EDSA | Then and Now | Carmen Belmar

Then & Now

Previous interns – now employees, share their perspectives, advice and insights about all things landscape architecture and their experiences with EDSA.

A student at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Carmen joined EDSA for an internship during the fall of 2016 and the winter of 2017. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and minors in landscape and urban design, she accepted a role with our team as a full-time Designer. Recently promoted to Associate, Carmen works on various projects throughout Latin America, Central America and Europe. We recently spoke with Carmen about her EDSA journey and what makes the profession of landscape architecture one-of-a-kind.

Q: What does landscape architecture mean to you?

A: For me its experiences – as in the experiences that are created when people gather, play and stay active in the spaces we create. Landscape architecture is almost a way of communication, as we utilize biophilic design practices and inspiration from our surroundings to create places that provide the end-user with opportunities for discovery on both a large and small scale.

Q: What is your design philosophy?

A: First and most important is understanding my surroundings. It’s the history, culture, people and so many other factors that make a place unique – every program should revolve around these attributes. Whenever we are working with a site, we can’t just cover up what’s already there. It’s our job to enhance existing elements and make it better than the way we found it.

Q: What about landscape architecture are you the most passionate about? Have your passions shifted since becoming a full-time, practicing designer?

A: What I like the most is design itself – everything from a conceptual sketch to AutoCad that have the ability to bring an idea to life. Design is everything to me, and it’s something that I get to work on a lot at EDSA. If you have good design from the beginning you can achieve so much, and I feel like that is something that has stayed with me since I started studying architecture, landscape and urban design up until today. Being at this firm has helped me understand design even more and take my abilities to the next level.

Q: Who is your mentor and why?

A: This question was kind of tricky because I don’t feel like I have just one mentor. There are so many admirable and talented people in the design field that have inspired me throughout my professional journey – people like Roberto Burle Marx, Walt Disney, Frank Lloyd Wright and Juan Grimm. I admire their work and they keep me inspired in so many ways. When it comes to mentorship at EDSA, I would say Bob Dugan, Gabriela Patocchi and Ivan Donoso. I see them as admirable, passionate and professional people – they have taken the time to teach me so much, from graphic design and plant selection all the way into detail and business development, and I really appreciate the opportunity of working with them. Honestly, just seeing anyone design in the office inspires me. So even though I can’t pick just one mentor, I feel mentored by many each day.

Q: When you think about your time at EDSA thus far, what’s one word that comes to mind and why?

A: I would say talent. There are so many gifted people at EDSA, from hand graphics and computer design to 3D modelers and even individuals that have great people skills and transfer that energy into business development. Working alongside my team each day motivates me to work harder and be better. From interns to principals, we all learn from one another and respect each other – and that’s very valuable.