landscape architecture · urbanism · planning

About Terrain Studio



Through design excellence and innovation we strive to create places that inspire people while regenerating the natural environment, promoting social equity and economic vibrancy.

Terrain Studio, with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Houston Midtown and Shanghai, was founded in 2011 by Minhui Li, ASLA, LEED GA, former Associate with SWA Group in Houston and Sausalito. In January of 2014 Scott Slaney, FASLA, former Managing Principal of SWA Group Houston and Shanghai, joined Terrain Studio, renewing a collaboration that began in 2001. The work of Terrain and its talented people firm-wide has been acknowledged with over forty (40) professional design awards at local, state, national and international levels.

Design Excellence
Our Principals represent over fifty years of combined professional experience with a fifteen-year history of collaboration. Their work has garnered over forty professional design awards at local, state, national and international levels. We enthusiastically work nationally and internationally at a variety of scales on landscape architectural, planning and urban design projects. We believe the diversity of our practice, with projects ranging from private gardens to cities, strengthens our professional knowledge and enhances our ability to creatively and responsively serve our clients.

We are a full-service design studio capable of being either prime consultant or collaborative members of a design team. We bring to our clients the proven ability to lead throughout all phases of a landscape architectural design process with services that can include programming, conceptual design, public outreach, schematic design, design development, construction documents, cost estimation, irrigation design, permitting, bidding/negotiations and vitally important construction phase services. We believe in land-based planning and provide services to our planning and urban design clients that result in clarity of vision coupled with balanced environmental, social and economic benefits.

Landscape Architecture – We are passionate about creating beautifully designed environments characterized by a clarity of idea, landscapes that live at the intersection of art and sustainability, that inspire people, regenerate the natural environment, promote social equity and contribute to economic vibrancy. We are stewards of the land and our client’s resources, striving to integrate nature, urbanism and culture in a manner that elevates quality of life. On behalf of our clients our goal is to conceive, craft and construct innovative landscapes of uncommon beauty characterized by professional excellence.

Planning – We strongly believe in land-based planning, an approach sensitive to intrinsic natural and urban systems, to inform solutions. A plan is never meant to be just a plan. We work with the physical result in mind, creating places that integrate nature and the built world into a seamless idea. We provide physical planning consulting services sites, large and small, for both public and private sector clients locally, nationally and internationally

Urban Design – Enlightened, sustainable urbanism is one of the great challenges of our time. We believe that cities are urban ecologies that come to life through a clarity of structure, identity and meaning. These sustainable urban ecologies weave nature, open space, infrastructure and development together, creating ecosystems for innovation and social interaction, places to live, work, play and learn that advance the human and economic condition while respecting history and culture.

Exemplary People

In addition to its Principals, Terrain Studio is defined by an exemplary team of locally, nationally and internationally experienced design professionals, people who share a passion for the profession and a desire to make a difference in the world through the art and science of landscape architecture, planning and urban design. Terrain Studio maintains the capacity to serve clients in a responsive and responsible manner on projects of every scale.

Collaborative Culture
We work as a team with our clients, design collaborators, consultants and in-house colleagues to shape and build noteworthy environments on behalf of our clients in a manner respectful of schedule and budgetary requirements.

The firm maintains robust technology affording digital collaboration with clients and consultants anytime and anywhere, worldwide. Moreover, we utilize technology as a design tool and maintain the capability to digitally represent and animate leading edge ideas.

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A client-centered collaborative spirit and deep Principal involvement has resulted in projects authored by Terrain Studio Principals receiving the highest professional awards and recognitions given by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Urban Land Institute (ULI), American Planning Association (APA) and United States Green Building Council (USGBC). These and other select professional awards at International, National, State and Local levels include:

