Kammeron Hughes, 2013
I am living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and working for AECOM Malaysia as a Landscape Architect. I got my job in a really straightforward fashion, applying online to AECOMs website, phone interviewing with the director of Southeast Asia, then receiving a job offer one month later.
The combination of my degrees is what set me apart for this specific position. AECOM Malaysia was in the midst of creating a Landscape Design Guidelines document for the city of Kuala Lumpur as part of the River of Life project. River of Life is a river cleaning and beautification project along 10.7 km of the Klang River. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and my shiny new MLA, I was ready to work on a design guidelines document, written in english, that ended up being over 1000 pages long.
I currently work on three major projects. A handful of bungalow designs in a community southeast of Kuala Lumpur, the aforementioned River of Life Landscape Design Guidelines, and also under the River of Life scope, I am the resident Landscape Architect for the initial design precinct that is currently under construction in the Kuala Lumpur historical center. I spend a quarter of my week on site in client meetings, technical meetings, and various presentations. The remainder is spent either proofing things on the ground, supporting my design team in updating and amending construction drawings, or reworking designs that must be changed because of some issue we have discovered on site.
Prior to landing at Kuala Lumpur International Airport this January, I had never been to Asia. Living in Kuala Lumpur, I am a few hours flight from truly incredible locations.
Jen Krava, 2013
I am in Boston; living in Somerville and attending school at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). I went straight from the MLA program to the GSD. My current program (Master of Design Studies with a focus on Art, Design and the Public Domain) and the U of M MLA program are quite different. Not only in topic and content, but in project scope and scale. Here I must actually build the public interventions that I conceptualize. The limits on the projects are different, and it was difficult at first to scale a project and determine realistic goals based on my skill set and concept generation. However, I am able to use things that I learned in the MLA program every day, on every project.
I realized through the MLA program that I was interested in public art but that it was much broader than I had been exposed to and consisted of many definitions. I wanted to explore the idea that art within the public realm can take many forms, follow various theories, and address people and sites in ways that landscape architecture can't necessarily reach. I ultimately would like to practice a combination of these two design professions, and in order to do so I needed further education that focuses specifically on the concepts and theories behind art and design within the public realm.
Eric Olsen, 2013
I live in New York City and work as a project manager for the office of Ken Smith Landscape Architect (KSLA) in Manhattan. After finishing up my MLA at UMN in spring of 2013, I took some time off to recharge. In October I picked up the job search.I worked on my network and had a few leads in the first month I was in the city. Two months after I moved to NYC, one of my landscape architect friends mentioned he knew KSLA was looking for help and that they’d probably be interested in hiring an entry level person. I went in for an interview, and shortly thereafter they emailed me and offered me a position.
I am currently involved in a number of different projects with varying roles at KSLA. It also allows for a great mix of individual and team oriented work. We often partner with other firms, artists, designers on large and complex projects so collaboration across and between diverse fields is a plus. I am splitting my time between a number of different projects. One as a part of a small team where my role is to help facilitate and complete drawing sets for various stages of the project with other firms.
I am working as a part of a team here at the office that is developing plans for the landscape components of the The World Towers project in Mumbai, India in partnership with Pei Cobb Freed. Very cool project, and a blast to work with some brilliant people from the amazing PCF. A trip here and there to India for team/client meetings is nothing to turn my nose up at either I suppose. I am also currently acting as Project Manager on two projects KSLA is doing. The first is in Virginia and is a design for a new downtown park, the second is a very interesting streetscape project in Louisville, KY rooted in social spaces and interaction in the pedestrian realm.
Laura Risseeuw, 2011
I am living in London and working at the AECOM London office in the landscape architecture studio. My education at UMN gave me the tools and knowledge to succeed at the Bartlett School of Architecture for further education (MAUD). Being in another academic environment allowed me to appreciate just how much I learned in my time at the U; both in terms of factual knowledge and critical design skills as well as the ability to think for myself and how to work with other personalities. The contacts from UMN were invaluable for finding the position I currently have. Without the alumni network and the generosity and help of another alum I wouldn't be where I am now.
One of the best parts of working such a large office is the variety of work and responsibilities. I have the opportunity to work on large international projects like a world cup stadium in the Middle East, a high-end resort in the Mediterranean, and also small residential projects near the London office. I choose materials and plants for some projects and on others I simply draw the line work in CAD and Rhino. As a less experienced person in the office I work on everything from conceptual design to details as needed.
Matthew Traucht, 2013
I live in Washington DC and work as the Project Manager of The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s What’s Out There documentation program, which is focused on raising the visibility of historic and designed landscapes.
Upon graduation, I received the Garden Club of Virginia Research Fellowship which provided a small stipend to live at and document a historic landscape. I was selected to study the Reynolds Homestead near the Blue Ridge Mountains, the boyhood home of the founders of Reynolds Tobacco and Reynolds Aluminum. I spent three months conducting fieldwork and archival studies resulting in the production of a Cultural Landscape Report to guide future development of that National Historic Landmark property. In DC I had the change to meet with Charles Birnbaum and discussed an opportunity to explore working with TCLF. Upon completion of the GCV fellowship, I moved to the District and began work. Though I started out as an intern, a vacancy about four months into my work at TCLF resulted in my accelerated advancement to my current role.
On a daily basis, I employ the research skills I developed while a student. Because we are focused on landscape architecture, the history, theory, and design education I received at UMN are tools I call on every day. I conduct research of the cultural history of landscape design. Mostly I am focused on the work of landscape architects but also enjoy learning about vernacular and ethnographic development of historic sites. I lead a university partnership program which allows me to work with faculty and students on regionally-focused research of landscapes and designers.