JOANNA PERTZ  Founder, Principal

Joanna Pertz, RLA, brings an artistic sensibility and environmental expertise to shape elegant designs and a thoughtful practice.

Joanna received her Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design, where she graduated with Honors and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Fine Arts from University of California, Santa Cruz.

As Founder and Principal of JPLA, Joanna extends her unique design vision into all aspects of the firm’s work. She draws inspirations for design from the details of the world around us, and cares deeply about how design informs our experience. Her approach to each project involves an interplay between site specific analysis, conceptual exploration, and our client’s goals for each project. Joanna leads the practice through close collaboration with her staff to generate new ideas for each project, building upon extensive knowledge in the field of landscape architecture.

Prior to starting her own practice, Joanna was an Associate at HLW International, LLP and a Design Manager at Quennell Rothschild and Partners, LLP. She also worked as an Apprentice Stone Carver in Texas, assisting the production of large-scale urban sculpture before entering architectural practice.

Building on her background in the arts and years of professional practice, Joanna brings a conceptual and technical rigor to her work to create beautiful, highly crafted landscapes.



KATE BELSKI, Senior Associate

Kate Belski is a Landscape Architect and Horticulturalist with nearly a decade of experience working on successful and innovative landscape projects in New York City. Driven by a desire to cultivate relationships between urban residents and the ecosystem that they live in, her work focuses on creating unique experiences that bring people closer to nature . Prior to joining JPLA in 2010, she worked at W Architecture on a variety of local and international waterfront spaces including Harlem Piers Park and The Edge at the Williamsburg waterfront.

At JPLA Kate has lead the design process and managed the documentation of projects such as the BAM Cultural Plaza, the NYU Science Building, North Shore University Hospital Nueroscience Center for Excellence, Bronxchester Housing redevelopment, Coney Island Head Start development, and Bay Shore Landing Home Owners Association among others.



RACHEL WHITESIDE, Senior Landscape Designer

Rachel brings to the team a diverse skill set that includes a facility with construction detailing and the research tools needed to gain an advanced understanding of the materials and technologies of landscape. With a background in Fine Arts, Rachel has an eye for design and a graphic sensibility that she brings to each project from concept design through construction documents. At JPLA, Rachel is working on Tres Puentes, HBO, Alumni Courtyard at NYU Langone Medical Center, Coney Island Head Start and NYCHA Triborough.

Since receiving her MLA from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Rachel has worked in NYC where she built her experience on a range of local and international projects at a variety of scales and project types. Rachel brings experience working on waterfront projects such as Beale Street Landing in Memphis Tennessee, an 8-acre public waterfront park on the Mississippi River (at Balmori Associates) and Reflections at Keppel Bay, a 20-acre luxury residential development in Singapore (at Hargreaves Associates with Studio Daniel Libeskind). Other relevant experience includes the LEED platinum Syracuse Center of Excellence (at Hargreaves Associates with Toshiko Mori Architects) and Queens Botanical Garden educational wetland landscape (Scape Landscape Architecture with NYC DDC).


JOHN JERMAN, Landscape Designer

Since receiving his BS in Landscape Architecture from the University of Connecticut, John has worked throughout the Northeast on high-end residential estates and large-scale multi-use urban apartment buildings, corporate campus masterplans, rooftop landscapes, and historic renovations. John has been involved in all aspects of project work including graphic representation, construction documents, specs, and construction administration. Through this, John has gained acute understanding and facility with the technology and skills of practice, and excels in the production of technical drawing sets, 2D and 3D illustrative renderings. At JPLA, John has been an integral part of Lehman College, State of Being, and both Alumni Courtyard and the Science Building at NYU Langone Medical Center.  A former catcher for the UCONN Baseball team, John brings to the office extreme discipline, a strong work ethic, and follow-through in all of his work.