SWA, a leading landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm, has announced that current President Gerdo Aquino, FASLA, has been elevated to the position of CEO and Houston Managing Principal Kinder Baumgardner, ASLA, is named president. Former CEO Kevin Shanley, FASLA, directed the leadership transition and remains a member of the SWA Board of Directors. All three continue to drive client projects locally and internationally, following SWA’s strategy of sharing management duties among working partners.
Aquino, managing principal and former president of SWA, is an active designer based out of the Los Angeles studio of SWA alongside Managing Principal Ying-Yu Hung, ASLA, with current major projects in Los Angeles, Shanghai, El Paso and Vietnam. A longtime educator, Aquino recently concluded his role as adjunct associate professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Southern California and this past fall led an urban design/landscape architecture studio at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design together with Hung. A graduate of the University of Florida with a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Aquino has lectured extensively throughout the world and has been a keynote speaker for symposiums focused on infrastructure and open space systems. He was named a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2013.
SWA’s Los Angeles office has been honored recently with a 2012 ASLA Southern California Chapter Award of Excellence for a new pedestrian promenade in Shanghai and a 2012 ASLA National Honor Award in Communications for Aquino’s book, “Landscape Infrastructure: Case Studies by SWA,” an extensive collection of essays and case studies focused on the repurposing of under-utilized corridors to improve quality of life in dense urban areas.
Baumgardner has led the Houston office as managing principal since 2010. His recent work in the United States includes re-envisioning Downtown Houston’s Interstate 45 corridor as a new public space, urban design for Fort Wayne’s River District, and a new regional park along the City of Austin’s Onion Creek. Internationally, Baumgardner’s work includes a city-scale waterfront in Dubai that will become the region’s new financial hub, a Four Seasons Resort on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, and a cultural park in Qatar.
A graduate of Louisiana State University, Baumgardner is active in the Landscape Architecture Foundation and is a regular speaker at national conferences of the ASLA. His advocacy for rethinking American infrastructural systems resulted in an internationally recognized proposal for creating a bike trail along the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The Houston office has earned numerous awards over the years, including international and local honors. The team recently received what is believed to be a first award of its kind for a U.S. firm: a coveted National First Prize Award from the China Exploration & Design Association, for a 15-km waterfront habitat, public park and multi-use corridor. Baumgardner’s team recently won a National ASLA Honor Award for The Museum of Freeway Art in Atlanta. Over the past year the Texas ASLA has given Honor awards to the Houston office's Cross Creek Ranch master-planned community in Fulshear, Texas; the Rosemount Bridge over Buffalo Bayou; the Airline Market Mile plan; and Coastal Resilience, a collaborative effort of public and private entities to plan for storm and sea-rise impact on the Gulf Coast.
Lu Gay Lanier, FASLA, has been named associate with Timmons Group in Richmond, Virginia. She has been with the firm for more than 10 years and directs the emerging landscape architecture practice. As an environmental scientist and licensed landscape architect with a specialty in comprehensive stormwater management, Lanier has managed award-winning projects from large conservation areas to federal headquarters and data centers, to corporate headquarters. From site layouts, design, and preservation to stormwater harvesting and xeriscaping, Lanier integrates economic, environmental, community involvement, and social responsibility into each design project.