meet the studio
Mary Tremain, Partner
B.ES, B.Arch, LEED AP, ASLA (Affil)
Born in New Zealand, Mary studied, worked, and travelled in the United Kingdom, France, India, Southeast Asia, and mainland China, graduating from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in 1986. She worked with Cook, Hitchcock and Sargisson in Auckland, YRM Architects in London, and Arthur Erickson in Toronto, before founding PLANT Architect in 1995.
Mary’s global perspective has informed her unique approach to the integration of architecture and landscape, demonstrated by such award-winning projects as the national Canadian Firefighters Memorial in Ottawa, Pottery Road Bicycle and Pedestrian Crossing in Toronto, and Nathan Phillips Square Podium Roof Garden at Toronto City Hall. In addition to her public realm work, Mary’s private residential architecture and interior design projects – which include Westminster Residence, Walmer Road Residence, and Birch Island Cottage – emphasize her use of natural materials and vernacular form, dramatic wood-frame construction, custom detailing, and an essential integration of indoor and outdoor spaces.
In 2012, Mary was awarded the Team Alumni Achievement Medal from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo. She has led architecture studios at the University of Toronto and the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Chris Pommer, Partner
B.ES, B.Arch, MRAIC, LEED AP
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Chris grew up with an appreciative and discerning eye for the subtleties of flat land and small details. He graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in 1988, worked for ten years with Ferguson Ferguson Architects on a wide range of projects, and spent four years working on type, book, exhibition, and identity design with Bruce Mau Design before concentrating his focus on PLANT. In addition to the firm’s architectural practice, Chris is responsible for developing the typographic and graphic design components of the firm’s architecture and landscape projects, including the type and integrated graphics for such award-winning projects as the national Canadian Firefighters Memorial in Ottawa, Pottery Road Bicycle and Pedestrian Crossing in Toronto, and the Dublin Grounds of Remembrance in Ohio. Since 2007 he has been partner-in-charge of the Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization at Toronto City Hall.
Chris has taught and lectured at the University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, University of Manitoba, Ryerson University, and at IIT in Chicago. Chris’ engagement in the arts has led him to serve on numerous panels and committees including the Illustrationism conference in Toronto, Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, and Revell Helsinki Toronto symposium. In 2012, Chris received the Team Alumni Achievement Medal from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He is a former Executive Board Member of the Toronto Society of Architects, and presently sits on the Toronto Public Art Commission.
Lisa Rapoport, Partner
B.ES, B.Arch, OAA, FRAIC, LEED AP
Hailing from Montréal, Québec, Lisa graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in 1988. She worked as an Associate with Susan Speigel Architects after working with Brown & Storey Architects, Dermot J. Sweeny Architect, and Quadrangle Architects and before founding PLANT Architect in 1995. Recognized for her passionate and rigorous approach to architecture, and for her exploration of the relationship between architecture, landscape, and the public realm, Lisa brings a strong conceptual vision to the firm’s site planning and building projects. She has led such award-winning projects as Liza’s Garden at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Dublin Grounds of Remembrance in Ohio.
Lisa served as Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo for nearly ten years, and has led studios at the University of Toronto and the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. She was also a founding Board Member of the Harbourfront Architecture Gallery in Toronto. In 2013, Lisa was named a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. She earned the Team Alumni Achievement Medal from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo in 2012.
Lisa Dietrich, Associate
Architecture Dipl. Ing. Architektur (FH)
A native of Marburg, Germany, Lisa studied architecture at the HafenCity University in Hamburg, with her thesis focusing on Toronto’s PATH system. Now based in Toronto, Lisa explores themes of “urban mapping”, and has hosted guided tours of the city’s walkway systems and architectural landmarks on behalf of the Toronto Society of Architects and Jane’s Walk. Through her architectural research and practice, she highlights and documents the differences between American and European building technologies, urban planning strategies, and design.
As Associate, Lisa acts a technical resource and manages such commercial and institutional projects as the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, as well as residential renovations, additions and interiors including Westminster Residence and Tree House. Lisa is currently overseeing the Contract Administration for the Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization at Toronto City Hall. In 2011, Lisa’s project Verotung placed first in the Junge Architekten Zeichnen competition, earning her a Fellowship Grant. Her research and drawings have been published in On Site Review, Spacing, and Stadtaspekte.
Eric Klaver, Senior Landscape Architect
Eric joined PLANT Architect in 2013 to lead the firm’s team of landscape architects. Known for his thoughtful and sustainable landscape designs that celebrate local culture, and having cultivated a focused interest in the ways art, science, nature, and culture intersect with designed environments, Eric specializes in the design of regional-scale projects including college courtyards, rooftop gardens, and urban plazas, as well as larger-scale projects such as watersheds and ecosystems.
Eric is a former Associate and Senior Landscape Architect of Moriyama & Teshima Planners where he managed such projects as the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, The Science and Research Building at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and the Calgary RiverWalk and East Village Streetscape in Alberta. He has also served as Partner of Elysium Structures + Landforms, and as Sole Proprietor of TRACT Landscapes. During his time at Moriyama & Teshima Planners, Eric’s team won two Governor General’s Medals in Architecture for their design of The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat and Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. He graduated from Ryerson Polytechnic University in 1994.
