Introducing, Michael Lipko!
Help us welcome Michael Lipko, the newest addition to Board & Vellum’s Site Design team. One visit to the Landscape Architecture studio in college and he never looked back! For him, it’s the perfect combination of art, science, nature, and plants. Michael spends his free time with his wife and bunnies and loves to explore the great outdoors.
March 4, 2021
My name is Mike or Michael. I present and answer as either, probably because since I was a ‘youngin’ growing up in southern New Jersey, my family and friends routinely used both. Many of the fond memories I had as a child were playing in the nearby remnant woods, challenging my friends to climb the tallest trees, building just about anything we could with sticks and tree branches, heedful of the many plants, animals, and insects around me and appreciative of the overall forest structure and how unique it felt spatially compared to our homes, streetscapes and built communities. Most of all, I enjoyed the four distinct seasons and all the visceral experiences you could have throughout the year simply by going outside.
My interest in art (and nature) led me to major in Fine and Graphic Arts when I entered university. But it wasn’t long before I discovered landscape architecture. Art students like me were encouraged to live on any campus of our choice at Rutgers, and I happened to choose the land grant campus where the LA students lived and studied. Probably because, in hindsight, it was lush green and full of mature trees. And, after repeatedly hearing about this major from friends and acquaintances, I decided to visit their campus studio one fall afternoon. Upon inquisitively studying the student projects pinned up in the atrium, I quickly decided to switch my major and I never looked back.
But, I still love art. And science! And nature! Did I mention plants? And landscape architecture is the ideal vehicle for all three. It really is a synergy of design for our built environments and how humans can interact within it, around it, and most of all, feel it. It allows our imaginations, guided by our client’s sublime dreams, to become a reality. And that is rewarding!
This journey I started in my youth has guided me into this profession, which at times seems like by accident or perhaps coincidence. This brings me to Board & Vellum. Before joining the team, I’ve had the time and opportunity to work at several esteemed design firms, on both coasts, on a range of project typologies, from urban streetscapes to residential backyards, to an outdoor live performance venue at the original site of Woodstock, to a public park in downtown Bellevue. And in all those in-depth professional experiences so far, I found that B&V has that just right ‘Goldilocks’ blend of design, integration, collaboration, culture, and client care. They value professional fun. And it shows.
Fun outside the office (and home office) typically involves spending time with my wife and two bunnies, shepherding my sourdough starter, and visiting one of Seattle’s unique neighborhoods, by bike or foot, searching for tasty cuisine or beverage. The pandemic has dampened that a bit, so I’ve taken a cue from my childhood and regularly head back into the woods (only at a much grander scale) to enjoy the vast outdoors that this abundant state and region has to offer. I look forward to seeing you out on the trail, the street, or meeting you to discuss your project.