While with SWA Group

Scott Slaney, Fellow American Society of Landscape Architects, 2013
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Honor Award Helios Plaza, Houston, Texas, 2012
USGBC LEED® Platinum–certified Helios Plaza, Houston, Texas, 2012
ASLA Texas Chapter Community Service Award, 2011
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Merit Award Northwest Vista College, San Antonio, Texas, 2011
APA Great Places in America; Main Plaza, San Antonio, Texas, 2010
ASLA NorCal Chapter Honor Award Wusong Riverfront, Kunshan, Jiangsu, China, 2010
ASLA Texas Chapter Merit Award Nanjing Hexi Waterfront Redevelopment, Nanjing, China, 2010
Times House Golden Property Villa of the Year Award Shanghai Bay Community, Xicen, Shanghai, China, 2010
Scenic Houston Honor Award bp Westlake Campus Redevelopment, Houston Texas, 2009
Mayor’s Beautification Award West Loop Greening, Houston, Texas, 2008
AIA Texas Urban Design and Planning Award Westchase District Long Range Plan, Houston, Texas, 2006
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Excellence Award Lone Star College – CyFair, CyFair, Texas, 2006
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Honor Award Hangzhou HuBin District Redevelopment, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, 2006
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Honor Award Luohu Station Redevelopment, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, 2006
Scott Slaney, Texas A&M University College of Architecture Outstanding Alumnus Award, 2006
ULI Asia Pacific Awards Luohu Station and Landport Redevelopment, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, 2006
AIA Houston Merit Award Rice University President’s Residence, The Weiss House, Houston, Texas 2005
ASLA Design Excellence Award Heart of the Park Hermann Park, Houston, Texas, 2005
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Honor Award Hangzhou HuBin District Redevelopment, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, 2005
TSA/AIA Design Award Westchase District Long Range Plan, Houston, Texas, 2005
ULI Global Award of Excellence Hangzhou HuBin Redevelopment, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, 2005
ULI Asia Pacific Award of Excellence Hangzhou HuBin Redevelopment, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, 2005
AIA Houston Urban Design and Planning Award Lone Star College – CyFair, CyFair, Texas, 2004
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Merit Award Nanhai Citizen’s Plaza, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, 2004
SCUP/AIA Excellence in Planning Award Lone Star College – CyFair, CyFair, Texas, 2004
ULI finalist for Award of Excellence – Americas Lone Star College – CyFair, CyFair, Texas, 2004
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Merit Award, Stolt-Neilsen Campus, Houston, Texas, 2002
ASLA Design Merit Award Kelsey Seybold Clinic Campus, Houston, Texas, 2001
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Honor Award Kelsey Seybold Campus, Houston, Texas, 2001
APA Houston Honor Award University of Houston Downtown Campus Development Plan, Houston, Texas, 2000
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Honor Award Uptown Houston Streetscape Program, Houston, Texas, 1999
APA Texas Chapter Honor Award Cotswold 2000 Master Plan, Houston, Texas, 1999

While with Slaney Santana Group

ASLA Texas Chapter Design Merit Award Forbidden Gardens, Houston, Texas, 1998
Keep Houston Beautiful, Rose Award Uptown Houston Streetscape Program, Houston, Texas, 1996
1st Place Rice Design Alliance Heart of the Park International Design Competition, Houston, Texas, 1992
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Merit Award Kellogg Tower Plaza, Houston, Texas, 1992
BOMA Building Rehabilitation of the Year Kellogg Tower Plaza, Houston, Texas, 1992
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Honor Award Dresser Tower Plaza, Houston, Texas, 1991
Mayor’s Clean Houston Award Travis Elementary School SPARK Park, Houston, Texas, 1991
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Honor Award Tommy Perkins Memorial Park, Olney, Texas, 1989
AIA Houston Chapter Environmental Improvement Award Old Sixth Ward Park, Houston, Texas, 1989
AIA Houston Environmental Improvement Award Houston Center Urban Gardens, Houston, Texas, 1988
Mayor’s Clean Houston Award Houston Center Urban Gardens, Houston, Texas, 1988
ASAP Honor Award Broadway Development Area Master Plan Victory Square, Galveston, Texas, 1987
FGNA Design Excellence Award West Houston Hyatt Regency, Houston, Texas, 1987

