Interning with EDSA || Cairo, Cairo, Cairo / by Victoria DeWitt

When somebody thinks landscape architecture, they usually just think landscaping. When we, the actual landscape architects think landscape architecture, we think EVERYTHING. Landscape architects have the opportunity to tackle anything and everything. We have so much power and opportunity to blend the out door with the indoor. We can dip our toes or completely dive into anything we feel passionate about.

Throughout school we have been exposed to a number of different project types. We have looked at planting design, urban design, ecological design, grading projects and overall planning. While I was in school, without real world experience, I sometimes thought it was just another school project. I never put the projects and value they held into perspective because I had no reason to at that time.  This week I had the pleasure to work on a neighborhood design in Cairo, Egypt. I worked on a small section of the large plan called Village B. My tasks included editing Lot Lines in AutoCad and making sure they followed all contract requirements, as well as placing elevations for each home.

-- another important note: requirements on the project description at school should be followed more closely to prepare for real world projects, it helps start a great habit for when requirements weigh a lot more ie work or an internship --

In school we had a group project of developing a neighborhood with major grade change as well as Eco friendly housing and overall design, along with a community center in Ames, Iowa. We took that plan and ensured the road ways were realistic with correct grades and attempted to look at the home elevations. I am so grateful for that project because ultimately, I was doing the exact same thing in a real world project for a successful company. Do not take small projects or large projects in school for granite, you learn so much from most things you do in school, no matter how time consuming or pointless they seem to be.

Taking my prior knowledge from school to this past week at EDSA, I really challenged myself. I have never been the best at numbers but this week I WAS A PRO. Mihaela Zaharescu had placed base contours on the site. These contours allowed myself to place the garage, finished floor, and basement elevations for each home. Easy, some would say. Yes, it was simple until we had made our way to the four-plexes that have a very particular requirement of all having the same FFE with a minimum of 3 steps, each 15 cm high to 5 steps. Each housing block over looked the next- the contours were very particular to ensure the desired views. This challenged us do the four-plexes due to the fact that we sometimes could not find the right numbers to allow the required steps. This week involved a lot of brain puzzles and communication with the client.

Communication and Relationships are a major key to success when it comes to landscape architecture.