People Matter: Jake Petrosky, AICP
At age 13, Jake Petrosky got lost on the west side of the Great Smoky Mountains while backpacking with friends. “We were lost for about 36 hours.” I think that is when my affinity for maps began. “There were news crews and heat seeking helicopters. Two of us followed a game trail down […]
At age 13, Jake Petrosky got lost on the west side of the Great Smoky Mountains while backpacking with friends. “We were lost for about 36 hours.”
I think that is when my affinity for maps began.
“There were news crews and heat seeking helicopters. Two of us followed a game trail down the mountain the next morning, got picked up on a backroad by a ranger, and sent a rescue team for our friend who was injured and couldn’t walk. I think that is when my affinity for maps began.”
The harrowing experience helped guide Jake from an early interest in journalism at Appalachian State University to his career as an urban planner and GIS expert. That, and an elective course in city planning. “The notion that cities don’t design themselves intrigued me. I had never considered that there were men and women with ideas and ideals who sought to shape the built environment for the benefit of the human experience and the natural world.”
Context matters. Public input matters. Interdisciplinary thinking matters.
Jake’s passion for the scientific power of GIS technology to better inform and elevate the creative design process is contagious. “We live in a new age of design. The technology we have at our fingertips enables data-driven planning and visualization like never before.” What Jakes describes is an emerging holistic planning approach called Geodesign.
“LandDesign is at the forefront of Geodesign. As a multi-disciplinary firm, we have a lot of the right people needed to assemble interdisciplinary teams. We are constantly experimenting with new ways to improve our iterative process that brings together engineers, landscape architects, planners, clients, members of the public and other stakeholder groups. We are also building collaborative partnerships with other specialty firms to enable us to tackle even more complex design challenges.”
LandDesign can play a key role in this design renaissance.
“I am really excited about the work we are doing in the public and private sectors; rethinking the public realm, designing active transportation and open space networks, and creating strong towns and unique communities. I believe there is a lot of room for innovation and LandDesign can play a key role in this design renaissance.”
Not surprising, Jake’s bucket list includes wide open spaces and connecting with nature. “All the national parks, Patagonia, Alaska, New Zealand. Lots of rivers. And mountains. And islands. And islands with mountains. Lithuania (Petrosky is Lithuanian), the mother cities of Europe, and a short list of mountain villages from Italy to Austria.” In the meantime, he enjoys fly fishing, kayaking and playing with his son Webb.
Durham: A Growth Center for Revitalization
North Carolina has been ranked the number one growth state according to the U-Haul Migration Trends Report with the Raleigh/Durham area consistently showing high-growth numbers. They have found themselves as number nine on Forbe’s America’s Fastest Growing Cities 2016 with a 2015 growth rate of 1.27% and a projected 0.93% for 2016. Raleigh has led […]
North Carolina has been ranked the number one growth state according to the U-Haul Migration Trends Report with the Raleigh/Durham area consistently showing high-growth numbers. They have found themselves as number nine on Forbe’s America’s Fastest Growing Cities 2016 with a 2015 growth rate of 1.27% and a projected 0.93% for 2016. Raleigh has led the Southeast as an ascendant tech hot-spot which comes as no surprise with the Research Triangle Park making up the center of the Raleigh-Durham region. As Learn NC states, this innovative, research Park has spurred economic growth with over 37,000 jobs and an average salary of $56,000 annually which is 45% larger than the national average. Not only are the job opportunities and educational institutions a driving factor for growth, but North Carolina’s climate and overall quality of life lure future residents to the area. However, with growth comes the need for plans to strategically prepare for the future of the City.
Durham is one of the cities that understands the importance in providing a path for growth that mitigates sprawl, supports infrastructure and sustains the quality of life. The City has been proactive in making plans and positioning themselves for alternative transportation such as transit. They are already seeing successful revitalization projects that are bringing the livelihood back to the community.
A specific area that is seeing exceptional revitalization is Durham’s Government District. An area where a development now known as Gateway Center is oriented to the existing vitality, and which adjoins the future Dillard Street transit stop on land once owned by Hendricks Automotive. Although there are a handful of public service centers such as the corrections department, county court, city solid waste services, and housing authority; there are a number of contributing energy curators that are located in the District. The American Tobacco campus is one of the main job generators in Durham, while the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) and the Durham Bulls baseball stadium provide night life and help employ a sense of culture. Surrounding these city assets are huge underutilized, post-industrial landscapes that yield a great opportunity for redevelopment and the infusion of vitality to the Government District.
