“I Can Do Anything” After Student Charrette
Celena Shepherd, Communications
February 06, 2023
Ten students walked along a Kansas City sidewalk. They took photos, marked notes, and let their minds wander about the possibilities of the 39th Street corridor ahead.
Recently, Olsson Studio invited these students to gain real-world project experience by attending a multi-day design charrette. They worked with professionals and city officials to develop concepts to revitalize a 7-mile section of one of Kansas City’s major streets.
Andrew Littlefield, working toward his master’s in landscape architecture at Kansas State, said this was the perfect opportunity to gain professional experience.
“I applied because I was really looking for a new take on the design process other than what we’re taught in school,” he said. “I really wanted to replicate what’s done in the professional setting and that’s exactly what I got here.”
For the third year in a row, Olsson Studio opened applications for its mock student design charrette in Kansas City, Missouri. A charrette is a multi-day design workshop where professional planners, designers, and landscape architects develop design concepts for a client. It’s rare that students gain such experience before graduation.
The group learned about the city’s 39th Street corridor from stakeholders at the city planning and development department and area transportation authority. During the three-day workshop, students visited the site, developed design concepts, heard stakeholder feedback, and presented final ideas.
After completing the mock charrette, Andrew said he’d never experienced anything like it. He enjoyed the multi-disciplinary aspect and scale of the project. His favorite part was getting to know other students throughout the Midwest.
Jazmin Bustos, who is studying planning and design at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was interested in networking when she applied. She loves working with people and said the positive team environment stood out.
“Everyone at the Olsson Studio was really excited to be a part of this and help us,” she said. “Getting to work with people who have different backgrounds and skill sets was really neat.”
Jazmin said the mock charrette helped reveal new possibilities for her future career. With graduation approaching this year, she has even more confidence that she “can do anything” with her degree.
The charrette organizer, Taylor Goetzinger, hopes through this experience students realize just that: the unending possibilities.
“There are so many benefits students experience being exposed to a professional charrette,” said Taylor, a landscape designer at Olsson Studio. “Students really enjoy working with new peers in different disciplines and gaining hands-on experience with professionals in a team-driven and fun environment.”
Taylor is eager for student applications to open this fall and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions related to the student charrette.