Lauren Barhydt, Architectural Designer
H.BAS, M.Arch, OAA Intern
Lauren earned her Masters of Architecture from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. She specializes in sustainable design, with a focus on integrating high-and low-tech strategies such as responsive envelopes that actively manage passive heating and cooling, and interactive feedback systems that help building inhabitants meet their sustainability goals. Prior to joining PLANT Architect in 2011, Lauren worked in Canada and the United Kingdom with Quadrangle Architects, Kassner Goodspeed Architects, and McAdam Design. She also served as Project Manager of North House, a prefabricated solar-powered home for northern climates, designed collaboratively by the University of Waterloo, Ryerson University, and Simon Fraser University. At PLANT Architect, Lauren has managed private and multi-use residential projects including Brunswick Avenue Residence and Avenue Road Condo Conversion, commercial projects such as Whitney Block Office Renovations, and developed the design of the pavilions at the East Point Park Bird Sanctuary in Toronto. In 2010, Lauren and her Team North colleagues won an OAA Award for Design Excellence, and ARCHITECT magazine’s R+D Award.
Cleo Buster, Architectural Designer
H.BA, M.Arch, OAA Intern
Originally from the United States, Cleo completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. After travelling across Russia and Mongolia and working in the UK, she earned her Master of Architecture from the University of Toronto. Cleo worked with Levitt Goodman Architects, architectsAlliance, and WORKshop Inc. where she worked on the graphic design of several publications including 80 Bloor Street West (2011) and the first NCKU Architecture International Workshop Book, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan (2012). Since joining PLANT Architect in 2013, Cleo has been an integral member of the design team for commercial and institutional projects including Aporia Records Office Renovations and Block 22 Condominium.
In 2013, Cleo participated in the exhibitions GROW OP: Exploring Landscape & Place at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, and BE PREPARED: Architecture Responds to Disaster at the Harbourfront Centre. Her work has been featured in The Living, Breathing, Thinking, Responsive Buildings of the Future, published by Thames & Hudson, UK (2012). In addition to being the 2009 recipient of the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction Ontario Region Fellowship and the 2011 recipient of the Harry B. Kohl Award, Cleo won first place in the Brunswick-College Parkette Design Competition in Toronto and was a semi-finalist for ONE PRIZE in New York, in 2010.
Jason van der Burg, Architectural Designer
Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Jason grew up in the Netherlands, Niger, Rwanda, Honduras, and ultimately Canada. His appreciation of diverse cultures and unique environments led him to study Environmental Design at the University of British Columbia. After completing his degree at UBC, he went on to earn his Master of Architecture from the University of Toronto where he developed a special interest in the architectural integration of graphics and digital media. In 2008, Jason co-founded Urbanworm Design, a Toronto-based studio committed to engaging local communities, coordinating professional commissions, and supporting self-driven experiments in collaboration with such firms as Daniel Evan White Architect and V6B Design Group. After working with PLANT Architect as a student for nearly two years, Jason joined the studio as Architectural Designer in 2013. He has been a key member of the firm’s design team for such projects as Block 22 Condominium, East Point Park Bird Sanctuary, and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Healing Garden. A participant in Sukkahville 2013, Jason and his team won the 2013 People’s Choice Award for their entry SpiralSukkah.
Patricia Joong, Architect
B.Sc. (Arch.), M.Arch., OAA
Patricia aspires to shape the world through socially responsible and environmentally conscious design. She completed her Bachelor of Architecture at McGill University in Montreal in 2006 and earned her Master of Architecture at McGill in 2008. In addition to working as an Intern Architect at the Toronto firms of Kregg Fordyce Architects+Planners, and Oleson Worland Architects, she has worked as an architectural designer in China with Brearley Architects and Urbanists in Shanghai and Guangxi Hydroelectric Power Design+Research Institute in Nanning. She joined PLANT Architect Inc. as an Intern Architect in April 2015. In 2014 Patricia served as a visiting critic at the University of Guelph School of Landscape Architecture. She was project manager on Art Condos, a retail and residential project that in 2013 received an Award of Merit in the City of Toronto Urban Design Awards and an Ontario Concrete Award.
Matthew Hartney, Architectural Designer
B.A.S (Hons), M.Arch.
After completing graduate studies at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in 2015, Matthew returned to PLANT Architect Inc. as an Intern Architect; he was previously with the studio for three terms (2008–2009) as a co-op student during his undergraduate studies in architecture at the University of Waterloo. He has more than four years of experience working in architectural offices and on a number of freelance design, planning, and building projects. Matthew has a strong interest in architecture as a means of re-inventing and redeveloping former urban industrial centres in ways that improve the lives of their residents. During his architecture studies he received numerous scholastic awards from the University of Waterloo, including The Rome Prize for Outstanding Work in Design Studio.