As visionaries and master planners, we recognized the long-term value and prominence of this property and began looking at the broader context with Citisculpt in 2013. A primary objective is bridging the divide created by Hwy 147 to the communities to the south. Fayetteville Street and the distinction of this site from the freeway provide for a true ‘gateway’ moment to the City and the emerging district. We have guided the master planning effort for the +/- 15 acres into a unique urban center that brings the community together. The initial 300+-unit multifamily residences are set to be occupied in 2017. The full build-out of the Gateway Center will have 200,000 SF of class A office, 145 key hotel with 20 condos, a companion hotel, ground floor retail and restaurants, and another 76-unit multifamily residences. To deliver this vertically integrated solution, the development team has formed many partnerships from both the private and public side of the table. One of the parking structures for Gateway Center is intended to be in partnership with the City. The development team has also aligned with GoTriangle to provide future Right-of-Way for the transit system within Pettigrew Street, as well as future provisions for transit parking for the Dillard Street Station. Discussions are underway with NCDOT and the City with regard to a potential land swap and implementation of a bold new district park at the intersection of Fayetteville Street and Pettigrew Street, and the on-going negotiations with NCDOT regarding the much needed street connectivity to Jackie Robinson Boulevard, which is a controlled access street.
The complexity of the development deal, and the public infrastructure creates a unique permitting process. LandDesign has orchestrated several Special Use Permits and Variances to accomplish the design objectives of the development in real-time with the project site permitting. With a tight delivery to market and a dynamic new vision for one of Durham’s primary gateways, LandDesign’s expertise has built an implementable strategy for Gateway Center, as well as created value for the adjoining underutilized parcels that, once developed, will create one of the most exciting urban environments in Durham.
To learn more about the growth of development in Durham, visit Business View’s article.
What Goats and Native Plants Have in Common
By: Kaitlin Craig, Landscape Architect Design Intern My original theory to replace lawn mowers in America and solve the issues of lawn management, consisted of everyone buying goats. However, it turns out goats don’t really like to eat just grass and prefer brush and weeds, too. Following this little fact came more issues with my […]
By: Kaitlin Craig, Landscape Architect Design Intern
My original theory to replace lawn mowers in America and solve the issues of lawn management, consisted of everyone buying goats. However, it turns out goats don’t really like to eat just grass and prefer brush and weeds, too. Following this little fact came more issues with my livestock vegetation management theory. Then it occurred to me, “Why don’t we just use less lawn?”
Let’s face it, lawns are high maintenance – you have to mow them and use lots of water (if you don’t water it regularly and evenly you get these beautiful brown patches). According to studies by the research group, Milesi in the United States, there is more surface area “devoted to lawns than to individual irrigated crops such as corn or wheat.”
I will admit, there is a purpose and place for everything. Lawns are great for recreational fields, golf and for people to walk, lay and/or play in. However, road median lawns and lawns in front of commercial businesses, residential front yards and parking lots, don’t have much logical reasoning. I see lawns as a place for people (or pets) to use, but they are are not actively using the lawn, then why have it?
A lawn does create a nice plinth for our lovely architecture and planting beds; however, that doesn’t mean it’s the only solution for creating an eye resting surface. Try selecting plants that are native or well-adapted to your local environment. This will lead to less water use and maintenance. I emphasize the less maintenance because I don’t know about you, but sometimes plant management is hard to fit into a busy schedule. Some of my favorite plants in the Texas region that I recommend are the Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima), the line flower commonly used in floral arrangements called Liatris (Liatris spicata) and the Pink Buttercups (Oenothera speciose). You can learn more about the benefits of a native garden from this visual case study by the Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment here.
By all means, if you want still want to buy a goat, they are FAUN-tastic animals but, make sure to do your research beforehand. They are notorious escape artists and need a good size backyard. Nevertheless, it can be said for both goats and lawns that there is a purpose and place for everything.
Creating Places the Entire Family Can Enjoy
Dreaming of a place to relive the nostalgia of your childhood camp experience while creating new memories with your children and family? The essence of a true multigenerational, summer getaway awaits at Camp Lake James where you can shut off your phone, unplug and enjoy your natural surroundings and company. Just a short drive […]
Dreaming of a place to relive the nostalgia of your childhood camp experience while creating new memories with your children and family? The essence of a true multigenerational, summer getaway awaits at Camp Lake James where you can shut off your phone, unplug and enjoy your natural surroundings and company.
Just a short drive east of Asheville, NC, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Camp Lake James offers activities for all ages – swimming, boating, kayaking and fishing to name a few. The grounds include a social hall, amphitheater, expedition center, pool and spa area, fitness facility, natural beach, docks, butterfly garden, tennis courts, and access to community trails. In the evening, take in the crisp summer night air and the view of the peaceful lake while sharing a few scary stories and roasting marshmallows around the fire pit at the outdoor amphitheater.
LandDesign had the exciting privilege of providing the landscape and hardscape architectural design of this lakeside retreat. One important feature of the Camp’s design is the preservation of the natural habitat. Plant species and products were carefully selected to conserve 50%-60% more water than an otherwise non-regulated irrigation system. Nearly 6,000 individual trees, shrubs, perennials, ferns, ornamental grasses and sedums, representing over 100 different native species, were installed along the grounds. Look for the rare native “Ben Franklin” history tree at the intersection of three trails.
