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Landscape Architects Host Real-World Design Workshop for FIU Students

FIU Students at landscape architecture design workshop

Kimley-Horn hosted the Kimley-Horn/FIU Design Collab, an all-day landscape architecture design workshop for students at Florida International University, focusing on authentic processes and parameters that reflect what it is like to work in the industry.

Five Kimley-Horn employees—Gregory González, PLA; Michelle Latte, PLA; Sami Trinchetto; George Puig, PLA; and Maggie Giraldo, PE—planned and hosted the event, bringing in two City of Miami Environmental Resources group members, one Miami-Dade County Planning Department group member, and one Miami-Dade County Transportation Department member to create a realistic design environment and allow students to coordinate with multidisciplinary experts.

Empowering Students with Hands-On Experiences

The event kicked off with a presentation describing the project—which was part of a real design criteria package that the Kimley-Horn team completed in 2022—as well as setting parameters, expectations, and a deadline. Before they started designing, the team also had a drawing session with the students and showed them how to use bases, an overlay, and paper to hand draw designs, which was a unique experience for the students since they were primarily used to digital designing.

FIU Students Learning design techniques from KH

The 12 students then began working on their designs in three separate groups. The Kimley-Horn landscape architects and other design experts walked around during this time and had one-on-one discussions with students, pointing out how they should consider civil engineering, environmental, and planning issues as well as providing them with tools and tips to use.

At the end of the event, the student teams presented their designs to the panel of multidisciplinary experts in attendance. As the students explained aspects of their designs, the judges asked questions and pointed out challenges, requiring the students to defend their work—an event that mirrors the real-world review of landscape architecture designs. At the end, the winning team was awarded an $800 prize and all the students participated in a networking dinner with the judges!

“I think it gave the students a good case for what it means to be a landscape architect in the real world— in practice and not just in theory.”

Our team was thrilled to invest in the next generation of landscape architects through this event, particularly in a way that provided hands-on experience, one-on-one connections, and the chance to work on a real landscape architecture project.


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