About

Rock Design Associates LLC was established with the foundational commitment that we will deliver beautiful, dynamic, innovative, and responsible design strategies for our clients. With a broad range of public and private clients our landscapes are imagined with a deep understanding and appreciation of each site’s heritage, a respect for the natural environment, and a recognition of the social context in which they exist. Our approach to landscape architecture, environmental planning, and design relies on collaboration within our own practice as well as the collaboration with our clients, our colleagues, and our consultants. We find that it is through the innate complexity of place and the multilayered influences on those places that we understand a site’s unique history, nature, and cultural value. RDA also believes deeply in the element of time as a key driver of any design and that our work is elevated by the enduring commitment of those who steward and maintain these creations now and into the future.

Staff and Collaborators

Robert Rock

With twenty years of professional experience working at every scale of project management on projects distributed across the continental United States, Rock’s upbringing on a rural Iowa family farm instilled in him a sense of resourcefulness, frugality, and pragmatism that permeates every facet of his work.  In 2010, while at MVVA, Rock led the winning team in the ARC International Wildlife Crossing Competition, a globally recognized event that cemented Rock’s reputation as an expert in innovative design for wildlife connectivity. Rock brings his expertise and professional connections to a series of wildlife crossing projects at Rock Design Associates LLC, including the largest such project in the world: the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing in Agoura Hills, California.

Alec Spangler

Alec Spangler is a landscape architect and assistant professor at the Penn State StuckemanSchool of Design. He was a senior associate at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) until 2017, working on a wide range of projects from small public gardens to regional plans. Since then, he has used his professional experience to lead first- and second-year undergraduate studios focusing on design fundamentals and the broad possibilities of landscape. He remains connected to professional practice through his ongoing writing work for MVVA and his role at RDA, where he specializes in high-level graphic and written communication.

Marissa Angell

Marissa’s deep and enduring obsession with all things plant-related was a natural catalyst towards becoming a registered landscape architect. With a decade of experience in the field and as the owner of Angell Landscape Architecture, Marissa relishes using her planting expertise as a cornerstone of her own practice and as a consultant for other landscape design firms. Prior to collaborating with RDA, Marissa has worked with Miranda Brooks Landscape Design, Larry Weaner Landscape Associates,  LVLA, LPLA, and more. She is a graduate of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and Cornell University. Marissa is licensed in NY and CT.

Corey Nelsen

With over fifteen years of professional experience ranging from design to construction, Corey has a passion for detailing and an extensive knowledge of practical constructability. Having spent his youth immersed in the construction industry his work ethic, personal responsibility, and ingenuity helped to cultivate his character, preparing him for a career in landscape architecture. During his time at Iowa State University, he was able to travel extensively exploring design and construction techniques in different cultures around the globe and offering him a worldly perspective that continues to inform his perspective and apply his considerable talents to his craft.

Joe Bivona

Originally from Connecticut and now settled in Los Angeles, Joe graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from the University of Connecticut and earned his Master of Landscape Architecture with distinction from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He
brings a unique set of skills to the RDA team having spent over a decade at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates in New York working on and managing many of MVVA’s most visible projects in the US and in Canada. More recently, he has expanded his design acumen with his work in the Architecture and Interior
Design field as a part of NAINOA Architecture & Interiors, working with a number of notable clients across
the globe.

Shahab Albahar

Shahab has recently completed his Ph.D. in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia. His research interests revolve around the intersection of social and environmental justice in the built environment. His dissertation mainly focused on exploring the impact of urban redevelopment on marginalized communities in Washington, DC. Since May 2022, he has been supporting the National Weather Service Office of Water Prediction in its mission to disseminate Flood Inundation Mapping services nationwide by designing and developing educational materials related to river floods. He has received formal training in landscape architecture from the Graduate School of Design and holds a dual bachelor's degree in architecture and fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design. Apart from his professional endeavors, Shahab finds his passion for travel and enjoys exploring new destinations. He also has a keen interest in cartography and is an avid aviation enthusiast, finding inspiration and creativity in the skies above.

Paul Drummond

Paul has worked for inter-disciplinary design studios for the last 13+ years, in Baltimore and New York City. His experience and inspiration stems from a working agricultural upbringing in Maryland, and exposure to diverse landscapes at home and abroad. Paul focuses on attention to detail, and progressing projects through the design development process. He has been published in Landscape Architecture Magazine on the topic of wildlife crossings, and has presented on the topic at national conferences such as ICOET & ASLA. Paul received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Maryland, and currently resides on his family farm in Maryland.

Lama Hasan

Lama brings a passion for cities, cultural heritage, and storytelling to landscape architecture. With experience in cultural and historic projects across Washington, DC, as well as international work in Nigeria and Thailand, she has managed unique and diverse projects such as The Falls Project in Minneapolis, Minnesota - an indigenous led design and engagement process. Inspired by her upbringing in Saudi Arabia and the West Bank, Lama is driven by the resilience of communities and nature amidst rapidly evolving landscapes, seeing design as a means to infuse spaces with narratives of resilience, hope, and joy.

Martin Egemo

Martin brings an incredibly unique skill set to the RDA team as a digital modeling specialist and a LEGO aficionado. His YouTube channel, TMX Brick Notes, where he showcases custom designs of his own creation and provides guidance to fellow builders, has attracted over half a million views. His collaboration with Robert Rock on the LEGO version of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing has been entered into the LEGO Ideas Competition has already captured the imaginations of many and with any luck will be considered for production.

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