Another perk of Camp Lake James? The educational component. If you’re looking to appreciate and explore the natural historical character of the camp, head on down to the Expedition Center. This hub of nature programming allows you to create fish habitat, build bluebird boxes and preserve green space. The kiddie pools allow for adults to kick back under the shade sail that acts as a UV absorbent and protector, while the children enjoy tracing the tracks of native animals in the pool deck – creating a uniquely playful and educational area. Whether you prefer exploring the shoreline in kayaks, hiking the many trails, or relaxing in Adirondack chairs – there’s something for all.
With the last stretch of summer among us, we encourage you to go with friends, family or your significant other, and experience a getaway customized to the individuals in your group. Trust us, the nature will speak for itself.
Camp Lake James was awarded three awards: NC Chapter Award of Merit, American Society of Landscape Architects (2009), Excellence in Irrigation Award, American Society of Irrigation Consultants (2009), and NC Chapter Award of Merit, American Institute of Architects (2008).
Wandering, Wondering: Musings of a Hoosier in the Land of the Pines
By: Katie Klug, Landscape Architect Design Intern Aside from an exceptional firm, a unique location was one of the qualities I was looking for in an internship experience. A born-and-raised Hoosier, I was seeking to expand my boundaries outside of the Midwest this summer. LandDesign has provided me with the opportunity to check both of […]
By: Katie Klug, Landscape Architect Design Intern
Aside from an exceptional firm, a unique location was one of the qualities I was looking for in an internship experience. A born-and-raised Hoosier, I was seeking to expand my boundaries outside of the Midwest this summer. LandDesign has provided me with the opportunity to check both of those boxes on my internship list.
Charlotte is a geographic gem!
Seasoned travelers often preach about the power of traveling and wandering, as it exposes and opens one’s mind to the outside world. Beyond exploring new landscapes, immersing oneself in different cultures is refreshing. As a student of landscape architecture, I may be biased, but I agree with Yi-Fu Tuan’s theory of topophilia, or in other words – people’s natural bond with, or affinity for, place. Charlotte and the surrounding regions have an excellent sense of place. So much so, that it is easy to feel connected here.
Today, it’s easy to get swept into the current of a fast-paced, plugged-in world. As contemporary designers, we shouldn’t forget about the lessons of our ancestors. Take Lawrence Halprin for example, who drew much inspiration from hikes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and preached about the ever-changing and cyclical nature of nature.
In the short time I’ve had to explore my new City, I have been able to fuel my wanderlust and travel to some notable areas with breathtaking landscapes. I have visited Crowders Mountain in Gastonia, NC; Wilmington Beach in Wilmington, NC; Historic Downtown Charleston, SC; Sullivan’s Island in Charleston, SC; Raven Rock in Linville, NC; Black Balsam Knob and Skinny Dip Falls in East Fork, NC; Blue Ridge Parkway in Canton, NC; and Catawba Falls in Old Fort, NC.
My adventures in the Southeast have been much more than just weekend getaways to the nearby beaches or mountains, they have been inspirational experiences that will inevitably influence, inform, and grow my designs in the future…all while feeding my affinity for nature. #winning
Never Stop Innovating
By: Shelby Harden, Landscape Architect Design Intern As landscape architects, we will embody many roles over the course of our careers: designer, environmental steward, urban planner, storyteller and innovator. Particularly in the tech-driven world we live in today, embracing innovations is paramount to good design and successful careers. One of my favorite aspects of […]
By: Shelby Harden, Landscape Architect Design Intern
As landscape architects, we will embody many roles over the course of our careers: designer, environmental steward, urban planner, storyteller and innovator. Particularly in the tech-driven world we live in today, embracing innovations is paramount to good design and successful careers.
One of my favorite aspects of landscape architecture is placemaking. To design a successful place, with its own unique character, we must be able to understand its history, sense of scale, and feel the space’s potential to be something great. During my internship at LandDesign, I have had the opportunity to work on both local and international projects. While a biergarten project in Fairfax, Virginia might be a short drive from the office, it’s a bit more difficult to send everyone in the studio over to Mexico to understand how the mountains dwarf the urban landscape in the valley.
This is where emerging technologies become invaluable tools for designers. Virtual reality headsets, such as the Samsung Gear VR, allow you to take a 3D-model from SketchUp or Lumion and virtually stand inside the model. You can turn your head and see more of the space that has been rendered by the headset to allow the user to see depth and get a sense of scale. While it does look silly to see someone in the office with a headset on twisting around in a circle to look at a virtual skyline or pointing at something only they can see, I have seen firsthand how it helps us understand the space better, thus be better designers.
