We’re hiring! Think you’d be a good fit for our team? Visit our careers page for open positions.
Michael sits on some stairs in an alpine meadow. There is a mountain in the background, they sky is bright blue, and the grass is green. The steps are inscribed with a quote by the naturalist John Muir.

Firm Culture

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

Hi there!

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.

Michael plays with his three nephews under a large tree in a park. It is winter and the tree has no leaves.
Tree Arms with Nephews

Fun with trees (Katsura to be exact) at Morris Arboretum in Philly.

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.

Michael poses in front of a colorful outdoor mural. The mural is mostly green and painted with plants, flowers, and other natural looking shapes, except for a large dog painted above Michael's head.
Dog Security

Enjoying the many murals the City of Portland has to offer.

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!

Michael and his wife pose on the beach with Seattle in the background.
West Seattle

Enjoying Alki on a perfect Seattle August day (sans wildfire smoke).

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.

Michael snuggles his bunny. He's wearing a hat and grey sweatshirt. The bunny looks very soft and is also grey.
Super Fuzz

Hugging our skeptical lop rescue, Bear a.k.a. “Cakes.”

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.

Would you like to read more from the team?

If you enjoy reading our blog as much as we enjoy writing it, that just makes our day! You might also enjoy a few of the related posts below. And, if there is a topic that you wish we would cover, let us know!

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.

Introducing, Mira Mui!

Say hello to Mira Mui, joining Board & Vellum’s Multifamily team. The choice to become an architect was pivotal for Mira and led to her love of sustainable design and building reuse. She loves Christmas, renovating the family cabin in Central Washington, and volunteering in her community. She dreams of one day traveling the world with her family.

Introducing, Tom Walker!

Meet Tom Walker, Board & Vellum’s newest Site Design team member. Tom’s been building, drawing, and designing for as long as he can remember, inspired by the times he shared with his parents camping and gardening. Outside of work, Tom still loves to spend time in the great outdoors and is a passionate advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion in his faith community.

Considering a project? Or, just curious about something?

Send us your questions about design, architecture, interiors, landscape, third places, LEGO rooms… Anything, really. We’re always eager to meet new people, and we’d love to get to know you, your project, and your goals.

Get in touch.