Founded in 1996, Virginia Burt Designs is a full service landscape architecture firm specializing in residential, estate, and therapeutic landscapes. With offices in Ohio and Ontario, the firm has been involved in a wide range of projects including therapeutic gardens for hospitals and institutions, estate master plans, and native landscape restoration in both the United States and Canada. Virginia Burt leads a team of landscape architects whose inspirations include travel, photography, collaboration with artists, fabricators & nurserymen, art, history, and the beauty of the natural world. Clients include healthcare organizations, governmental agencies, private individuals, and academic institutions.
The firm has received acclaim both nationally and internationally with awards garnered from the American Society of Landscape Architects, Ohio Chapter ASLA, Landscape Nova Scotia, and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and has been featured in professional magazines, shelter publications, newspapers, and journals.
Since founding Virginia Burt Designs in 1996, Virginia has designed and directed healing landscapes for private residential, educational and public clients. VBD has established a reputation for creating gardens and landscapes of meaning. Virginia’s work has achieved international recognition receiving multiple awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects, Palladio, and Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. She is one of seven women in the world with Fellowships from both societies for outstanding contribution to the profession. Clients appreciate and value her deep respect for place and for the human dimensions of each project. Virginia gets things built — beautifully.
Paul Carabott has been practicing landscape architecture, urban design, and city planning for more than 35 years. During this time, he has undertaken projects across North America in 27 states and 4 provinces, as well as in the United Arab Emirates. As lead designer/project manager, Paul has been instrumental and a key team member on more than 40 award-winning planning and design projects.
Paul’s passion for creating engaging places grounded in the principles of sustainability and social equity underlies the work he has completed throughout his career. His expertise ranges from the development of long-range planning strategies for community revitalization to undertaking detailed design studies to implement a wide range of built projects, including large-scale public places and unique private gardens. This diversity of experience allows Paul to take complex assignments from initial programming and concept development through to construction. Understanding that all places possess intrinsic qualities that make them distinct, Paul approaches each project with a fresh outlook without pre-conceived solutions. By combining innovative thinking with creative problem-solving skills, Paul’s commitment to each project ensures the goals of our clients are met, their vision realized and their expectations exceeded.
Office Director, Licensed Interior Designer
BID, ARIDO, FIDA, Licensed Interior Designer, AAA
Michele is a Registered Interior Designer and has been practicing interior design for 42 years. Her experience spans many sectors, including corporate and government offices, and residential and retail design. Michele spent eight years as a sessional instructor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, where she worked for 33 years, and two years as an online instructor at Yorkville University in Toronto. She has also been an advocate for the profession for most of her career. Michele is a Fellow member of the Interior Designers of Alberta, a Registered Member of the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario, and a Licensed Interior Designer member of The Alberta Association of Architects.
Michele is proficient in both the design and technical aspects of her profession. She has extensive years of Project Management experience. She was also the Operations Lead at her last firm in Calgary, overseeing admin staff, IT systems and processes, and office processes. Now in semi-retirement from the profession of interior design, Michele is the Office Director for VBD while keeping her hand in the design process on client projects as required.
Emily R. Thorpe
BA, BEDS, M.ARCH
Emily was born in Burlington, Ontario, and raised as a 5th generation vegetable farmer. Questioning conventional methods of farming, dichotomies between urban and rural, consumption and production, Emily received an undergraduate degree in Environmental Design Studies and Master of Architecture at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Emily distinctly explores and researches agricultural self-sufficiency and critical care for the earth through farming and building practices at individual, community, and global scales. Her experience includes residential, institutional, and health care projects that focus on accessibility and healing with nature. Emily has a passion for creating impactful local and bricolage architecture that resonates within communities while pushing boundaries on design solutions that are considered both modern and ancient.
Upon graduation, Emily joined the VBD team, where she is working towards completing her internship in landscape architecture which reaffirms her origins as in, of, and for, the Earth.
Professionally involved in Landscape Architecture for over 15 years, Brandon has worked on a wide variety of projects ranging from small-scale and intricately detailed private gardens to mixed-use community masterplans. Brandon gains tremendous satisfaction when he is solving complex challenges throughout all phases of a project and has extensive hands-on experience in landscape construction.
This experience in construction corresponds to his passionate belief that the best learning is achieved through immersive experiences. Prior to continuing his career as a Landscape Architect with Virginia Burt Designs, Brandon lived on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada, visited all the Canadian provinces, and has explored the outdoors in areas of the United States, Asia, Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean; Brandon has an insatiable desire to expand his mind and understanding with new, creative, and cultural adventures. To Brandon, beautiful spaces and moments are created when our senses are engaged, and our minds are enlivened through human interaction and by learning with others.
Junior Landscape Architect
With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Western University and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph, Ethan is on the path to becoming a licensed landscape architect. Motivated to find the common grounds that link human and environmental agendas through mindful and functional design, Ethan has particular interest integrating outdoor recreation within existing green spaces; specifically, his academic research explored disc-golf course design and other creative alternatives to improving access to, and restoration within, nature. Working previously at a garden nursery and on residential and commercial landscaping crews, Ethan has hands-on skills in hydroseeding, tree planting, hardscaping, irrigation, and maintenance. Further, Ethan’s professional design experience extends to both public and private sectors – from intimate residential gardens to expansive urban plazas and provincial park master plans.
Intern Landscape Architect
A graduate from Fanshawe College, Jacob has an advanced degree in Landscape Design. Currently enrolled in the landscape architecture program at the University of Guelph, Jacob is completing his 4 month internship at VBD. We are thrilled to have Jacob on board as he explores innovative ways to integrate technology into our designs. With his exceptional creativity, technical, and strong academic background, Jacob brings a fresh and interesting perspective to our team – welcome aboard!