The Gear VR uses a smartphone cradled in the headset to render the 3D-model. Other mobile technology, such as augmented reality (AR), is already starting to integrate into a normal lifestyle for many. Pokemon Go, an AR mobile game, has been a tremendous phenomenon since its launch several weeks ago. The game uses GPS and aggregated location data (much like landscape architects employ when using a program like GIS) to populate a map with points of interest to travel to. These points of interest, or Pokestops, are real-life locations, generally monuments, historic landmarks, local business, or public art.
My experience with the game has been overwhelmingly positive. The psychology behind playing a game is the instant gratification one gets by leveling up or capturing a new creature in the game. Pokemon Go has turned this into an incentive for people to explore their city in a new way. Instead of taking the quickest route to my destination, I have found myself taking a different detour while playing the game and finding hidden gems around my neighborhood that I would have never bothered to explore on my own. Since the game has launched, I have noticed an increase in people walking around my neighborhood, gathering by landmarks, and interacting more with each other and the landscape.
Designers must be flexible and open to new ideas, techniques and technologies to continue creating successful spaces. By understanding and utilizing new tech like virtual reality and augmented reality, we are able to gain new perspectives and think differently about how we design. This innovative shift in how we interact with our environment is the cusp of a new paradigm, one that designers must stay abreast with to continue creating places that matter.
A Day in the Life of a LandDesigner Intern
By: Lauren Delbridge, Landscape Architect Design Intern Interning with LandDesign has taught me so much about the field of Landscape Architecture, but even more about what it’s like to be a part of collaborative and enthusiastic firm culture. Each day spent in the office, I learn what working as a LandDesign intern means to me. […]
By: Lauren Delbridge, Landscape Architect Design Intern
Interning with LandDesign has taught me so much about the field of Landscape Architecture, but even more about what it’s like to be a part of collaborative and enthusiastic firm culture. Each day spent in the office, I learn what working as a LandDesign intern means to me.
Working for LandDesign means:
- Coffee or tea at 8:00am (and often many more refills throughout the day).
- Bringing a sweater or space heater because good work clearly takes place in freezing temperatures.
- Learning AutoCAD commands that make your life so much easier.
- Learning shortcuts for any program that make your life so much easier.
- Grabbing lunch from the local Harris Teeter.
- Knowing ‘cruise industry news’ forward and backward.
- Learning the lengths of the longest cruise ships.
- Knowing everything about cruise ships.
- Researching precedents that I’ve never heard of before.
- Knowing how to change the roll of paper on the plotter.
- Getting to know the other great LandDesign interns.
- Froyo birthday parties.
- 4th floor nerf gun wars.
- Asking questions.
- Researching how to grow coconut palms.
- Become a master at scanning.
- Asking more questions (usually about AutoCAD).
- Learning all that you can from the people around you.
- Learning that relationships matter.
Although my months spent with LandDesign have been short, I am grateful for the opportunities this internship has given me. I’ve enjoyed experiencing a new city and work culture and I am thankful for the warm welcome LandDesign has given me and all of the interns.
On the Run in a New City
By: Griselda Ruan, Civil Engineer Design Intern I check the weather, lace up my sneakers, and put my headphones in. It’s a good day when it’s 7:00 PM and Florida’s daily thunderstorm has passed by, meaning it’s time to wind down with a nice run around town. Shortly after moving to Orlando to start my […]
By: Griselda Ruan, Civil Engineer Design Intern
I check the weather, lace up my sneakers, and put my headphones in. It’s a good day when it’s 7:00 PM and Florida’s daily thunderstorm has passed by, meaning it’s time to wind down with a nice run around town. Shortly after moving to Orlando to start my internship with LandDesign, I knew I had to find at least one good running route that I could rely on. I know, I know – running? It’s Orlando! As a Floridian, I’ve enjoyed Orlando as a tourist plenty of times, but I wanted to experience it as a local. What better way to integrate myself as a local than getting to know my new city through a daily run? And so, my new routine began.
My first run (in a long time) was near my apartment at a versatile park with a dog park (need I say more?) Many recreation fields, an outdoor hockey rink, a skate park, and the cutest pups were the main attractions. The family-friendly park definitely satisfied my expectations and allowed me to get back on track as well. I wanted more though: a more scenic trail with more than one or two runners. On my way home after work, I drove passed a lake just outside of downtown. It caught my attention due to the amount of running enthusiasts surrounding the park. It’s always nice to be around people who share the same interest as you and encourage you to keep going, so I gave it a try. Lake Underhill Park includes a fitness course along the trail – probably the closest I’ll ever get to a gym, honestly. Running 2-3 laps around the 1.5 mile loop trail, smelling the trees, and seeing downtown Orlando peeking out above the horizon of the lake – it was paradise.
