Thursday, March 09, 2006
Over my spring break vacation I worked as an intern at Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company. As someone who has closely followed the work of the firm for years, it was somewhat of a dream come true. Throughout the course of the week I worked almost primarily on projects related to DPZ's work in Hurricane battered Louisiana. After having the opportunity to become acquainted with their plans for recovery, I can say the effort is nothing short of miraculous - much like the efforts put forth in Mississippi. This week DPZ is finishing up another charrette in Arabi, Louisiana.
For a firm of its size, the amount of work they have taken on in Louisiana and Mississippi is mind-boggling. Yet, after working there for a week I now see how it is all possible. The employees at DPZ work hard, really hard. However, the atmosphere is far more convivial than I ever expected. On my first day I was told that DPZ operated more like a family, than as a firm with one of the best reputations in the field. Having never worked exclusively in the for-profit world I was unsure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. The people at DPZ is what makes it such a special place to be. Even though I was there for only a week, I was welcomed warmly, invited to participate in post-work social activities on numerous occassions, and treated to lunch at a neighborhood Cuban restaurant. DPZ employees are also quite young, which is probably because the pace can be fairly brutal, but it also gives the office a lot of energy.
Of all the things that I was exposed to over the course of the week, I would have to say that the Miami 21 project was my favorite (www.miami21.org). DPZ is the lead consultant on the project and are transforming the entire City of Miami's zoning code into a form based code. Never before has a form based code been implemented at this scale. Though the project is very complicated, from a planning perspective it has the potential to make Miami one of the most progressive cities in the the United States. I will certainly be following the project over the next couple of years.
In summation, working for DPZ was a great experience. Hopefully it was not my last!