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Designer’s Statement The design process is simple, yet so complex. How does a designer come up with that final plan? It’s a process of sketching, diagramming and just drawing. Testing out ideas, seeing what will work, what won’t. Through these exercises I can draw out questions to ask myself and others that I am collaborating with. I can show people what I am thinking through my drawings. The Landscape archiecture field also carries a huge social aspect. Communicating with clients, community members, and co-workers to work with suggestions and concerns. It is an exciting part of the process that allows me to see through the eyes of others. Over the years, through studio projects and work experience I have had the privilege to work on a wide-range of projects. Everything from residential design, urban parks, greenways and large-scale planning. Sketching and studying in Europe for 6 weeks broadened my knowledge of design in general and allowed me to see how cities are designing and thinking more sustainably. My interest in Landscape Architecture ranges from the very detailed, technical aspect (construction Documents) to projects dealing with ecological and environmental concerns. But I am really open to learning new aspects in the field. Any position that allows me to think critically and learn more about the field is my ideal professional outlook.

Table of Contents A journey through my work Senior Project, Bluefield, WV. Pages 1-8 Pleasure House Point, Virginia Beach, VA. Pages 9-10 VA. Beach District Plan, Virginia Beach, VA. Pages 11-12 VA. Beach City-wide plan, Virginia Beach, VA. Pages 13-14 Hurt Park Gateway Park, Roanoke, VA. Pages 15-16 Hurt Park Construction Document Set, Roanoke, VA. Pages 17-18 Stormwater Management Design Course, Price’s Fork, VA Pages 19-20 Summer Work Study, Northern Virginia Pages 21-22 Europe Sketches, Page 23 Resume, Page 24


Natural Edge: Envisioning a smaller, better city in a blighted, mountainous landscape Project Statement: This project explores a design alternative that a shrinking city, such as Bluefield, WV, can implement to become a better place for the 21st century. Vision: To envision Bluefield’s blighted, disconnected downtown as a smaller, better city with a new natural edge that offers educational and recreational opportunity and gives the city a new sustainable focus for the future. The design portion of this project explores how the downtown district can retrofit themselves to a more sustainable future that provides educational and recreational opportunities by re-introducing ecological and natural systems.

Panorama view into downtown

Images of downtown and surrounding area


Design Masterplan

Bluefield State College



[Figure 2]

[Figure 1]


Perspective A view on the path

[Figure 3]


W o o o d l a n d s Existing deciduous Tree Line Mixed with new, denser planting. These areas exist on the steeper parts of the path where Structural remnants remain to be used as sitting areas and overlooks.

Plant Species: Sumac, Oak, Maple, Sassafrass, Redcedar Sycamore, Virginia Pine

M e a d o w G r a s s l a n d s P e r e n n i a l s

Y o u n g F o r e s t

Open areas of meadow that are less structured than the earlier sequence of the path. Remnants of structures serve as focal points rather than repurposed elements.

In this area, dense areas of young trees and shrubs line the path. Here one can observe the stages of plant succession as the shrubs begin to grow into a young forest.

Plant Species: Queen anne's lace, chickory, mullein, black eyed susan, beebalm, goldenrod,wild blue phlox, butterfly weed, joe pye weed are herbaceous perennials, Andropogon varieties, Panicum.

Plant Species: Dogwood varieties, Sassafrass, Black Willow, Redbud, Viburnum varieties, Serviceberry

Design Detail


W e t l a n d s

Y o u n g F o r e s t

W e t l a n d s

M e a d o w G r a s s l a n d s

M e a d o w G r a s s l a n d s

W o o d l a n d s

W e t l a n d s


S t e e p S l o p e s S t r u c t u r e d

W e t l a n d s During periods of heavy rainfall, the wetlands become activated. Serving as an educational device for studying stormwater management practices. These areas all serve as an attraction along the path. The ecological system will bring in many species and wildlife for a person to observe.

Addressing severely sloped areas with gabion walls and erosion control measures.

W i l d / L o o s e N a t u r e Areas where the succession of plant life begin to take over vacant areas. Roads and walkways are kept and vegetation begins to take over.

Y o u n g F o r e s t

W e t l a n d s

S t e e p S l o p e s S t r u c t u r e d

W o o d l a n d s

Plant Species: Broadleaf Cattail, Sweetflag, Sedge, Swamp Milkweed, Turtlehead, coneflower, Cardinal flower, Common Rush, Fern varieties


W i l d / L o o s e N a t u r e


[Figure 1] Line of Path and Experiences along it

Detailed Area Plans Area 3 Area 1

Area 2

Connection to College (Area 1)

Nature Reclaimed Area (Area 2) 7

Area 3 serves as the beginning point of the path. As one arrives into the downtown, they can learn about the history of Bluefield and the new natural reclaimed areas. As one progresses on the path they enter into the threshold between urban and natural before they enter Area 2. In area 2, the path takes advantage of the topography, traveling through the high and low points of the area one can observe the wetlands and overlooks while also observing structural remnants of the past. Entering Area 3, it becomes more open filled with meadows and steep areas as the path is brought lead towards the ridge. Eventuall the path connects over the railroad to the college. Throughout the entire path, a recreational trail that follows the ridge can also be accessed which will connect to the City Park, filled with miles of mountain-biking trails.