A few weeks into my internship, I learned through a friend about a running group that meets every Wednesday just blocks away from LandDesign. Running for Brews (RFB). Yes, there is beer dangling at the finish line just waiting to be engulfed by thirsty runners. Well not literally, but a group of people do meet downtown, run a 5k, and then mingle over a few cold ones. Sounds amazing, right? My thoughts exactly. The route, located in downtown Orlando, varies every week, and running with a large group makes it even more challenging as there are regulars who seem impossible to keep up with. The route usually starts or ends at Lake Eola (which, fun fact, is actually a sink hole). Ah, nature is amazing. I will always choose to exercise outdoors over indoors…unless there’s a torrential downpour happening at 7:00 PM. I’ve met the most wonderful people through RFB, and not only do they motivate me to not give up when I’m burning out towards the end of the route, but they’ve allowed me to build these new relationships that make me feel like I’m home.
Working with LandDesign, I am able to be a part of creating developments like these that bring communities together. As a civil engineering intern, it is important for me to not only understand the technical aspects of land development design, but also the gratifying experience that public places, such as these beautiful lakes and parks, provide. I think it’s safe to say, my new running habit has helped achieve that.
More Than Just a 9 to 5
By: Andrew Breit, Civil Engineer Design Intern Thursday night. To some it may mean one more day until relaxation begins or to some – even reliving their college years with “Thirsty Thursday.” But to those at LandDesign who are part of the team, Trivia Matters, it means trivia night at The Local. Within my […]
By: Andrew Breit, Civil Engineer Design Intern
Thursday night. To some it may mean one more day until relaxation begins or to some – even reliving their college years with “Thirsty Thursday.” But to those at LandDesign who are part of the team, Trivia Matters, it means trivia night at The Local.
Within my first week of working for LandDesign, I kept hearing the buzz about Trivia Thursdays and that I should definitely attend. Starting in a new city and not knowing anyone, I thought I might as well see what it was all about. After work, everyone meets up in the lobby and makes the hop, skip and a jump to The Local (crossing our fingers that it doesn’t rain the whole walk). Once we get there, it is usually a mad dash to secure one of the larger tables, due to the fact that we usually bring enough participants to make a small village. As soon as we nail down prime real estate, we order drinks and appetizers and the games begin.
There are four rounds of trivia with random themes for each round, such as things that start with M, Famous Movies and the dreaded Family Feud round that causes some heated debates. While we wait for our scores in between rounds, we converse about family back home, life stories and even unusual facts about someone like not being able to burp or an odd obsession with croissanwiches. Once the scores are all tallied up, we cross our fingers to see if we make the final Jeopardy round. If we do, we pick someone that has the best luck at answering a nearly impossible question like “What is the 4th largest city in North Dakota?” I’ll let you in on a little secret, the strategy is usually bet nothing and hope other people bet more and get it wrong. If we are lucky enough to be at the top of the scoresheet, we win the beloved grand prize of a discount on our bill for next week. While we can’t say we’re reigning champs on a weekly basis, it is something I look forward to every Thursday.
I had no idea the sense of family and community everyone shares at LandDesign, both in and out of the office. There has never been a moment I have felt overwhelmed or alone. To me, Trivia Night wasn’t about knowing “who and what order the top 15 active passing yard leaders are in the NFL,” but it was about spending time getting to know people I enjoy being around and cultivating friendships that will extend past this internship. This was especially meaningful for me when I had a family emergency this summer. I am so appreciative of how understanding LandDesign was in a difficult time for my family and I. So I have to say thank you, LandDesign, for making me feel right at home in Charlotte this summer and providing me the opportunity to drop some knowledge every Thursday.
Why Landscape Architecture? Why LandDesign?
By: Mack Drzayich, Landscape Design Intern My first exposure to landscape design was in the private residential sector. It was great being able to work one-on-one with homeowners to beautify their surroundings. I loved it. But I still yearned to create spaces that were meaningful on a larger scale – places that reached beyond the […]
By: Mack Drzayich, Landscape Design Intern
My first exposure to landscape design was in the private residential sector. It was great being able to work one-on-one with homeowners to beautify their surroundings. I loved it. But I still yearned to create spaces that were meaningful on a larger scale – places that reached beyond the backyard and benefited communities at large. A great deal of the individual experience is influenced by the bigger picture, and I wanted to help paint that picture. So naturally, my wife and I packed our bags and moved across the country for graduate school in landscape architecture at Penn State University. Two years and two kids later, I’ve found myself in Charlotte, NC, interning with LandDesign!
Wait, hold on. Let’s rewind. Why landscape architecture? And why LandDesign? (And while you’re probably wondering Why two kids in grad school?!? I’ll just stick to the first two).
Landscape architects bring a unique skillset to urban design, and as the world’s population continues to transition to urban living, I sense that we will play an increasingly essential role. There are a lot of players involved in shaping cities, including urban planners, architects, engineers, environmental scientists and developers, to name a few. Landscape architecture in many ways is a blend of all of these fields – art, ecology and sociology all in one. And I’ll never forget what world-renowned architect, James Wines, said in a lecture at Penn State, “Landscape architects are the true heroes in city sustainability.” Green matters, and we have the chance to be social and environmental advocates in urban developments – notoriously harsh environments. Landscape architects aren’t just minimizing damage, but reversing it, and yes, I wanted to be a part of it.
