As my internship through the Ogallala Commons with Prairie Workshop comes to a close I will look fondly upon the many experiences I had with the two organizations. During my time working with Mr. Jason Hodges I have become more knowledgeable about what it takes to be a professional in the field of Landscape Architecture. I feel it is also worth noting that Mr. Hodges is the founder of his own business and that this adds a unique layer to working in the field of Landscape Architecture, and also added another level to the learning experience for myself.
While working with Mr. Hodges we dealt with a variety of projects for an assortment of entities. These included residential projects that dealt with the outdoor space in general while other focused on the creation of specific elements such as outdoor kitchens. Other projects dealt with important city resources. Most notable is the Abilene Regional Airport entrance that I wrote about in one of my previous blog postings. Additional clients took the form of museums, such as the Ranching Heritage center, where Prairie Workshop was a consultant on tree planting, irrigation, and care. Each of these projects presented their own opportunities and challenges, and each one was a unique learning opportunity.
Outside of drawing and designing on the computer, another facet of the profession is client interaction. Since a Landscape Architect’s goal is to meet the needs of a client it is paramount that an adequate amount of interaction takes place. The challenge here is that the Landscape Architect must essentially investigate the client, and site, in order to provide them with what they want. From this project goals can be outlined and presented to client before proceeding into the design.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the job is when the construction of a project begins. While none of the projects that I worked on had construction start, as it takes many drafts and drawings before building begins, I was still able to gain some experience in this area. Mr. Hodges is the designer of the now under construction Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts Plaza, and we both made frequent site visits to the center. This was primarily to monitor construction of elements on the site, check in with the contractors and builders, make material decisions, and resolve any issues that may have arisen.
In conclusion, during my short stint working at Prairie Workshop I was able to learn a great deal while also contributing to a local business. I am thankful that the Ogallala Commons and James Minton Foundation provided this internship opportunity.