PUBLIC WORK is an urban design and landscape architecture studio focused on one of the foremost public topics today—the intelligent evolution of the contemporary city. We aim to produce transformative works that invigorate the public realm, optimize and enhance the performance of urban and natural systems, and support public life by adding new layers of experience to the city.
We design cities to activate public life PUBLIC WORK is a design-driven practice engaged in building the contemporary city. Our work within urban contexts hinges on a necessarily comprehensive view of the spatial, social, cultural, political, and economic dimensions of the city. At the core of our practice is one question: How can every urban project—public or private—contribute to the quality of life and urban experience in the city?
We aim for transformational contributions to the public realm The practice of PUBLIC WORK draws upon the rich history of city building to advance contemporary solutions for urban environments. Our work reconsiders the relationship of civic infrastructure, landscape, architecture, context, and experience in search of innovative contributions to the city and its public realm. We bring imagination, optimism, skill, and pragmatism to overcome the complex and sometimes overlapping challenges of working in urban environments.
We are pragmatic and contextual Using landscape as our primary medium, our projects aim to enhance the often hidden qualities of a site to produce a transformed experience of even the most familiar places. Our work combines traditional and progressive approaches to landscape, urbanism, and infrastructure design and balances the strategic demands of delivering complex projects with an experiential approach to the design of the public realm. We seek contextually driven site strategies to optimize natural and engineered systems, maximize public investment, and transform experience of place.
We collaborate for maximum impact Our approach is based on a fundamentally open collaboration with the engineers, architects, specialists, clients, stakeholders, and contractors who design and build the cities we live in. Through these engagements as well as ongoing research through practice, we continually seek opportunities to improve the design and delivery of urban projects—offering strategic cost efficiencies, enhanced performance, and a deepened public experience.
We think and work across scales and disciplines Under the leadership of founding partners Adam Nicklin and Marc Ryan, PUBLIC WORK is represented by a core team of designers, each with diverse backgrounds and extensive experience in the design and implementation of urban projects across a range of scales. Working together in the studio, we explore urban questions through physical form and design solutions.
Adam Nicklin, principal and co-founder, is a landscape architect and urban designer with over 15 years of experience in the UK, USA, and Canada. Over his career Adam has successfully lead numerous large, multi-disciplinary teams in the execution of complex urban renewal and landscape projects. Adam’s project experience includes community design, public realm and parks design, major transportation and marine infrastructure projects and development feasibility studies, making him a flexible practitioner with broad knowledge and experience. Prior to co-founding PUBLIC WORK, Adam was principal at DTAH in Toronto.
Marc Ryan, principal and co-founder, is educated in landscape architecture and architecture and his design practice focuses on the intersection of these disciplines. Marc’s professional experience includes more than 15 years of practice in Canada, the United States, and Europe, where he has provided leadership in the design and implementation of public works that leverage the city’s requirements for infrastructure into a spectacular public realm. Marc’s project experience includes park and public space design, bridge and infrastructure design, and urban design visions often related to waterfront redevelopment. Prior to co-founding PUBLIC WORK, Marc Ryan was project leader at West 8 Rotterdam and studio director of West 8 Toronto.
Adam and Marc co-founded PUBLIC WORK following a six-year collaboration as leaders in the planning, design, and implementation of the West + DTAH master plan for Toronto’s Central Waterfront.
Design Team Lauren Abrahams Hui Chen Laura Ettedgui Virginia Fernandez Rincon Clint Langevin Mary Liston Hicks Adam Nicklin Chester Rennie Marc Ryan Melissa Tovar Ben Watt-Meyer Guangyu Zhao