So why LandDesign? LandDesign’s ethos – creating places that matter – struck a chord with me. While simple, it embodied my earlier desires of doing something that actually had a positive impact on broader society and the environment beyond one person’s backyard. Thankfully, I’ve come to find out that this notion of creating places that matter isn’t just a slogan. I experience it at the drawing table, I hear it in the way my coworkers talk and I see it reflected in the work that goes out the door. In our Charlotte office, we are truly elevating Charlotte’s culture and quality of life through meaningful design, and I’m lucky to take part in it. I will also add that I am grateful for the culture at LandDesign. They value not only design and professional development, but community involvement and family, because well, you know…two kids.
The Tools, Tricks and Techniques behind Landscape Architecture
By: Natalie Spinola, Landscape Design Intern As landscape architects, designers and engineers, we understand the importance of being able to express our ideas both accurately and creatively. We use a wide range of software programs from Adobe products, AutoCAD, Revit, Sketchup and Lumion as forms of communication in this profession. However, sometimes the most effective […]
By: Natalie Spinola, Landscape Design Intern
As landscape architects, designers and engineers, we understand the importance of being able to express our ideas both accurately and creatively. We use a wide range of software programs from Adobe products, AutoCAD, Revit, Sketchup and Lumion as forms of communication in this profession. However, sometimes the most effective way to express our ideas, concepts and design solutions is through hand drawing. At LandDesign, I had the opportunity to see how all forms of expression are used in professional practice while also learning new tools, tricks and techniques.
Coming from a master’s program where my peers and I had different undergraduate degrees, that for the most part were not related to design, architecture or art, we were all slightly intimidated by technical programs like AutoCAD, ArcGIS and even our own ability to hand draw. We had to learn the very basics in a short period of time. However, the more I use these programs, practice hand rendering and receive advice from others, the more I learn and grow as a designer. The experienced professionals at LandDesign are continuously providing new shortcuts, tools and tricks on how to get the job done faster and more efficiently. I also had the opportunity to learn Land F/X, an AutoCAD plug-in program that allows you to create construction details and specific planting plans without the headache of altering and counting acres of vegetation. Where has this program been the past two years of grad school?!
As diagramming is heavily stressed by my professors, it is great to see it is used in the professional environment. Basic diagramming can be a very successful way to communicate concepts to a client or to show an understanding of existing versus proposed conditions. It has been especially useful over the past two months when working on larger scale master planning projects to help illustrate and understand pieces of landscape such as water systems, park and green space systems, spatial relationships and connections and land use. I also had the opportunity to work on a few illustrative renderings using a mix of Photoshop and Google Sketchup. I found that brushes really go a long way to create textures that make your image look much more realistic and appealing.
I am eager to take these new tools, tricks and techniques that I have learned throughout my internship and apply them to my own work as I finish my last year of grad school and continue pursuing a career in landscape architecture. I have found that by keeping up with technology and having the thirst to learn new innovative and creative ways to express your ideas, will not only save you from being overwhelmed and prevent you from falling behind in this competitive market, but it will also save you time and money in the long run.
Advice from an Intern: Get an Internship
By: Hannah Thomas, Landscape Design Intern As a student in the field of landscape architecture, I think that at times the profession can seem daunting and intimidating. Will I remember all of this information? Are my renderings up to par? Will I be working 80 hours a week? I’m here to squander those negative, naïve […]
By: Hannah Thomas, Landscape Design Intern
As a student in the field of landscape architecture, I think that at times the profession can seem daunting and intimidating. Will I remember all of this information? Are my renderings up to par? Will I be working 80 hours a week? I’m here to squander those negative, naïve questions running through your head with one simple piece of advice: Get an internship.
Trust me, you won’t regret it. Any professional experience will help bring your academic work into perspective, and give context and reason to why your professors are making you do the crazy things that you’re up all night doing. At any firm there is always an opportunity to learn from anyone and everyone. But at a diverse and innovative firm like LandDesign, not only will you learn a lot, you will also be given hands-on experience with real projects, become familiar with new design programs, and meet a lot of welcoming, inspiring design professionals. Looking at your future-self as a Landscape Architect shouldn’t be scary, it should be exciting and an opportunity for you to make a difference in the world by creating a place that matters.
To me, this is one of the most exciting aspects of being a landscape architect – our profession’s ability to make a positive change to our Earth’s landscape. We have the capability and skills to make the landscape a more habitable and enjoyable place to live, not only for humans, but for native plants, animal species, and natural resources. This realization has led to my professional goal to enhance the health of all living, ecological and natural assets through creative design. Hence, why I was drawn to LandDesign, a firm that prioritizes a community’s culture, natural context and ecological resources, despite varying project scales and types, to create a place that matters.
