Freya (Hanrui) Fu
Hometown: Guangzhou, China
Degree Program: Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture '24
What kind of questions or curiosities did you have when you decided to pursue a degree in landscape architecture?
My hometown had undergone a dark period of severe air and water pollution when I was young. For so long, human beings have been disastrously exploiting natural resources. Regarded as a steward to mother nature, I choose the discipline of landscape architecture, hoping to explore a harmonious and sustainable future between humans and our planet.
How would you characterize your design ethos or process?
My design ethos is to design ideal spaces that respect both humans and nature. I believe that each site has its own spirit and uniqueness, waiting for designers to discover and polish. In my design process, I would love to break comfort zones. Cornell studios have always encouraged me to think as creatively as possible, pushing me to go beyond borders.
Being at Cornell, has to live in the Finger Lakes region informed your view on the field, or even broader, the environment?
Growing up in a Chinese metropolis, I was not used to living in Ithaca. Living in the Finger Lakes region was so quiet and peaceful. In my freshman year, I need to take a break in NYC every month. But as days go on, I started to appreciate life at Cornell, without giant skyscrapers and busy transportation. I learned to live slower, embracing an intimate relationship with the natural environment. Cornell has provided me with an adequate sublime natural environment, reminding me to be respectful and grateful to our planet.
Reflecting on your interests, how did you define/are you defining your concentration in the program?
After taking several urban planning courses at Cornell AAP, I found myself interested to explore more about the human living environment. I love to travel, learn, and analyze cities. I intended to define urban and regional studies as the concentration, facilitating me to study and practice landscape architecture on a city basis.
Are there any other particular courses at Cornell that leverage your interests?
I enjoy taking professor Mitch’s LA 3010 studio this semester, which is based on a real project in the Old Brooklyn community in Cleveland. We went on a four-day field trip for a complete site visit and a spectacular bike tour. We also met formally with clients, local planning committees, and stakeholders, as well as informal discussions with neighborhoods and residents. It is my first time engaging with a real-world project and I’ve learned so much. Mitch is an excellent professor, who inspires and guides me to the realm of urban design. By taking this studio, I am determined to combine fields of landscape architecture and urban planning together for future studies.
What kind of organizations or activities have you become involved in within Ithaca?
Since spring 2019, I have been a member of CU-ASLA, which is a Cornell student chapter organization of the American Society of Landscape Architecture. CU-ASLA would conduct events and meetings for landscape architecture students to facilitate learning and communication. Furthermore, I was a part of the LABash planning committee in the year 2019. Even in such period of special times, we still hold the event successfully, enjoying a national celebration of landscape architecture altogether.
What would you tell your younger self from ten years ago? What would you tell your future self ten years ahead?
I would tell my younger self to cherish those who you love and who love you and enjoy your life; I wish to remind me don’t lose myself in the future.