Downtown Connection (Area 3) 8

Pleasure House Point Virginia Beach, Virginia


The Pleasure House Point site was the location for the Save the Bay Foundation. The site is located in Virginia Beach on the Chesepeake Bay. The vision for this site was to create a wildlife park for educational and recreational purposes. The main programmed element was the boardwalk that connected to different educational opportunities around the entire site. The walk connected to different habitats, a bird conservatory and went out above the water. The design addressed the issues of sea-level rise and on-site flooding.


Existing Site Conditions

Design Perspective and Section

Nature trail extension from main boardwalk

Section of dock to view oyster reefs that help mitigate sea-level rise


Redefining Virginia Beach: Bayfront district masterplan


Redefining Virginia Beach: Bayfront district Details

Project Summary: With this project, my classmate and I worked together to redefine the Bayfront district of Virginia Beach. The area is a primarily residential district with a major roadway corridor running through the center. This project allowed us to examine the district closely to reconfigure and add greenway and walkway systems to promote walkable communities that connect to environmental areas. We also reconfigured the main roadway corridor and explored how improvements could be made through redevelopment. 12

Bike Routes

Redefining Virginia Beach: City- Wide Development Plan 13

Light Rail and Strategic Growth Areas

Bike paths and Greenways


Hurt Park Gateway Park Roanoke, Virginia The Hurt Park Gateway Park was a communitybased studio project. Our class collaborated with community members to present our ideas and receive feedback for what they would like to see. The concept for this design was to create a walk-through mural garden. Community members and local artists could come and paint murals that pertain to their idea of community. The planting plan design transitions from more formal in the front, to welcome people into the site, to a more dense in the back where people could have a more quiet, contemplative space.

Existing Site Conditions



Design Perspective and Section

Section facing west on-site.

Hand-drawn perspective of entire site.


Hurt Park Gateway Park Costruction Documents

Section Grading Plan

Section Planting Plan


Section Layout Plan

Construction Details


Hydrology Course Price’s Fork,Virginia This project was part of the hydrology technical course in the Landscape Architecture program. The project required determining the amount of stormwater runoff and creating a design that responded to that. Production of technical drawings were required to size retention ponds correctly and grade the parking lot correctly. The idea of this parking lot was to experience the flow of water from the high point, at the building, to the low point where all the water would be collected in a bioretention pond before entering the stream.

Parking Lot

Visitor Center

Construction Details

Hydrology Stormwater Management Plan

Section Grading Plan

Section Erosion and Sediment Control Plan


Rooftop Patio Arlington,Virginia

McGoff Residence Lorton, Virginia

Construction Process 21

Russell Residence Alexandria, VA

Construction Process 22

Paris, France

Past and Present Fragments of the Past Transitioned and Integrated into Contemporary Design

Lille, France

Paris, France

Lille, France



Education Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, August 2012 Minor: Horticulture Virginia Tech Europe Study Abroad Program, Summer 2010 -Traveled to 10 European cities studying interdisciplinary design through photography and sketching.

Laura Sokol 465 Gindhart Drive, Rileyville, Virginia 22650 #- 609-306-0790

Technical Skills Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel), Adobe Creative Suite 3-5 (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat Reader), ArcGIS(Version 9 and 10), AutoCAD Civil 3D (2008-2012), Google Sketchup, Sketching, Hand Rendering, Digitial Rendering, Model-Making (Lasercamm) Knowledgeable Areas Woody Landscape Plants and wetland species, Landscape Construction, Materials and Grading, Hydrology (Stormwater Management and mitigation strategies), Construction Documentation, urban open space studies, large-scale ecological and environmental planning, ecological restoration, Geographic and data analysis using ArcGIS software, producing maps using GIS software and converting to other formats, conducting on-site surveys and inventory collection. Work Experience Student Worker, October 2010- August 2012 Interlibrary Loan Department, Newman Library-Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA Worked in office setting while processing and shipping hundreds of requested books weekly to be mailed to libraries worldwide. Searched the library collection (books, microfilm, journals, articles, and media) for requested items. Processing was done through the Interlibrary Loan Database and Library system database (Millennium) Summer Work Study, Summer 2011 Lost Creek Landscapes, Centreville, Virginia Worked under the direction of a Landscape Architect to develop concept designs for clients. Met with clients on-site to discuss their wants and needs and assisted the Landscape Architect with site measurements and data. Developed basemaps through AutoCad and created designs through AutoCad or Sketchup. Through this experience I was also able to accompany the head of the company to jobsites and observe various construction processes. Student Designer, January- May 2011 Community Design Assistance Center, Blacksburg, Virginia The Redbud Run Greenway project, located in Frederick County, VA, is a multi-faceted watershed management project providing protection, access, and interpretation of natural and historic resources. The design project involved a 1-mile portion of the stream. Part of the process involved addressing issues of storm water runoff and erosion through implementation of riparian buffers. Other issues addressed were how to enhance the existing trail system as it relates to grade change, surfacing, stream and road crossings and connection to existing schools. This project involved collaborating with other student designers on the project and a member of the Opequon Watershed. Through site visits and data collection we were able to provide suggested solutions and enhancements for that portion of the project. Office Assistant, Season employee 2009-2010 East Windsor Municipal Utilities Authority, East Windsor, New Jersey Provided assistance for secretaries in a municipal township office. Sorted and filed records, typed documents and provided miscellaneous office tasks. Gained experience working in a professional, office setting.



Collection of work from school and experience

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