Susan Hall: Brevard's First Lady of Landscape Architecture
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When discussion turns to Brevard County’s most beautiful homes, buildings and attractions, the name Susan Hall usually comes up. Brevard’s first lady of landscape architecture often is the one who elegantly places the finishing jewel in the crown of many construction projects.
Viera is a favorite job site for Hall, who is responsible for many exceptional landscape architecture projects in this national top 10-selling master planned community. She has been involved in the outdoor design of everything from a veterinary practice to the multi-million-dollar residences of Adelaide.
“When you look across Viera, you can’t help but admire Susan’s creative and thoughtful impacts, from the elegance of her designs at Adelaide to the creative and modern features at Borrows West,” said Scott Miller, vice president of sales and marketing for The Viera Company. “Susan has always taken an extra measure of care in everything she does, from her designs for many of the custom homes in Viera and throughout the Space Coast to complex commercial projects and hardscape features.
“She instills a personal love of her community in her work. Regardless of the location or project scope, I have always found Susan to be an exceptionally creative thinker.”
Hall credits her mother, a microbiologist, for leading her to landscape architecture.
“She thought it was a burgeoning field for women and she would leave newspaper articles about landscape architecture around the house so I would see them,” Hall said.
With a degree in landscape architecture design from Purdue University, Hall quickly landed a job in South Florida’s Coral Gables.
“It was huge culture shock” said the former Indiana farm girl.
Four years later, Hall went out on her own, quickly building a reputation for creativity and excellence in design that impressed well-connected clients such as the Fields of Marshall Field’s store fame. Her projects were featured in Southern Living magazine, Travel & Leisure, the Miami Herald, and media outlets.
When the adult son of a Coral Gables client asked Hall to help with design at his home on Merritt Island, Hall knew Brevard was the perfect place to raise a family.
“It’s God’s country,” she said.
Entirely through word of mouth, Susan Hall Architecture, Inc., pivoted from South Florida to become a Central Florida firm with projects that span from Stuart to Jacksonville. For example, Blaine Barton, retired vice president of ITG Management, heard of Hall and tasked her with the company’s projects at Buena Vida Estates in West Melbourne. It was to be a landscape architect’s dream project, for Barton wanted no expense spared.
“I told her I wanted it to be the lushest and nicest landscape in Brevard County,” Barton said.
Hall delivered Barton’s wish, both with the Buena Vida main campus and with the campuses for The Cottages, the community’s new enclave of independent living residences.
“It’s absolutely beautiful,” Barton said.
Hall’s projects in Brevard include the new pool and pool house at Brevard’s best known, residence, Hacienda del Sol on Merritt Island, Health First corporate headquarters in Rockledge, Kennedy Space Center Rocket Garden, Kiwi Tennis Club and several areas at Brevard Zoo, including the meerkat display in Expedition Africa, the Rainforest Revealed, Lands of Change and the Paws On children’s zone.
“I love working at the zoo,” Hall said.
The admiration is mutual.
“Susan has been an incredible design partner for the zoo, bringing her incredible knowledge of local horticulture and landscape design and combining it with a commitment to understanding modern zoo design and our unique aesthetic,” said Brevard Zoo Executive Director Keith Winsten.
Brevard’s is not the only zoo that has benefitted from Hall’s creativity. She designed Jacksonville Zoo’s primate exhibit — a huge installation of 20 acres that encompasses almost a fifth of the zoological garden.
Now in her 43rd year practicing, Hall has no plans to slow down, although she has come to focus primarily on commercial projects. She hopes she is selected for the team designing Brevard Zoo’s new aquarium in Port Canaveral.
“Susan has been our landscape architect since 2007,” said zoo deputy director Jon Brangan. “She has been a key partner in all of our projects. Her design talents provide us with award-winning level of design. We are honored to have her on our team.”
Landscape architects are well-versed on how the texture, shape and color of plants, as well as their requirements for success, can be incorporated into a project, but the field involves a lot more than plants. A landscape architect designs green areas, as well as hardscape focal points such as pools, walkways, ponds and firepits.
“Landscaping is just a portion of what we do,” said Merritt Island landscape architect Susan Hall. “We design hardscapes and site amenities such as sports courts, arbors, barbecues, fencing and lighting, and we work closely with civil engineers. We do the aesthetic overlay, approaching it as a whole, not in pieces and parts.”
The field encompasses art, architecture, environment, engineering and even sociology, since good landscape architecture creates outdoor spaces that nurture wellbeing and enhance our lives.
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