3 Under 30
BY PHIL BARLOW, ASLA, AICP, LEED AP
An excerpt from The Connecticut Landscape Architect Fall 2018 Magazine
Meet MYLES SIMON, a landscape architect who is determined to do what it takes to achieve his dreams. I know Myles, as he did an internship at my firm a few years back, and I was happy to catch up with him recently.
Delving into his formative years, it turns out that he grew up in Southeast Hartford, where his artist mother instilled a creative spirit. Legos were his first creative outlet and Myles credits the small ubiquitous toys with fueling his love of design. He speaks fondly of that feeling of accomplishment from the creations he would make from the plastic blocks. Later attending the Greater Hartford Math and Science Academy at The Learning Corridor, and The Great Path Academy in Manchester he achieved a solid foundation.
Like many (if not most) of us, Myles knew nothing of the profession of landscape architecture when he first chose a college major. At UConn he enrolled in the civil engineering program, envisioning it as a career that would allow great creativity. Disillusioned after a year, he wanted a new field of study and — luckily for us — found this thing called landscape architecture in the course catalog.
From his first graphics course with Kristen Schwab he was hooked. Myles knew that this was a profession that he could excel in, quickly realizing that landscape architecture was larger than he or most people thought. He thrived in the UConn landscape architect program, graduating in 2016.
As Myles made his way through the internship years he says that many in our chapter were free with their knowledge, help and advice, specifically crediting Heidi Hajna, Rory Fitzgerald, Tim Magee, and Mark Fisher. He has gained valuable work experience at TO Design, Stadia Engineering, and Madison Earth Care. Each of these very different experiences has helped him along the path to licensure.
At TO Design he was exposed to comprehensive site design, at Stadia he sharpened his AutoCAD skills, and work at Madison Earth Care, a designbuild firm that caters to Connecticut shoreline property owners, he learned the hands-on, nuts-and-bolts skills that are invaluable to a working professional, forming relationships with clients and seeing projects from conception to reality.
His favorite projects include the Superkilen Park in Copenhagen and the Cheonggyecheon River Restoration in South Korea. Both projects, he says, were used to restore the culture and community of their city, transforming sites that were previously run down and abused to become much appreciated public spaces for all to enjoy. “Not only do the parks get utilized by the locals but they have becomes a destination location for visitors.”
Myles is indebted to Mike Rettenmeier of SLAM Collaborative for keeping him involved after graduation with UConn’s student ASLA chapter, where he is able to share his knowledge with the students and give portfolio critiques. Myles will start the LARE process this year. Upon earning his landscape architecture license, he would like to become more involved with the conceptual design process and apply big-picture thinking to large-scale development projects. He doesn’t rule out the possibility of starting his own firm someday. He can also envision a career at a well-established landscape architecture firm.
When not pursuing his passion of design, Myles trail rides and snowboards. He counts himself as one of us who loves the winter season and the stark, sublime landscape of that time of year.
When asked about his take on the future of landscape architecture, Myles is optimistic, although he feels that the profession is greatly undervalued by many. He would love to see us get more publicity, especially through the many social media venues.
Advice for those just leaving school with a landscape architecture degree: “any experience is good experience” and “take advantage of those professionals that are willing to share their knowledge.”
I think that Myles has a bright future in landscape architecture. In fact, as we go to press, I have just learned he has landed a job at Fuss & O’Neill.