Meet Wenlin Yang


Who or what brought you to Civitas? Why did you choose to work here?

After coming to the U.S. for college, I had the opportunity to explore the Midwest and East Coast. But I still felt like I needed to see more of the country to understand the regional differences better. I chose Denver due to its geographic similarities to my hometown in China and its proximity to the mountains and state parks. Once I arrived in Denver, I began researching local design firms and figuring out what kind of projects I’d be most interested in working on. When I found Civitas, I knew it was a great fit for me since they work on all kinds of projects across the country, which would give me the chance to grow as a landscape architect and work in different communities. I was also very drawn to how diverse the team was—I think it’s important to have people from different backgrounds and cultures working on projects because it brings several perspectives and understanding.

How would you describe your personal approach to design?

Since I’m still at an early stage in my career, I am working on developing my personal approach with each project I work on. I’ve learned how important it is to research the location’s background, culture, and climate before starting a project. I also have prioritized engaging with the public when beginning the planning process to better understand the wants and needs of the community.

What experiences have had the most influence on you and/or your design approach?

Growing up in China, I was exposed to a very different landscape and urban design style than is typical in the US. Having traveled quite a bit and as well as attending college in the United States has definitely impacted my perspective on design style. More professionally, each project I’ve worked on has had an effect on my process and execution. Learning the importance of community involvement and engagement has completely changed my perspective on the goals and outcomes of projects as well.

What is your proudest accomplishment so far, either at work or in life in general?

Since many of the large-scale projects we work on at Civitas can take years to complete, I haven’t been able to experience the feeling of completing a project from start to finish yet, but I am looking forward to that day. My proudest accomplishments so far have been seeing my work and ideas put to use in projects that will have positive effects on the community, and have already received positive feedback.

What accomplishments do you hope or aspire to reach in the future?

In the future, I look forward to seeing projects that I’m involved in from start to finish reach completion. As I grow in my career and become a more accomplished designer, I also hope to be able to lead projects and create a positive impact on as many communities as possible.

What are your favorite types of design projects to work on or design challenges to solve?

I’m still discovering what my favorite types of projects to work on are. Every project I have worked on has had different elements that excited me and challenges that motivated me.

What do you do outside of work to have fun, or relax, or learn, or volunteer?

Recently, I have gotten into collecting different stamps from all over the world. It sounds super old-fashioned, but I’ve been enjoying it.

What are you reading or listening to these days?

I love mystery and detective books. I’m currently reading a series of books by a forensic botanist. It’s really interesting to learn about the science they are able to use to solve crimes that don’t often get talked about.

What is your favorite food to eat, or recipe to cook?

I have been trying to cook a lot of Chinese food because it’s hard to get traditional dishes from restaurants here in Denver. I have been exploring local Thai and Japanese food, too.

Describe one item that you never leave home without.

My answer is basic, but it would have to be my wallet and phone. 

Random thing on your desk:

I have a little cactus as decoration on my that was a gift from friends. It’s great because I don’t have to water it.