By Donna Parker
“Trinity was everything I’d hoped for,” says architect Laura Cabo ’79.
“It’s really special from an environmental point of view. The landscape is beautiful – merged into the surrounding cliffs. Trinity was the foundation that pushed me in the direction of designing buildings.”
Laura arrived on campus site unseen, fresh from her high school in Virginia Beach. A Navy brat, she’d lived in 18 different cities while growing up, so she was unprepared for such a sense of belonging.
“I never had any problems adjusting to campus life. The resident assistants in the dorms got the social fabric down into family,” she remarks.
This principal in the world-renowned Gund Partnership architectural firm based in Boston was one of only three women to major in Homebuilding – a degree program that no longer exists, but one that propelled Laura to great heights – no pun intended. Now involved in a ground-breaking senior living project in her own community, Laura recently worked in Paris on a million-square-foot town center outside Paris with partner Euro Disney.
“A whole village grew up around this mall. We worked closely with the French, who limit the number of shopping areas you can build during any one period,” says Laura, who adds, “Whatever type of project you’re working on, you have to become an expert.”
Laura was also a key player in the design of the new Cleveland Botanical Center – which illustrates how plants, animals, and climate interact in a delicate balance. The glasshouse concept passes visitors through a transparent airlock, transporting them to the jungles of Costa Rica, seamlessly. Then, there’s the National Association of Realtors environmentally-friendly “green” building that recently won industry honors.
Even with all that, this soft-spoken, intelligent architect and world traveler describes her greatest achievement as “balancing motherhood and work and trying to be successful at both. My mom tells me I’m a good mom, so I guess whatever I’m doing is working!”
The mother of two boys, Jackson, 14, and Cameron, 8, Laura and husband Gary, also an architect, spend free time with the kids riding bikes, frequenting museums, and of course, traveling.
“I tell my boys all the time that the successful person is one who knows how to fix what’s wrong – make lemonade out of lemons. Trinity taught me good habits and that it’s O.K. to fail. I’m a lot more confident now than when I was younger. Now I realize I know just as much as everyone else!”