This Temple alum implements cutting-edge technology and a passion for community to design a more beautiful tomorrow.
As the director of open space and planning for a nonprofit in Cleveland, Andrew “Drew” Sargeant, TYL ’16 fuses his talents for outdoor design with the altruistic principles instilled in him at Temple University by crafting aesthetically pleasing landscapes that are accessible to all.
Andrew “Drew” Sargeant, ’16
Landscape Architect, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
“Everyone deserves good design, not just people who can pay top dollar for it. The folks who need it the most live in underserved, divested areas.”
Laying the Groundwork
Born in Jamaica, Sargeant was raised, from the age of 6, in Englewood, New Jersey. His AP environmental science teacher inspired him to blend his passions for the built world and the environment with landscape architecture. After transferring from Rutgers University, Sargeant—supported by four scholarships—split time between Temple’s Main Campus and the Ambler Campus and its 187-acre arboretum.
“At Ambler, the professors did a great job of preparing us for careers after graduation, with plenty of hands-on design experiences that gave everyone a strong foundation with both plant material and how it all gets built,” he said.
Sargeant served as president of the Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Association at Ambler. His real-word experiences included helping build an award-winning exhibit at the renowned Philadelphia Flower Show and designing trails and other features to revitalize the abandoned Mount Moriah Cemetery in Southwest Philadelphia.
During a study abroad trip to Rome, he helped design the landscape around a soccer stadium. He particularly credits Professor of Landscape Architecture Lolly Tai: “She really influenced me as a person, designer and student,” he said. “She pushes you to go beyond your threshold and brings out your best work."
As the 2018 recipient of the Landscape Architecture Foundation Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership, and the co-chair of the ASLA Digital Technology Professional Practice Network, Sargeant is recognized for his use of state-of-the-art technologies—including virtual reality, 3D CAD and LiDAR lasers—that enable him to simulate and quickly revise designs.
“Technology allows us to have a more honest, critical conversation with clients and construction managers, raises the confidence in our recommendations and, as a young practitioner, enhances my credibility,” said Sargeant.
After graduating, Sargeant worked for three years at Olin, a Philadelphia-based international landscape design firm. Then, following a year-and-a-half stint with a design firm in Austin, Texas, he was awarded a three-year fellowship from the Enterprise Foundation to work with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress—a nonprofit community developer dedicated to the equitable revitalization of Cleveland’s neighborhoods—where he now works full time.
His proudest project to date has been launching the ongoing restoration of Cleveland’s historic Sidaway Bridge and the surrounding green space. Unusable since its planks were burnt in 1966 to keep Black children out of a white elementary school, the massive trestle bridge was listed last fall on the National Register of Historic Places.
“The bridge is a living manifestation of racism,” said Sargeant. “Although tensions still exist, we’re using these stories and landscapes as tools of connection and healing.”
Only 2% of landscape architects are Black. Sargeant is a member of the Black Landscape Architects Network, which is working to change that. "Me being a face for landscape architecture is also doing that work. Ultimately, I want to start my own practice and employ more Black people in a growing, bustling practice that does life-changing work.”
Preparing the Next Generation of Professionals
A Temple education is career-focused. From working with real-world clients in the classroom, to learning from leading industry experts and taking on internships and other opportunities across Philadelphia, all students have the chance to gain important professional experience and develop the tools necessary to pursue their passion-turned-career.
Temple’s 30 Under 30
Our annual awards program recognizes trailblazing young alumni under the age of 30 who are disrupting the status quo to make a better tomorrow for all of us. We spotlight outstanding Owls who are trendsetters, problem-solvers and innovators, including Andrew Sargeant.