Kate Cholakis

Current Position

Core Faculty & Admissions Manager, The Conway School

Graduate Program in Ecological Landscape Design and Planning

Easthampton, Massachusetts


Designer's Statement

A “reader” of the built environment, I explore landscapes with curiosity and scrutiny. Seeing the world through multiple lenses, across disciplines, and over time grew in part from spending my childhood exploring the edge of a lake and wetlands in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. My curiosity in the edge between the textured murk of the swamp and cultivated land evolved into an academic interest. I developed a passion for the relationship between people and the land.

I explored this passion in undergraduate school (B.A. Architecture & Urbanism with a minor in Landscape Studies, Smith College) and graduate school (M.A. Ecological Landscape Design, The Conway School) and applied it to real world problems by creating my own small business. I began by creating landscape designs for clients on the residential and institutional scales (from the backyard to the college campus). In Spring 2013, I entered the field of design education as an assistant in an undergraduate architecture studio at Smith College, and a reader in a landscape studies lecture course. I returned to practice that May, starting work as a green infrastructure project designer at Nitsch Engineering. In 2015, after a summer as the Boasberg Fellow at The Cultural Landscape Foundation, I started teaching full time in the graduate program at the Conway School's new Easthampton campus.

When I am not teaching, you might find me reading, photographing plants, gardening, exploring new landscapes, and getting to know my community in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Connections & Certifications 


Lectures/Presentations (Sample)

  • Keene State College, Environmental Studies Lecture Series | Ecological Design: Historical Context and Current Projects
  • Smith College, Architecture Studio |  Ecological Design at the Conway School
  • UMass Amherst, Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values Conference | "Reconciling Narratives in Design: Seeing Polish Landscapes through a New Lens"
  • Boston Natural Areas Network and Greenovate Boston | "Low-Impact Development and Green Infrastructure"
  • Green Careers Conference | "Education & Careers: Landscape, Geography, or Desk Job?"
  • Smith College, Landscape Studies | "Sustainability, Ecology, and Balance: Decoding the Meaning of Buzzwords in Practice"
  • Massachusetts Department of Capital Asset Management | "Landscape Patterning: Towards an Ecological Approach to the Design of Campus Landscapes"
  • The Conway School | "Landscape Patterns"
  • Darrow School, Sustainability Symposium | "From Green Roof to Green Street: Landscape Design for How We Live and What We Eat"
  • Smith College, Facilities Department | "Campus Aesthetics
    and Functionality"

Critic Panels

  • The Conway School, Site Design
  • Smith College, Advanced Architecture Studio (Redevelopment Project Adjacent to High Line)
  • Smith College, Advanced Architecture Studio (Response to Philip Johnson's Glass House)
  • Smith College, Intro. to Architecture Studio (Waterfront Pavilion)