The College of Architecture + The Arts’ Gregory Gonzalez, Master of Landscape Architecture candidate, has been recognized as the 2014 recipient of the Makemson Scholarship. Gonzalez was chosen by the faculty of the Department of Landscape Architecture to receive this scholarship, which is funded generously by the Makemson family.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Gregory migrated to North Carolina at the age of five and later to Miami where he graduated from the Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH). He subsequently obtained a scholarship for a Bachelor of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design,where he spent five years studying and pursuing his academic and professional goals, as well as having the opportunity to be exposed to great works of art, to be mentored by great artists and designers, and to learn many methods of representation. During the summers, Gonzalez was fortunate to work at Shulman + Associates, where his curiosity in the urbanism of Miami peaked. Upon graduation, he returned to Miami and followed his interest in landscape architecture by enrolling in FIU’s MLA program.
In addition to receiving the Makemson Scholarship, Gonzalez presented his proposal for “Interweaving Wet|Land” for FIU’s Graduate Student Appreciation Week (GSAW). His proposal was drawn from a project he led last semester with students from a wide array of disciplines: landscape architecture, environmental studies, environmental engineering, and art. In his project statement, Gonzalez said, “The rapid transformation of the historical wetlands of the Everglades into the city’s urban landscapes has interrupted the natural flow of water from the Lake Okeechobee to the Biscayne Bay, causing frequent floods, groundwater depletion and saltwater intrusion. The Modesto Maidique Campus of the Florida International University sits on one of these transformed landscapes of the Everglades….The land that once managed water naturally floods almost after every heavy rainfall, which is not a rare occurrence in this sub-tropical city. The proposed master plan reclaims land and reverts it to micro-wetland ecosystems. These wetlands would provide natural catchment areas for excess stormwater, contribute cleansing of runoff, and enhance groundwater recharge.”
When asked about his experience being in FIU’s MLA program, Gonzalez said, “I was always intrigued in the design of open spaces and felt this was the best venue. It has been a transforming experience to learn the expanse of the profession. My classes have been great and have guided my understanding of landscape architecture. With the aid of the faculty, I have been exposed to firms, competitions, and many opportunities that I was not aware before FIU. I look forward to this final year.”