Emmanuel Didier is the founding principal of Didier Design Studio and a professor in practice at the University of Colorado Denver. Emmanuel holds a Master of Architecture and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia as well as a Fine Arts degree from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in his native country of France.
After moving to the United States, Emmanuel expanded his passion for landscape architecture with Child Associates in Boston, Nelson Byrd Woltz in Charlottesville, and EDAW/AECOM in Colorado before opening his own practice. His most recent projects include the Childhood’s Gate Garden at the Arboretum at Penn State University, three new spaces for the Denver Botanic Gardens including the new Steppe Garden which hosts the international center for research on the Steppe flora, campus works with The University of Denver and Cyprus International University, as well as sustainable planning and design guidelines for the future Konza Tech City located south of Nairobi in Kenya.
- 2016 ASLA Colorado President’s Award of Excellence in Research and Communication
- 2014 ASLA Colorado Merit Award
- 2011 ASLA Colorado Merit Award (with EDAW/AECOM)
- 2010 ASLA National Excellence Award (with EDAW/AECOM)
- 2009 ASLA Nevada Honor Award (with EDAW/AECOM)
- 2009 ASLA National Honor Award (with NBWLA)
Project Manager / Designer
Will Viitanen is project manager and designer at Didier Design Studio with extensive experience leading a variety of projects from large civic and university designs to public gardens and residential sites. Will holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado Denver and an Environmental Design and Architecture degree from the University of Colorado Boulder. His background in architecture informs a sensibility in design thinking, craft, and detailing.
He is most interested in the power of landscape in addressing social and environmental issues while telling powerful narratives weaving architecture and landscape as one. He brings design excellence to the team from design concept to documentation and construction observation. His recent projects include three new gardens for the Denver Botanic Gardens including the 2016 ASLA Colorado President’s Award of Excellence winning Steppe Garden, STEM at the University of Denver, and a new children and family garden at the Desert Botanical Gardens.
Project Administrator / Designer
Meghan Simonds is a designer and project administrator at Didier Design Studio with extensive experience in planting design. Meghan holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado Denver and dual Bachelor degrees in Landscape Design / Horticulture and Speech Communication from Colorado State University.
By pairing her knowledge of horticulture with her experience in construction and maintenance, Meghan conveys a thoughtful and detailed approach to projects. She enjoys the complex narrative that each landscape strategy holds, and accentuating sites with rich combinations of layered planting that further promote local ecologies and plant communities. Her recent projects include the CSU Science Commons and a therapeutic garden for Eben Ezer Assisted Living and Memory Care. She also directs studio operations and project administration for Didier Design Studio.
Jeff Brunette is a designer at Didier Design Studio with expertise in digital modeling and graphics. Jeff holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado Denver and a B.A. in Graphic Design from Marian University. Through his academic and professional experiences, Jeff has developed an enthusiasm for pushing boundaries in the use of technology and digital design, especially as a means to develop enduring and evolving landscapes.
His skills lend to drafting, detailing, rendering, and crafting physical and digital models for a wide range of projects. He can often be found piloting our studio’s drone to create digital terrain models for projects. Jeff’s recent work includes a masterplan for the Cyprus International University campus, the CSU Science Commons, and the Sensory Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens.
Kate Davenport is a designer at Didier Design Studio, lending her experience in research, writing, and graphic communication to enrich concept development and articulate powerful design narratives. Kate holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado Denver and a B.A. in Fine Art from Colorado College.
Her background in art informs her ability to use drawing and modeling as tools for inspiration, discovery, and refinement of design ideas. She is fascinated by the intricacy and complexity of landscapes and the potential to reveal and engage with social, cultural, and ecological systems through design. Her recent projects include design guidelines for Konza Tech City Parks and Open Space in Kenya and the Steppe Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens. She also champions marketing and publication content for Didier Design Studio.
Derek Brandt is a designer at Didier Design Studio with a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado Denver and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Naropa University. His background in landscape construction and maintenance brings a veritable understanding of design detailing and construction methods.
Derek offers project support in all phases of design. His passions lie in reconnecting people with the natural world through their built environments, while encouraging landscapes to celebrate the union between science and design. He is particularly interested in developing green infrastructure as a tool for educational opportunities within schoolyards. His recent projects include design for a new children’s garden at McKee Botanical Garden and a new children and family garden at the Desert Botanical Garden.
PLACE + MAKING
“I don’t paint things, I paint relationships between things”. – Henri Matisse