accommodate the natural system it is part of," Tao said.
Tao's science and ecology background, which he honed at SNRE, brings a critical sensibility to his design work. At Sasaki, he strives to make positive changes to the living environment, creating spaces with the sustainability to benefit generations of visitors.