Nationally-Recognized Hospitality Designer Joins LandDesign
Keith Bongirno Named Florida Director of Planning & Landscape Architecture ORLANDO, Fla. (July 6, 2016) – Award-winning designer of resort, hospitality and destination projects worldwide Keith Bongirno, ASLA, CLARB, has joined LandDesign as director of planning and landscape architecture. Based in the firm’s Orlando office, Bongirno will play an integral role in LandDesign’s strategic vision […]
Keith Bongirno Named Florida Director of Planning & Landscape Architecture
ORLANDO, Fla. (July 6, 2016) – Award-winning designer of resort, hospitality and destination projects worldwide Keith Bongirno, ASLA, CLARB, has joined LandDesign as director of planning and landscape architecture. Based in the firm’s Orlando office, Bongirno will play an integral role in LandDesign’s strategic vision to create artistic and creative places by developing the firm’s emerging Destinations practice.
Bongirno is a leader in the hospitality design industry whose work has received numerous awards including several top honors from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). He has built a reputation for creating immersive guest experiences with a portfolio that includes large-scale themed resort properties, high-end destinations and environmentally-sensitive residential developments in the U.S., Caribbean, Asia and Middle East. Examples include:
- WaterColor Inn Beach Site, WaterColor, Fla.
- Casa Monica Hotel, St. Augustine, Fla.
- Celebration Hotel, Celebration, Fla.
- Inspiration Villas, Sand Destin, Fla.
- Redfish Village, Blue Mountain Beach, Fla.
- Hilton Grand Vacation Club, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Mount Melville Country Club and Resort, St. Andrews, Scotland
- Theme Park Resort, Marne la Vallee, France
- Hollywood Hotel, Hong Kong, China
“Keith has a passion for creating places that are engaging, entertaining and aesthetically outstanding,” said LandDesign CEO Rhett Crocker. “His 30-year career has focused on extraordinary designs that immerse people in the experience. This focus integrates well with our commitment to creating memorable and authentic places.”
Bongirno co-founded the Winter Park, Fla. architecture firm Meyer, Bongirno & Craig in 1996. Clients included Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens. In 2000, the firm became MSI following mergers with design firms in Columbus, Ohio and Pasadena, Calif. In 2011, he joined Stantec (NYSE: STN), a Canadian firm with eight Florida offices.
For nearly four decades, LandDesign has provided urban planning, landscape architecture, civil engineering, and branding to clients across the globe. With offices in Charlotte, NC; Washington DC; Dallas Tex.; Orlando, Fla. and San Francisco, Calif., the firm’s 140+ professional staff collaborate within an integrated platform of expertise, creativity and the latest communication technology. This approach allows LandDesign’s clients the advantage of the firm’s depth of services and expertise providing creative and sustainable project solutions for communities and destinations worldwide. The firm’s portfolio represents award-winning projects from urban design and large-scale community planning to intimate spaces – all with a core goal of creating meaningful places to live, work and play. www.landdesign.com.
Symphony Park: Charlotte’s Most Entertaining Retention Pond
Only in Charlotte does one look forward to spending Sunday evenings in June laying on a blanket next to a 1.87-acre retention pond. For 14 years, Symphony Park and its visually-striking 2,700 square foot covered stage, has been home to the Charlotte Symphony’s Summer Pops series. Luring an average of 4,000 people each weekend […]
Only in Charlotte does one look forward to spending Sunday evenings in June laying on a blanket next to a 1.87-acre retention pond.
For 14 years, Symphony Park and its visually-striking 2,700 square foot covered stage, has been home to the Charlotte Symphony’s Summer Pops series. Luring an average of 4,000 people each weekend to picnic on the lawn, friends and family take in some of the best of the Charlotte cultural scene with a glass of pinot grigio.
We imagine that most of the folks staking out their 10×10 of green space hours before the concert begins aren’t concerned that the park was designed to capture and treat the runoff from the surrounding 60 acres of development, and has also improved downstream flooding for adjacent property owners. But they shouldn’t be. Symphony Park was meant to be a destination. A place for the Charlotte Symphony to extend its’ reach within the greater Charlotte community. An urban oasis between the mall and adjacent office developments and residential neighborhoods. A place to bring people together.
The multi-functional park hosts an array of events and festivals throughout the year including Summer Pops; Beer, Bourbon & BBQ; Movies under the Stars; Latin American Festival; Picnic at SouthPark; Sunset Jazz Festival; MS Walk; and the annual Holiday Tree Lighting.
This popular summer series, voted “Best Concert Series” and one of “50 Things Every Charlottean Should Do” in the city by the readers of Charlotte Magazine, is conducted by the spirited Albert-George Schram. This Sunday’s concert presents a particular theme we are rather fond of, where the featured music was written with places in mind. Hence the name, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. We hope to see you out there enjoying the symphonic sound.
