Marta Farevaag ’71 works in the usual three dimensions plus a fourth—time.
Farevaag specializes in historic restoration projects across Canada as a founding partner of the largest landscape architecture firm in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Farevaag resists “international” design trends that she says tend to homogenize communities, erasing their quirks and personalities. She prefers to approach places uniquely, striking a balance between old and new, between its past and its future.
“History is a real source of inspiration to me. History is also a way for a community to understand itself, to give a community a sense of place.”
Farevaag studied psychology at Reed and earned a master’s degree at the University of British Columbia before launching her career as an urban planner.
Her firm, Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg, coordinated redevelopment of Hastings Park in Vancouver. A popular spot in the late 1800s, the area over time became less park-like as a horse racetrack and an amusement park brought people, buildings, and cars.
The Hastings Park project “daylighted” a small hidden stream in the park that Farevaag hopes will one day again see salmon swimming through its waters. The plan also created Italian gardens with bocce courts and artwork to honor the area’s immigrant past.
As the plan got under way, one group pushed for razing the site and developing a waterfront park. Another group lobbied to preserve and restore the old buildings.
Farevaag worked behind the scenes to develop a compromise that drew from both camps, saving all the buildings while improving public access to the waterfront. A new visitor center highlights the lives of early Japanese immigrants in the area.
Farevaag takes pride in what she calls the “different bits and pieces” of projects she’s worked on over the years. “I get a real sense of belonging when I go around town.”