Hanna Tryggestad and Daniel Hernandaz interned at SCAPE during the Spring of 2017. Hanna had recently graduated from The Norwegian University of Life Sciences before starting her internship and Daniel was in his fourth year as a student of Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University. Before they left, we asked them to reflect on their time at SCAPE.
What drew you to intern at SCAPE? How did your experience relate to those initial ideas?
Daniel: My dad works in the chemical plants along the Mississippi River and survived lymphoma twice; In 2016, a 500-year flood breached my hometown’s levee–a brutal reminder of the floodplain that most forgot they lived in since the levee hid the natural process 30 years ago. South Louisiana is on the frontlines against climate change and needs to adapt before it disappears. I’m eager to learn innovative strategies to make vulnerable communities more resilient. SCAPE’s work and values, specifically restoring natural systems in a legible way, felt like a productive next step. My experience at SCAPE lived up to these expectations because I was able to see how the firm navigates government offices, innovates within/challenges regulations, and reaches out to locals all in the service of responsible, resilient design.
Hanna: SCAPE’s focus on ecology and sustainable design solutions caught my interest, and I really wanted to be a part of the team and learn from the wide range of ecological knowledge. I had also heard about SCAPE from a colleague in Norway, who was particularly impressed by the Living Breakwater project. The internship lived up the my expectations in every way – I got to work with a lot of great people, learn about the American way of landscape planning and I got to work on a large-scale project with lots of interesting aspects within our field.
How was your experience at SCAPE unique?
Daniel: SCAPE is the first design firm I’ve worked at so I don’t have much standard for comparison…but based on the work my classmates are doing at their internships this semester, SCAPE is unique in its high design standards. SCAPE approaches each project individually with clear intentions based on the firm’s values, spending as much time as necessary to hash out the perfect design even when sites/clients throw curveballs. Because the office is a small, open-concept space, there is always a discussion between talented designers somewhere in the room. I’ve learned useful design vocabulary and techniques just by keeping my ears open while I work. There can’t be many offices where interns experience as much talent per square foot as they can at SCAPE.
What was the biggest challenge you faced?
Daniel: My biggest challenge was getting used to how fast-paced the office is. I’m used to being able to take my time on projects, so the pressure of a deadline 8 hours from receiving the assignment took some getting used to. I still need to work on my efficiency, but I’ve come a long way since my first day.
Can you describe a fond memory you have from your time at SCAPE?
Hanna: The social gatherings on occasional Fridays were a great way to get to know people better. I think SCAPE organizes great social events, and I especially enjoyed the plant walk in Battery Park. It was so nice to get outside and learn about new species and at the same time enjoy the beautiful weather with the team.