Kira Hunt - Landscape Architectural Technologist


Years of experience: 10
www.linkedin.com/in/kirahunt

Last updated: September, 2022

Career Journey

2012+

Education

2010-2015

Career Milestone 1

2012-2022

Career Milestone 2

Present

Future Ambitions

(2012) Landscape Architectural Technologist, NAIT
(2017) Biomimicry Graduate Certificate, Arizona State University
(2021) Inspired by Nature, Biomimicry Frontiers
(2022) Practical Utopias, Margaret Atwood

The City-Region Studies Centre was a research centre at the University of Alberta that advocated for regional planning. I helped organize two conferences and over twenty presentations for municipal officials, urban planners, design professionals, and artists in Edmonton.

At IBI Group I contributed to over 100 projects including heritage features, small parks projects, LRT transportation corridors, and master planning of public space networks.

In May I started transitioning to self-employment and have spent past months learning new skills, creating art, researching biomimicry, and developing partnerships. Over the coming months I hope to scale up some of the projects I've already started - and dream up a few new ones.

Question and Answers

After graduation, what was the first position you had? How did that shape where you are now as a Landscape Architectural Technologist?

After completing the two-year degree at NAIT I was hired by IBI Group where I worked for ten years. I started out in the office, working on drawings and submissions, 3D modelling, cost-estimating, progress claims, ...and learning a lot.

Having a broad background before coming to landscape architecture, working with excellent mentors in the industry, and joining a strong team, all this gave me a solid foundation. Continuing education both in the office and on my own broadened and deepened my skillset - my professional work complementing my personal-interest projects, and vice versa.

What is something that surprised you at the start of your career? or What is something that surprises you about being a Landscape Architectural Technologist?

I was surprised by the first real-world CAD drawing I saw - by how complicated it was. Utilities running everywhere, many xrefs organized in many different ways, layers and layers and layers and layers... but I also loved it! The mathematical exactness of the program and how easily CAD can organize messy information into something clear and coherent is incredibly satisfying.

As I shift into another direction, the thing that surprises me now is how useful my LAT skills are in other fields. Estimating, detailing, and 3D modelling are required for public art submissions; field experience helped me with workshop production and outdoor lighting installations; project management skills are transferable anywhere.

What are some of your roles and responsibilities?

- Landscape design and detailing from concept-to-constructed
- Illustrating ideas using hand sketches, 3D models, and technical details
- Specializing in heritage interpretation and structures that tell stories
- Accounting and financial tracking for multiple large ongoing projects
- AutoCAD manager for my team, testing new software and systems
- Net zero research report, shared with our international offices

What skills do you feel are important to have as a Landscape Architectural Technologist?

- Cooperative
- Organized
- Learn quickly

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have been a part of.

Light Horse Park was upgraded by the South Alberta Light Horse Regiment to honour an existing cenotaph. The cenotaph was relocated and elevated, a new plaza was designed in the shape of the Alberta Shield, and a six-meter-tall obelisk was constructed to mark an entry to the historic district in Old Strathcona. I developed the drawing set, details, renderings, and estimates, and was involved in the construction and inspection process.

I was one of two leads for the Net Zero Research Report that summarized current (at the time) knowledge and ideas around net zero design, and summarized idea and technologies that can be applied to reduce the impact of development at a neighbouhood scale. This fifty-page document has been shared with IBI's international offices and used in proposals.

Griesbach Central Park was the first project I worked on as a landscape design professional. The site is a twenty-meter tall hill and includes 3 plazas, a play structure, a community garden, custom steel and masonry structures, storyboards about life on the (former) army base, and a granite map of the base from 1962. I completed the twenty-page drawing set and was involved in heritage research for the map and storyboards.

What are your future goals?

After ten years as an LAT, I am taking time off to pursue new creative outlets. Since April I have been shifting my professional role towards biomimicry - an approach that takes strategies learned from nature and applies them to human design challenges.

In September 2022 I will be joining the Practical Utopia course, a project that will bring together international experts to co-create eight theoretical utopias. Each of these communities will be illustrated by professional artists and will provide opportunities for derivative creative works - but also will hopefully create achievable visions-for-the-future and practical solutions for some of the wicked problems faced by the world today.

Although I am transitioning, I plan to maintain my LAT designation and incorporate my landscape design expertise into new projects and roles. In the coming year I will continue to build collaborations with artists, scientists, and change-makers that extend our collective practices and shift thinking about the role of nature and technology in human communities and landscapes.



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