Associate / Designer
If American schools gave degrees based on experience, Tim Honeck might not have needed to formally study landscape architecture. When he was growing up, he and his friends would play in an abandoned natural woodland and prairie space. They first created a primary trail through it that did not disturb any existing vegetation, then later built a shelter by weaving living limbs of trees together to create a fort that housed a bench made of fallen trees. Some 20 years later, the living shelter is still in that space which is used as a park, and the trail he created is now a major walking path. The city parks department has recognized the trail and placed a park bench at the entry.
Tim also specializes in visualization, which includes photorealistic renderings, animation and 3D models. It’s not surprising to learn that he teaches wood shop classes and advanced workshops at Techshop San Francisco and Autodesk’s Pier9 workshop. He primarily uses salvaged wood in his work and builds full 3D computer models of his designs before actually building the final piece by hand. But his favorite shop hobby is turning bowls on the wood lathe, which serves as his form of meditation away from the office.
Tim’s philosophy to design is summed up by a quote from Carl Sagan: “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe”. His interpretation for our design profession is that every design project, big or small, comes from a bigger system that must be understood. Ergo, nothing exists in isolation because all projects are designed to make the most out of their existing place in a system, be it man-made infrastructure, civilization, or nature.
A project that exemplifies the kind of work at which Tim excels – and enjoys – is Downtown South San Francisco Station Area Plan. This civic project spanned the gamut from full big-picture planning analysis and design to small-scale site design and classic treatments. Tim and his team leveraged extensive community involvement to produce a design for the people by the people. On the other end of the spectrum, he also enjoyed volunteering to design a healing garden and courtyard for local non-profit health care center that had a much more tranquil process – and result.
Tim’s passion and creativity are very evident in his work, and his sense of humor is also evident in the office. He once told a new colleague that one of his greatest achievements was being named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2006.