Thursday, March 09, 2006



Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company - Little Havana, Miami

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 ( 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!

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