• YEAR: Senior
  • MAJOR: Landscape Architecture
  • HOMETOWN: Chengdu, China

Daniel Xu

A city skyline. An urban landscape. An empty canvas. For Daniel Xu, they're all outlets to express his artistic talents. And when he's not focused on design, you'll find this landscape architecture major traveling or dabbling in sales.

Culture and nature

Daniel's goal after leaving Purdue is to open his own design studio. He hopes to take his knowledge and experiences and apply them to urban design — striking a balance between culture and nature.

"It is our job as landscape architects or urban designers to create sustainable urban spaces that provide programs to fulfill public desires with minimal disturbance to existing natural systems," he says.

Putting it in perspective

Daniel is getting many perspectives on design thanks to a hobby he's picked up along the way — he loves to travel to destinations all across the globe, including his hometown Chengdu, China.

"It is a great way for me to understand exotic culture and to learn from good design precedents around the world," Daniel says. "I also get to experience many different cities and urban areas. I believe a successful 'place' should have its own identity — providing program opportunities and fulfilling public desires, while at the same time being different from other 'places' around the world."

Coming out on top

Daniel has received national attention for his work in landscape architecture. He received an Award of Excellence in the American Society of Landscape Architects national student design competition. His project, "A 30-Year Plan for the Wabash River Corridor," examined the relationship between culture and nature in contemporary urban space transformation.

"I looked at whether it is possible to use landscape infrastructure as an opportunity to transform the underappreciated river corridor into a new destination that provides programs for the public with minimal disturbance to the current natural system in place," Daniel says. "The infrastructures along the river are outdated and you cannot see the area's rich historical background through the design of the city."

Daniel also worked as a design intern at Sasaki Associates in Boston, where he participated in several urban design projects. He says, "The scale and location of the projects often varied dramatically, so it was important for me to analyze each site carefully to design specific solutions."

The art of shopping

Daniel also brings an artistic background to his urban design projects. One of his favorite hobbies is painting— it's why he's minoring in fine arts and oil painting.

You'll also find Daniel in small local shops when he has free time.

"I enjoy shopping for independent designer label clothes and furniture," he says. "I also have a little shop online to sell some of my own collections."