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“Sponge City”, International New Landscape, Shanghai, China 2015, Scott Slaney
“Nanjing Youth Olympic Park”, International New Landscape, Shanghai, China 2014, Scott Slaney
“Xing Yuan New Town Sustainability Planning”, DI Magazine, Beijing, China 2014, Scott Slaney
“Design” Southeast University College of Architecture, 2012, Scott Slaney
“Value Generation”, Times Property Forum Lecture, Shanghai China 2012, Scott Slaney
“The Concrete Dragon” Cite Magazine Rice Design Alliance, 2012, Scott Slaney
Lecturer for Graduate Studio, Arch 601, School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, University of Maryland, 2011, Minhui Li
“Walk this Way”, Uptown Houston’s Public Realm, IES Magazine, 2010, Scott Slaney
‘The Heart of the Park-Lessons from Houston’s Hermann Park”, Houston Chronicle, 2010, Scott Slaney
“Connecting the Built and Natural Environments” The Dirt, ASLA On-Line Magazine, 2010, Scott Slaney
“The Role of Transportation in Placemaking”, Texas Institute of Traffic Engineers Annual Meeting, 2010, Scott Slaney
“Quality Hangzhou International Design”, Hangzhou Real Estate Development”, 2009, Scott Slaney
“Landscape Infrastructure Lecture, Tsinghua University, Beijing China, 2009, Scott Slaney
“Landscape Infrastructure Lecture, University of Houston College of Architecture, 2009, Scott Slaney “Civic Plazas. Civic Pride”, Contract Magazine, September 2008, Scott Slaney
Water Connects Dots in Grand Design for Downtown Beaumont (Scott Slaney interviewed by Dee Dixon,) Beaumont Enterprise, July 8, 2008, Scott Slaney
PlaceMaking in Houston, Urban Land, August 2005, Scott Slaney
“Culture-Sensitive Design: Case Studies of Recent Practice in China”, ASLA 2004 Annual Meeting, Scott Slaney
“Landscape Design of Hangzhou Waterfront Area”, Community Design Magazine No. 20, 2004 Minhui Li
“Chronicling the Redevelopment of the Historic HuBin District in Hangzhou China”, Sun TV Hangzhou, China, 2003 Minhui Li and Scott Slaney
“The Landscape of Cy-Fair College”, Texas Architect Magazine, 2003, Scott Slaney
Adjunct Professor, University of Houston College of Architecture “Urban Environments Course” Spring Semester, 1996, Scott Slaney
Guest Lecturer and Critique Texas A&M University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Houston College of Architecture, Scott Slaney

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Terrain Studio, and the Principals of Terrain Studio individually, are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with our clients.

Agile Property Holding
Alamo Architects
Armand Bayou Nature Center
Beijing Jiyang Tourist Development Co., Ltd.
Beijing Shichuang Tech-Park Development Co., Ltd.
City and County of San Francisco Arts Commission
City of Beaumont
City of Deerpark Parks and Recreation Department
City of Galveston Planning Department
City of Nanjing Planning Bureau
City of San Antonio Public Works Department
City of Zuhai China Planning Bureau
Chongqing Longfor Real Estate Development Co., Ltd.
Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
Dharma Realm Buddhist University
Dr. Pepper Corporation
Envision Energy, Ltd.
Ferguson Pape Baldwin Architects
Friends of Travis
Gabriel Architects, Inc.
Gensler Architects
Glenwood Cemetery, Inc.
Green Earth Operations
Greater East End Management District
Greenland Real Estate Group
Grupo Cydsa Corporation
Guilin Bichen Tourist Investment Co., Ltd.
Hanzhong Cultural Tourism Investment Group Co.
Hangzhou Hubin Commerce and Tourism District Redevelopment Inc.
Harris County Improvement District No. 1
Harris County Precinct One
Hermann Park Conservancy
Hinds Junior College
HKS Architects
Homart Development Company
Houston Downtown Management District
Houston Independent School District Facilities Management
Hughes Group Architects
Jerde Partnership Architects
Jinghope Real Estate Company
Jingye Real Estate Development Co., Ltd.
Joyon Real Estate
Kunming Xuaxin Real Estate Development Co., Ltd.
Landry’s Inc.
Langston University
Lee College
Lovette Homes
Metropolitan Transit Authority Houston
Moody Gardens, Inc.
Morris Architects
Nanjing Hexi New Town State-Owned Assets, Management Group Holdings Ltd.
Page Southerland Page Architects
PGAL Architects
Pinto Realty LLC.
Qingchen Real Estate
Rey de la Reza Architects
Richter Architects
San Antonio Parks Foundation
Service Corporation International
Shanghai Jingang North Bund Realty Co., Ltd.
Shanghai Urban Planning Administration Bureau
Shantou City Development Co.
Simon Property Group
Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group Ltd.
Studio Red Architects
Texas A&M University Systems
Texas Lutheran University
The Westchase District
Three Gorges Dam Authority
Trizec Properties
University of Houston System
University of St. Thomas
Uptown Development Authority
U.S. Department of Defense
Vanke Real Estate Co., Ltd.
Woodlands Development Corporation
Wulfe & Company
Xishuangbanna Agile Tourism Development Co., Ltd.
Zhejiang Xizi Real Estate Group Co., Ltd.
Zhongshan Yahong Real Estate Development Co., Ltd.
Ziegler Cooper Architects

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“For 25 years Scott has played a leading role in defining the identity, livability and economic vitality of Uptown Houston through innovative planning and design. What was a classic American edge city has now matured into one of the country’s most vibrant places to live, work, shop and play largely due to the clear sense of place and quality of environment created. His ideas and sense of craft have shaped Uptown Houston’s present and future.”

