July 29, 2020

Applying university studies to solve real world challenges

Each year, in partnership with the University of Melbourne, Melbourne School of Design (MSD), SMEC opens an internship for three Masters students.

Each year, in partnership with the University of Melbourne, Melbourne School of Design (MSD), SMEC opens an internship for three Masters students. The students undertake a three-week placement at SMEC’s Melbourne office where they work collaboratively on an innovative, joint research project with SMEC’s Urban team.

The program is offered to students from each discipline; Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Urban Design. Internships are a great opportunity to gain first-hand experience of a career at SMEC, working alongside our skilled professionals to apply creative university learnings to real world situations.

We welcomed three students earlier this year; Olivia Bloch, Master of Landscape Architecture; Pranil Chitre, Master of Urban Planning; and Yusuke Nakashima, Master of Landscape Architecture.

“It is so valuable to understand the real obstacles and opportunities we will be working with after graduating,” said Olivia.

Over three weeks, the students undertook a research project that saw them develop a case study on the transformation of light industrial zones that are coming to the end of their lifecycle, into successful mixed use and residential developments, creating quality public space. A large part of our current focus at SMEC is in exploring the potential transformation that we can bring to a city by identifying and targeting underutilised areas that are prime for redevelopment.

Through investigation into various development opportunities in the inner Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, Olivia, Pranil and Yusuke identified potential development in a site located in Brunswick East. The site is currently used for industrial purposes as a refuse transfer waste and recycling centre.

The students investigated the site’s context and its strategic location, as well as justification for the future development of the site, through analysis of several council policies and visions for the wider precinct, particularly focused on the Commercial (C3) zone. Their research cumulated in developing a masterplan for the site’s development proposal.

“The valuable experience gained through the internship is beneficial for furthering my academic knowledge. It will assist me during my final thesis project under the graduate Masters program at University,” said Pranil.

The internship is a unique opportunity for students to be fully integrated into the SMEC workforce, through exposure to clients, close working relationships with SMEC staff and enhanced employment prospects.

“Our team gains great value each year by working collaboratively with our interns on the same project” said Akihito Hatayama, Associate Design Lead, Urban Communities at SMEC.

“We enjoy learning from the students as much as we enjoy facilitating their learning and experience with us, and we are always thrilled by the talent, energy and enthusiasm of participants. It’s important to us to connect with new talent coming into our industry, and this partnership with the Melbourne School of Design is a great way to do it.”

The internship program has been running for three years and the relationships formed have led to employment opportunities at SMEC. Two of the 2019 interns have been employed in the Melbourne Urban team as graduate and undergraduate landscape architects.

You can read more from the students about their experience here.

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