Click here to purchase Summer Pops tickets.
Five Engineers Pass State Board PE Exam
Five months ago, a handful of our civil engineers decided to embark upon the dedicated task of studying for their Professional Engineering exam. If you ask any one of them, they’ll tell you it wasn’t a walk in Romare Bearden Park. They put in countless long days, scaled back on the #Beer30’s and hit the […]
Five months ago, a handful of our civil engineers decided to embark upon the dedicated task of studying for their Professional Engineering exam. If you ask any one of them, they’ll tell you it wasn’t a walk in Romare Bearden Park. They put in countless long days, scaled back on the #Beer30’s and hit the books hard. On April 15th, they sat for eight hours to take a test in which they wouldn’t hear the results for over a month. Well, we’re happy to announce that five of our engineers successfully passed their State Board of Examiners Professional Engineering Exam. Congratulations to Brian Crafford, Aaron Wagoner, Tyler Howell, Matt Grigsby and Eric Lemieux!
Brian Crafford has been with LandDesign for three years, and in the industry for seven. He graduated from UNC Charlotte with a Master of Science in Engineering and concentration in civil/water resources. Brian works as a Project Engineer on the design and production of residential and commercial construction documents. He has a strong desire to learn and grow professionally, while producing practical, cost effective design solutions for our clients. Fun Facts: Outside of being a go-getter at work, Brian enjoys cycling, swimming and participating in Triathlons.
Aaron Wagoner, now a PE, has been with LandDesign for four years as a Design Engineer. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University shortly before going to work for a small architecture firm for a year. Aaron’s projects have ranged from the LYNX Blue Line Light Rail extension, to storm drainage improvement projects for the City of Charlotte to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional projects as well. Fun fact: Aaron is a huge Carolina Panthers and Wolfpack fan while also enjoying outdoor activities such as camping and backpacking.
Tyler Howell, now a PE, has been with LandDesign for four years after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from UNC Charlotte. He provides engineering design services for residential and commercial land development projects, focusing on stormwater management, erosion control, and site planning. Tyler is a passionate designer, delivering the places where people live, work and play. Fun Facts: He would like to experience as much of the world as possible, and make an effort to give something back along the way. He also enjoys playing golf and reading.
Matt Grigsby has been with LandDesign for three years, after graduating from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. From schematic design to full permitting, his focus lies in commercial site design, implementing skills with stormwater design, roadway design, wastewater collection, water distribution, erosion control, etc. Matt is very driven, with great interest in how his work affects other people. He finds joy in seeing a project through to completion. Fun fact: In his free time, he enjoys coaching youth baseball, camping and travelling to watch his Auburn Tigers. War Eagle!
Eric Lemieux has been with LandDesign for one year after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and minor in Green Engineering from Virginia Tech. His main area of focus is in site development, with a heavy skill interest in graphic design. He believes the most beneficial experiences are ones that expose you to something new, or through a mentorship within an organization. Fun fact: Eric enjoys spending a week at the beach, walking a round of golf, getting out for an early morning run, and most importantly, getting a group from the office out for trivia on Thursdays – #triviamatters.
Time to celebrate! #PEexamsmatter
LandDesign Gains New Associate
We are pleased to announce that Adam Martin has been promoted to an Associate of the firm in the Charlotte office! From growing up in the Coastal South and tinkering in his grandparent’s old barn, Adam realized his appreciation for the landscape at a young age. Later while working and traveling the world with […]
We are pleased to announce that Adam Martin has been promoted to an Associate of the firm in the Charlotte office!
From growing up in the Coastal South and tinkering in his grandparent’s old barn, Adam realized his appreciation for the landscape at a young age. Later while working and traveling the world with the US military he came to understand the importance of equitable place making in urban environments. As a former US Army Ranger with 4 combat tours, Adam believes service and duty can be shown through socially conscious design for our communities. Hailing from Mississippi State and UNC Charlotte’s Masters of Urban Design program, he has continued to push boundaries in the studio since he began working at LandDesign in 2012. From complex urban mixed-use projects such as OneDurham, to the RailTrail Framework Plan, he most enjoys crafting a great story about great places.
Adam is involved in the design and management on a range of projects from intimate courtyard amenity spaces, multifamily housing and commercial projects, to master planned communities and open spaces. His primary focus is on holistic land development solutions and coordinating urban infill projects with commuter infrastructure. He is most frequently involved in the visioning of urban infill projects; and campus projects for LandDesign’s Charlotte based academic clients. Nearly all of Adam’s projects involve creating physical and social connections to public amenities and transit infrastructure while integrating them with built and natural environment.
We can expect many inspiring moments from him in the coming years, as well as a solid mentoring of incoming staff in our culture and craft. Congrats, Adam!