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Meet Mikyoung Kim of Mikyoung Kim Design in Boston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mikyoung Kim.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in Connecticut, outside of Hartford, in a house that was filled with music, art and culture. My mother was a ceramicist and my father was an architect, so I grew up very aware of how we all have the capacity to shape the environment we live in.

I didn’t start out as a designer. When I was younger I was focused on becoming a musician. I studied classical music and then, for many reasons, slowly migrated towards design and the public realm. When it comes to Landscape Architecture I found that I was interested in both the performative aspects of the civic space and the immersive types of experiences that you also get in music. I think there are a lot of lessons that I brought from music to design. The idea of choreographing space and human experience is one of the most important lessons from my musical training that I continue to apply.

After studying design in graduate school, I explored many different things: I spent a summer driving across the country with a friend; I lived in San Francisco for many years and spent a great deal of time hiking through northern California; and after that I came back home to the East Coast and joined the faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design. I taught at RISD full time for nearly 20 years before I retired to focus on my practice and family life. Since then, I have been focused on creating landscapes that draw people in- that tell a story about the communities that we serve.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s been a long and winding road- and it’s still going. I think it’s the unexpected aspects of life that have taught me and challenged me the most as a designer. When I was in my twenties I developed tendonitis in my left arm and had to stop playing piano for a few months and go into physical therapy. It was a very traumatic time in my life where I had to deal with the loss of that mode of expression. It was during that summer that I went to study design at Harvard and fell in love with the public nature of landscape architecture.

Please tell us about Mikyoung Kim Design.
Mikyoung Kim Design is a landscape architecture, urban planning, and site art project firm. We specialize in urban landscapes and are interested in places that have the capacity to heal the mind and provide escape from the city. Our work highlights the art of landscape and focuses on ways we can bring creativity to the civic experience

Our office has been in business for over twenty years and is made up of a group of very talented landscape architects, architects, and other designers and artists. It’s an idea lab where we work very collaboratively to come up with innovative solutions to some very difficult urban problems. We are always striving to find something new and to use the latest technologies in our profession to make spaces that are shaped by the tools of today. In the end, our work is always a reflection of the community, responsive to the aspirations of the neighborhood, and trying to make places that inspire people and bring whimsy and beauty into their daily lives.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
It’s the memory of playing with water- whether it’s the sprinkler in the backyard, during the summer or in a stream in a neighborhood park. This kind of play is so important. It allows us to learn to imagine.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 119 Braintree Street, suite 103
    Boston, MA 02134
  • Website:
  • Phone: (617) 782-9130
  • Email:

Image Credit:

Chris Baker, Chelsea Cavanaugh, Ted Cavanaugh, Robert Such

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