BENCH Site Design Inc. is an emerging landscape architectural consultancy based in Kelowna, BC. As a design practice, we operate at the intersection where ecology, culture and the built environment meet. Our firm name references Okanagan landform, and is an acknowledgement of the profoundly unique region in which we live and do business, and reflects our fundamental belief in the importance of place-based design.
We believe beauty and functionality are of equal importance, and that good design must possess both. We utilize local materials and products whenever possible, and specify alternatives to unsustainable materials that are prevalent in the landscape construction industry. These initiatives support local economies, minimize the ecological footprint of our projects, and enhance the regional character and beauty of the communities in which we live. BENCH was established in 2012 by BCSLA landscape architects Keith Nyhof and Xenia Semeniuk.
Keith Nyhof (BLA BCSLA CSLA) grew up in southern Alberta watching his father's nursery and landscape contracting company bring landscapes to life. He often joined his father at the office, drawing landscapes and using the photocopier to make youthful creations. Evidently these were formative experiences, as Keith went on to study landscape architecture at the University of Guelph as an adult, and obtained his professional designation in BC in 2007.
Since 2004, Keith has been involved in the design and implementation of public and private projects throughout BC, Alberta and Ontario. He has extensive field experience, specializing in MMCD project contract administration and has managed high-profile projects throughout the Okanagan.
Keith spends his free time with family and friends, and at every opportunity participates in the activities that the Okanagan Valley is famous for.
Xenia Semeniuk (MLA BCSLA CSLA LEED AP ND) has been involved in the design of landscape architectural projects in the Okanagan, Vancouver and Toronto since 2007. After completing an undergraduate degree in environmental politics and policy, Xenia worked for an environmental law organization and a sustainable transportation NGO before returning to study landscape architecture at UBC, drawn to the discipline by its span of the physical and the political. Her professional interests lie particularly in the field of sustainable design, green infrastructure and visual communication. Xenia is Co-Chair of the Thompson-Okanagan branch of the Cascadia Green Building Council.
If she's not in the office, Xenia is likely to be found on skis, on a bike, in Okanagan Lake, or somewhere in the BC wilderness. She serves as chief enforcer of BENCH's 15cm Powder Rule.
Ann Jackson (MLA) has practiced landscape design in Vancouver and the Okanagan since 2006 in both private and government settings. Following studies in geography and fine art, Ann completed her Master of Landscape Architecture degree at UBC. She is inspired by a range of natural and constructed landscapes, and is influenced by both her childhood on an Okanagan peach orchard and her travels in North and South America. Her professional interests include sustainable infrastructure, public space, ecological restoration, and agricultural landscapes. She has experience in bringing projects from conceptual design through construction documentation and contract administration. Ann is thrilled to be back in the Okanagan, where she can often be found with her Polaroid camera or developing her skills as an organic orchardist.