SYLA is an award-winning New York City based design studio creating innovative and ecologically productive landscapes that connect people to nature. Our work encompasses a diverse range of project types, including gardens, roof terraces, estates, courtyards, parks, plazas, and master plans.
We don’t prescribe to a signature style, but instead let our clients’ desires and a site's physical, cultural, and historical context inform our design direction. Through an iterative process of research, analysis, and interdisciplinary collaboration, we respond to the challenges of each project with a highly creative and lasting vision for its future.
Both beauty and function matter to us. We strive for each landscape we design to be visually stunning and experientially rich, but we're equally concerned with how a place will function and hold up over time. Will the space be comfortable and useable? Can the design adapt to changes in user needs, maintenance plans or environmental disturbances? Are the materials durable and details well-constructed? Each design is put through a thorough process of evaluation and refinement at every phase to ensure the landscape will not only be beautiful, but also functional and resilient for years to come.
SYLA believes there is a fundamental human need to connect with nature and we see our work as a means to this end. Each new project is an opportunity to artfully fuse humans and nature in deeply meaningful and lasting ways.
Steven Yavanian, RLA, ASLA, is the founding principal and design director of SYLA. He is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and licensed landscape architect in New York and Washington. He brings extensive experience in all phases of the design and construction process for a wide variety of protect types, ranging from large urban parks to intimate gardens and roof terraces.
Steven is an active member in New York City’s design and planning community. He served as Project Coordinator for Open Architecture / New York (OACny), a volunteer- run collective that partners design professionals with local non-profit organizations, schools, government agencies, and community groups. He also served as a peer reviewer for the High Performance Landscape Guidelines prepared by the Department of Parks and Recreation and Design Trust for Public Space, assisted with the preparation and review of select sections of the Green Codes Task Force led by USGBC, and participated as a peer advisor for desigNYC, a collective that connects designers with nonprofits and community groups. In addition, Steven has served as a design critic for landscape architecture, urban design and architecture studios at Columbia, Parsons, CCNY, Pratt and Rutgers.
Steven holds a Master in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, cum laude, from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Licensed Landscape Architect: New York, Washington
LEED Accredited Professional