Perspectives: Anne Daigh
MARCH 29, 2019
Anne Daigh is a landscape architect with 18 years of experience in private practice, including 9 leading her own firm. As principal and founder of Daigh Rick Landscape Architects in Nashville, Tennessee, she brings together her passions for art, architecture, and the environment through her design work.
What drew you to landscape architecture?
From early childhood, I had always wanted to be an architect. I was drawing house plans and elevations at the age of 8. An architecture degree wasn’t offered at the University of Georgia, so I settled on art as my major. After a year of art school, I knew I needed to channel my artistic talents in a more specific way – someone suggested I check out landscape architecture. At first, I thought it was a cop-out, but I enrolled in spring quarter classes and instantly knew I had found my calling. It was the greatest decision I ever made. It all seems very fitting looking back on it, as I grew up on a farm and have always appreciated my environment and my surroundings. Landscape architecture has provided a canvas for me to merge all of my talents into one – art, environmental awareness, and architecture. I consider it art on the land.
What is driving you professionally right now?
It is important for me to engage with my clients and make sure that I tell their story through my design. There are so many factors that play into a design – the client’s lifestyle and program, the lay of the land, existing elements on the site, and the architecture of the house. My design is a reflection of all of these factors, which results in a unique design every time. In addition, it is important to overlay my own aesthetic into the design which I cultivate daily. Through my design, I want to create a sense of balance by providing elements that are in stark contrast to one another. For instance, I like to place a structural boxwood next to a very fine texture. It is through experiencing order and chaos, or this push and pull that brings someone a sense of harmony and contentment in a space. At the end of the day, this feeling is what I strive to evoke in my designs, and I am constantly working to hold the space and tension between these two worlds.
What challenges is landscape architecture allowing you to address right now?
I listened to an online continuing education course a few years ago and my main take away was that residential construction was having more of an impact on run-off and stormwater management than largescale commercial projects. This was the first time I had heard this claim, and it has turned out to be very true. Residential design is our main focus, and we are implementing more and more stormwater management practices into our designs. It is important for us to educate our clients and make sure that we design something that is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Most often the residential community considers themselves immune to their effect on the environment, but we have to encourage them and advocate for a better way. Our challenge is to provide adequate stormwater measures on a residential scale and make sure that the design is aesthetically pleasing.
What challenge would you give emerging leaders?
Landscape architects are becoming more and more known today. Having to explain what we do as landscape architects has been a huge part of my job over the last 17 years. I think we’ve all worked hard to get where we are now! I think it’s important that future landscape architects really try to integrate structures with the land and also create landscapes that are natural and not contrived. It is our job to fully immerse ourselves into our work and honor mother nature. When in doubt, look to nature to guide us and be creative! Understand that we are stewards of the land, and its future lies in our hands!
Where do you think the profession needs to go from here?
As I mentioned, the field of landscape architecture is on the rise. We are becoming more and more recognized, respected, and established as a profession. I think we are in a good position to change the mindset that architects are the most important members on a design team. When it comes to design teams, I hope that landscape architects can become the top of the pyramid, leaders that the rest of the team looks to for guidance and the rest of the team follows suit, as I think good design must be thought about holistically. It seems that landscape architects hold that right, and we can be at the forefront, creating and building projects that are sensitive to the site and are integrated with nature. No matter if the project is large or small, we as landscape architects have a duty to lead the charge in creating thoughtful, beautiful, and functional spaces while also protecting the environment and paying homage to mother nature!
LAF's Perspectives interview series showcases landscape architects from diverse backgrounds discussing how they came to the profession and where they see it heading. Any opinions expressed in this interview belong solely to the author. Their inclusion in this article does not reflect endorsement by LAF.