Making Connections Through the Power of Design

Category: Landscape Architecture

Written By: Elizabeth Moore

Date: July 20, 2023

Making Connections Through the Power of Design cover image

Summer Intern Blog Series: At Parkhill, our internship program gives us the opportunity to shape and mentor the next generation within our industry. These young professionals not only get real life experience and guidance with our architecture and engineering teams, but many go on to have successful careers with us here at Parkhill. 

Recently, the Landscape Architecture interns participated in a site visit analysis and conceptual design exercise at Al Rollins Park, a Parkhill pro bono project in Arlington, Texas. Throughout his career, Albert W. Rollins, PE, the namesake of the future park, served as the City Engineer, Director of Public Works, Director of Utilities, and the City Manager of Arlington.  

 Over the next few weeks, this summer blog series will highlight their experience in their own words as they reflect on the knowledge and insights they gained during their time with Parkhill.  

After spending fifteen years in event and theater production, I decided to change my career. I really wanted to apply my design skills to enhancing natural landscapes and helping the community as much as possible. Now I am about to start my third, and final year of a master’s program in Landscape Architecture at the University of Texas in Arlington.  

Recently, our Parkhill mentors introduced us to the Al Rollins Park project, which included a site visit analysis and conceptual design exercise. This project included spending part of the day reviewing the site and public survey before visiting the site the next day. This is a crucial step in the design process for me because it gives me time to abstractly think of programming without narrowing down on a solution.

I absolutely loved this experience. It was a great way to get to know and work with the other interns, as well as getting a low-stress introduction into Parkhill’s design workflow. 

Improving Accessibility 

During the site visit, I was able to get a real sense of the community’s needs. Being on-site also allowed me to experience the area in a visual and auditory way. 

The first thing I noticed about the site was the unique topography. With a 24-foot grade change and proximity to the library, this site had so many opportunities. I first spent time reworking the parking. Safety and ease of access are a central part of my design. While the site has ample parking, I didn’t want to remove too many parking spaces. Instead, I opted for flexible spaces that could be used for different programs.  

After analyzing the public survey data and researching the background of Al Rollins, I narrowed down the enhancements to nature play, stormwater education, recreation, and safety with trails and ease of access. This park would provide a connection point for the surrounding community. Ultimately, I was most inspired by the unique topography and close access to the library.  

Enduring Relationships 

I absolutely loved this experience. It was a great way to get to know and work with the other interns, as well as getting a low-stress introduction into Parkhill’s design workflow. I am grateful for everyone at the office in Arlington, Texas, who took time out of their busy schedules to teach and mentor me. My favorite part of the design process was analyzing the topography and collaborating with my fellow interns.

For more from our Summer Intern Blog Series, check out: 

The Intersection of Creativity and Relevance

A Site’s History Can Create New Beginnings While Honoring the Past

How Collaboration Leads to Inspiration  


Connecting the existing library to the park allows for a serene reading atmosphere along with ample areas for educational programs.


Elizabeth used a multisensory approach by utilizing the sights and sounds to fully analyze the park.


According to the public surveys for Al Rollins Park, residents wanted more accessibility, plenty of parking, and a lot of amenities.