The Studio

TGDA thrives because of our highly collaborative and supportive design studio culture. TGDA’s Design for Life ethic, which creates beautiful, iconic public spaces to promote healthy living, is infused into every aspect of our practice. Our thoughtfully selected and professionally trained staff share capabilities and interests to support growth, creativity, success and a healthy lifestyle, both in and out of the office. We design to connect people with vibrant and ecologically thriving places in local neighborhoods, regionally celebrated open spaces, and campuses and estates, for the benefit of our diverse clients and their communities.

Given the significance and scale of our projects, TGDA collaborates closely with clients and design teams, providing direction and vision to integrate natural systems for buildings and sites. TGDA’s unique niche has developed as a result of our leadership and innovation in the design field, which has enabled us to attract a diverse, accomplished talent pool to Chicago. Our open studio space encourages interaction, drawing, and the testing of a range of ideas, which consistently flow through the office. Our team practices with a passion for connecting people with nature through the development of diverse landscape solutions that emphasize our "Design for Life" approach.


Principal and Founder

Terry’s 30 year practice, has brought ecology back to communities through high-profile technical landscape and urban design. This is the backbone of TGDA’s practice. Terry is mentor to TGDA staff and clients, with leadership vision and know-how, she has led the transformation of important public landscapes in major US cities, changing the way we think about nature and public places. Terry is designer of countless vital, iconic, cultural, ecological public spaces, which have improved the quality of life in local communities. As part of TGDA’s Common Good initiatives, Terry has served since 2011 as Presidential appointee to the Federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and 2015 as Regional advisor for Cook County Forest Preserves and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.


Senior Associate

Laura is TGDA’s senior studio manager, who assists staff with balancing the mindfulness of TGDA’s Design for Life ethic with the high quality, creative production of our demanding and rigorous practice. In her designs, she weaves together an intuitive sense of form with her training as a landscape architect to integrate her background in plant biology with her passion for gardening and growing food. Her work harmonizes visually distinct organic patterns of life with structured urban spaces. Laura sees design as an opportunity to transform urban environments into vibrant places -- to engage people with the magic of nature. She brings her love of Midwestern plants and ecosystems, and practical native plant knowledge gained through field and research experience, to the design of every site.

Benjamin Cole, PLA, SITES AP, ASLA


Ben is an Associate Landscape Architect at TGDA where his role involves project management on a combination of complex large and small-scale urban projects. For each project, Ben utilizes his understanding of site-specific impacts to the larger context of adjacent spatial conditions and produces designs that respond appropriately to the scale of the site. In all of his projects, Ben brings strong conceptual design skills, excellent graphic skills, and the ability to coordinate with diverse groups of stakeholders. His work is informed by his graduate research that examined adaptive reuse of post-industrial marginal territories to create new infrastructural options, connections, and civic spaces. His work serves as a catalyst for community engagement and ecological planning, drawing from local histories, ecological patterns, infrastructural flows, and existing remnant typologies.