Heather Corcoran is a Master of Landscape Architecture candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. Her interests include the Design Justice movement; the regenerative, soil-building power of plants; and proactive landscape design strategies for climate change.
A graduate of New York University with degrees in Journalism and Art History, Heather’s path to landscape architecture stems from her work as a writer and editor for publications including Dwell, Architectural Record, and The New York Times—conversations through which she discovered the field’s potential to create beautiful, functional spaces that serve both people and ecological systems.
When not partaking in the UTSOA community through her work at the Center for American Architecture and Design, and roles in the school’s Student ASLA Chapter and CODE (Committee for Diversity + Equity), Heather can be found filling her sketchbook as she explores Texas’ natural beauty.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
One of my favorite things about design is that curiosity is basically part of the job description—for me, that means soaking up inspiration in all its forms, whether I’m checking out details and materials in the places I visit or letting my eye wander through fashion, art, and film. As someone in the early stages of my design career, I’m constantly inspired by the ways more experienced designers approach their work and identify opportunities.
If you could work on an project anywhere in the world where would it be?
Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about the complex dynamics of river deltas, eco- and social systems that are at the front lines of climate change. I’m interested in the ways landscape architecture can be utilized to protect and restore these crucial wetland habitats while preparing coastal communities for the next century.
If you had a superpower to make a bigger impact on communities/ cities/ or environments what superpower would you have?
I’m realizing that communication is a superpower that all designers can access. By actively listening and using our storytelling skills to share information, we can facilitate better outcomes for communities and ecosystems by making connections and helping people understand one another.