Wanting to complement experiences offered to students at university with insights into the industry, we threw open our studios, and invited them in. This was the opportunity for Landscape Architects and Planners, Urban Designers and Visualisers from across the UK to learn about professional life, meet our team and take a look at our work in practice.
Kicking off the week’s open studio events, Louise and Matt welcomed landscape and urban design students to Altrincham; presenting an urban design snapshot, insights into the design process and overview of projects. All were keen to find out about life at Planit and try out the VR goggles to see our Albert Square proposals. After a quick tour of the studios, they hopped on the tram into Manchester for a walk around Albert Square, Lincoln Square and Circle Square, comparing design proposals with the delivered schemes. The day ended with drinks at Hatch, with students making the most of the opportunity to talk to Planit graduates Jakir and Adriana. They were on hand to offer advice about the transition from student to professional practice, as well as tips for end of year presentations and portfolios.
The following day, landscape architecture and planning students arrived at the Standish Studio. Congregating around a table in our courtyard, we made the most of the sunny April day to get to know one another, before heading into the studio for a short presentation. Ed introduced the practice, our approach to integrating nature into our project work and how the recently completed Standish Studio came to be. Rihards followed with an introduction to our urban design team and how the two disciplines work collaboratively. Stretching our legs we made our way around the site. Alex explained the development of the no-dig growing beds, and Ed talking about the mature oak and our plans for the future. Eventually making our way back to the studio, we chatted about everything from planting to portfolio’s and career paths, over a glass of local wine and Stroud brewery (B Corp) beer.
On Thursday it was London’s turn to open its doors for an afternoon of learning and discussion. Students from Universities such as Leeds Beckett, The University of Manchester, University of East London and University of Central London had been asked in advance what they wished to gain from the session. This ranged from learning more about Planit-IE’s culture and B Corp, to current projects, as well as the processes that a professional landscape architect goes through when working on a project. After an afternoon of informed discussion led by Dominic, students toured the studio before enjoying drinks on our waterside terrace whilst chatting to our Landscape Assistant Frankie, and Graduate Yehan.
Leeds Studio hosted a great bunch of students, who joined our team to check out the office before taking a walking tour in the spring sun around some of our live projects in Leeds City Centre. The afternoon comprised of an introduction to the practice before looking into the workings of projects from conception to construction and completion; providing insight for students soon to be venturing into the landscape profession. Led by the studio lead, Phil, the event was supported by Graduate Oliver, Year Out student Helena and new recruits Ryan and Ewan.
In Liverpool, Sean led organisation of the open event which started with an introductory presentation to Planit’s culture and current projects. The team then showcased ‘Liverpool Waters’ through a series of shorter talks, with input from our three in house disciplines, showing how the roles of Urban Design, Landscape Architecture and Visualisation can combine collaboratively to create a progressive and engaging masterplan. Particular focus was given to the visionary Central Park. After a quick tour of our studio space and testing out VR headsets, we took the students around a full tour of the North Shore waterfront. We looked at built schemes at Princes Dock and the land at Central Docks, finishing the afternoon with drinks at site.
Our Open Studio events were thoroughly enjoyable. We found students to be inquisitive and highly engaged, and were pleased to hear they’d taken a lot from it, with calls for us to do it every year!