René Fan, Landscape Architect
MLA, MSHP, B.A., OALA
René earned a Bachelor of Arts in Geography at McGill University in Montreal and a Master of Science in Historic Preservation at Columbia University in New York City. Seeking a career that would be a good fit with her love of being outdoors and her creative mindset, she subsequently entered the Master of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Toronto. After graduating with her MLA in 2010, she worked with Quennell Rothschild & Partners LLP in New York City and Brook McIlroy in Toronto. In 2016 she joined PLANT as a Landscape Architect. René is drawn to both the theoretical and pragmatic sides of her profession. She has participated in landscape-themed art exhibitions including PhotoKathmandu in Nepal and the Gladstone GrowOp in Toronto. She finds that the most satisfying landscape projects are the ones with significant site constraints, and she aspires to make cities so engaging and delightful that residents won’t want to flee them on the weekend.
Carla Lipkin, Landscape Designer
An artist’s creative spirit, an affinity for logic, and a passionate tree advocate’s drive to shape a greener world find expression in Carla’s approach to landscape design. Raised in Canada and South Africa, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting and Drawing at the Ontario College of Art and Design and studied mathematics and philosophy at the University of Toronto before entering the Master of Landscape Architecture program, also at the University of Toronto. After graduating with her MLA in 2015, she worked for PMA Landscape Architects Ltd, where she gained experience in public facilitation. In 2016, Carla joined PLANT’s studio as a Landscape Designer. She enjoys work that allows her to leverage her interdisciplinary experience, and she believes that landscape design succeeds best when materiality, history, and ecology are closely interconnected.
Zeynep Benk, Landscape Designer
Originally from Turkey, Zeynep received her BLA from A.I. Baysal University and MLA from Istanbul Technical University. She acquired more than 10 years of landscape experience before moving to Toronto in 2015. As an intern landscape architect, she worked at Istanbul’s Nezahat Gokyigit Botanical Garden, where she was involved in plant maintenance and a detailed inventory list revision. After obtaining her master’s degree in Landscape Architecture, she worked on many large-scale projects with Karaoglu Peyzaj, including Istanbul’s Zorlu Center, a multi-tower mixed-use development incorporating several green walls and a ramped network of green roofs. Zeynep is a creative designer with a strong technical background: her meticulous attention to detail throughout the contract administration stage ensures that completed projects remain true to the strength of their conceptual design. Toronto’s greenness and multiculturalism made her choose the city as her new home base, and seeing images of the Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization made her want to work at PLANT.
Karen May, Landscape Designer
Interests ranging from computer-aided analysis and modelling to site-specific art installations inform Karen’s approach to landscape architecture. She earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Environment and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto, and went on to complete her Masters of Landscape Architecture there in 2011. Karen also possesses a Fine Art Diploma, as well as a Certificate in Applied Digital Geographic Systems from Ryerson University. Before joining PLANT’s staff at the end of 2016, she worked at Louisiana State University’s Coastal Sustainability Studio, where she developed visualizations about environmental change and infrastructure in Louisiana’s coastal landscapes for a public exhibition and outreach campaign for the State’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. She has participated in several group art shows including Grow-op, an annual exhibit about landscape and place held at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel. Karen is currently an instructor in the University of Guelph’s BLA program. She aspires to use design to bring beauty, functionality, and a touch of the wild into urban spaces.
Robyn Thomson, Student
Robyn recently completed the third year of her Bachelor of Architectural Science studies at Ryerson University and plans to pursue an M.Arch. after completing her undergraduate degree next year. A native of Calgary, she competed in gymnastic events across Canada before an injury redirected her energies into design. She chose architecture after Googling “most challenging degree to pursue,” and because she finds it really fulfilling to make something make sense.
Siqi Lu, Student
Siqi earned her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, and is currently in the second year of her Master of Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto. She is drawn to the challenges of designing urban public spaces that integrate well with the scale of the street and enhance the experience of how people move through and use these open areas. Landscape architecture fascinates her because it is dynamic: it is design that must be planned from the outset to change over time.
Justin Jones, Student
Currently on a work term with PLANT Architect Inc., Justin Jones is a fourth-year student in the University of Waterloo’s Bachelor of Architectural Studies program. He has completed work terms with practices including Arquitectonica in Miami, FLA, Atmos Studio in London, UK, and most recently Carscadden Stokes McDonald Architects in Vancouver, BC. Although he has demonstrated an aptitude for 3D software programs such as Rhinoceros 5.0, V-ray, and Grasshopper, he found that the most rewarding part of his 2016 term of study at Waterloo’s campus in Rome, Italy, was the focus on creating eighty detailed sketches by hand within a ninety-day period. A black belt in karate and a voracious reader, he is interested in the design of spaces that foster the integration of body, mind, and spirit.
Pamela Young, Communications Manager
Prior to joining PLANT’s team as Communications Manager in 2014, Pamela was a journalist who specialized in writing about architecture, design, and building performance. She has worked as a writer and editor at publications including Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, Azure, Applied Arts and CFM&D: Canadian Facility Management & Design. Passionately interested in all aspects of the built environment, she has found working with PLANT’s architects and landscape architects even more enjoyable than writing about their work for design publications.
Darlene Magno, Accounts Manager