– John Breeding, President, Uptown Development Authority, Houston, Texas

“I really enjoyed the process of collaborating with Scott and Minhui. The whole process was about sharing a great idea, great information, and design responsibilities. Their professional attitude and capabilities really helped us resolve many urgent and difficult issues. More importantly, the sharing of the process made the collaboration very enjoyable and inspiring. During the construction process, no matter what the material selection or the design details, decisions were all very site specific and practical. I have every reason to believe that they could turn beautiful ideas into wonderfully built projects.”

– Charles Chen, Chief General Architect, Hangzhou Hubin Waterfront Construction Headquarters, Hangzhou, China

“For thirty years I have worked with Scott on projects of all scales and types. All have been truly collaborative efforts of great benefit to the client and community. His sense of scale and understanding of client needs are unique. Together we have been honored by awards for projects from the AIA and ASLA.  His commitment to quality and sustainable design enhances the lives of all that come in contact with his projects and ideas.”

– W. O. Neuhaus, FAIA, Principal, Studio Red Architects, Houston, Texas

“SPARK was created to transform neglected school green spaces into parks beloved by students and neighbors. In 1990 Scott volunteered to design Travis Elementary School’s Dinosaur Park. He was not married, nor had children but gave of his time and talent for a belief that neighborhoods can be renewed through exemplary schools defined by great parks. Some $400,000 dollars and 5 years later a park grew from asphalt, a school and neighborhood flourish.”

– Kathleen Ownby, Executive Director, SPARK Parks, Houston, Texas

“During the collaboration with Minhui on the Chongqing IRUP project, I really enjoyed the process of revealing and exploring problems. Minhui is not only an experienced planner, but is also very familiar with the local condition and culture which made it easier to explore the problems/issues in depth. She also knew how to use the unique perception of a landscape architect to explore the social, economic, and ecological aspects of the project and integrated development, preservation, and sustainability into one comprehensive planning strategy.”

– Richard Li, Director of Planning, Chic International Trading Co. Ltd., Chongqing, China

“Mr. Slaney has dedicated himself to creating public spaces that resolve environmental, social and economic needs in an artful manner; spaces that enrich people’s lives and strengthen community. Our work together transforming the Heart of Hermann Park into one of the City’s most cherished public spaces is one example. Mr. Slaney gave of his professional leadership, talent as a landscape architect and attention to detail in creating one of the City’s great places for people.”

– Doreen Stoller, Executive Director Hermann Park Conservancy, Houston, Texas

“As of today, Longfor has experienced numerous design consultants, many have been filtered out due to various reasons. It is not very common that a consultant is remembered and recommended by Longfor repeatedly, that means we highly recognize and appreciate their services. Terrain Studio is actually one of them that we highly appreciate and are willing to recommend for continuing cooperation. Normally when a new foreign consultant has been introduced to Longfor, there are always problems that prevent them from fitting into our project team very well. Under the pressure of the fast paced “China schedule” and forever changing local condition, many design firms cannot adapt to the situation promptly enough to stay engaged. However, Terrain Studio is an exception. Their lead design principals are all very experienced on commercial mixed-use and public projects. They know where we are at, where there is a potential problem, and how to resolve it.”

– Tian Yun, Landscape Design Director, Longfor Real Estate Co., Ltd., Chongqing, China

“There are two things that Terrain Studio has impressed me with the most, one is their performance capabilities and the other is their “targeted” creativity. Many of our projects have their own sensitivity and complexity, the challenge and expectation to both the developer and design consultants are tremendous. However, we are very pleased to see that the more we collaborate, we get a better experience working with Terrain Studio. Terrain Studio has already become a positive driving force of our projects and more importantly, brings confidence to us as a developer to build excellent projects that fit the culture and natural beauty of Guilin.”

– Wan Jing, Design Director, Guangxi Bichen Tourist Property Holding Co., Ltd., Guilin, China

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