July 2017’s ASLA Magazine cover story is about American Landscape Architect Martha Schwartz, principal of Martha Schwartz Partners and Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, whose unique aesthetic has challenged conventional ideas in the design of public and private spaces around the world for over 35 years. During the summer and fall of 2016 a recent CAPLA graduate, Xin Tan, interned with Schwartz while she was studying for her Masters in Landscape Architecture. We caught up with Xin to ask her about her experiences and what she learned.
Xin says facing the pressure of working with such an iconic landscape architect and in the company of other talented students at the start of the internship was daunting, but she learned several things from the challenge. Xin says she learned how to be more creative and keep her mind open to holistic solutions for sustainability. She noted that students of landscape architecture need to be willing to expand their knowledge through self-study while also working with a mentor. She highlighted the essential importance of teamwork in the office environment as projects are created and completed within an ethical framework shared by the group. Cooperation and creating value for the whole team is key.
Xin never thought she would be lucky enough to have the experience of interning with Martha Schwartz’s office but was glad she took the chance at an ASLA conference to speak with this iconic designer as it led to the internship opportunity of a lifetime. Xin encourages students to “be brave” and “have a dream” – as they take their own risks.
Congratulations to Xin on completing this life-changing internship, and we wish her the best of luck in her future career!