Delay Shines at PGAV Designing Themed Spaces

Friday, June 28, 2024
By: Kyle Niblett

With all the late nights spent in studio, University of Florida senior Carly Delay has worked tirelessly toward one goal: designing themed spaces. Her goal, zoos specifically, is to create habitats that prioritize the welfare of animals while also sparking excitement in visitors as patrons learn more about the animals and how to care for them.

That is why this summer the landscape architecture major is interning at the prestigious PGAV Destinations firm in St. Louis, Missouri. PGAV designs attractions, exhibits, and experiences that enrich lives, and using intuition, intellect, and imagination, help their clients create enduring memories in the minds of their guests.

Scheduled to graduate later this summer, Delay has successfully transitioned from the studio to a professional setting, even if it was somewhat daunting relocating from her home in Florida to the Midwest.

“My biggest challenge as an intern has been learning a multitude of new things simultaneously while staying on task and trying to absorb all the new knowledge,” the senior said. “Having the chance to meet like-minded people who are excited and passionate every day about the work they are creating is incredibly rewarding.”

At PGAV, Delay has worked toward her goals of zoo design by collaborating with multiple teams on diverse projects, each presenting unique responsibilities. For instance, she was responsible for organizing all the understory planting and tree placement for an entire zone of a confidential zoo project in China. She has also developed the CAD map for a confidential overseas theme park, converting the design from a rendered map and ensuring it adhered to the zones provided by the client. Needless to say, higher ups at PGAV have taken notice.

“Carly has been an amazing asset to the company,” said Dan O’Neill, who serves as the director of land planning and design for PGAV. “She has jumped into multiple projects, showcasing a great ability to collaborate with different folks and support varying project needs.”

Working toward a minor as well in environmental horticulture, Delay has also been active this summer creatively designing mood boards to capture the feeling of the spaces being designed. She has conducted ample research for projects involving animals to ensure compliance with all relevant requirements and regulations. Witnessing the intricacies of how a project like a zoo is developed and understanding the diverse talents required has truly inspired her.

“As someone passionate about landscapes, themed spaces, and animals, working and learning from PGAV has been an incredible opportunity,” Delay said. “Each team member brings a unique style and seeing it all come together so cohesively is amazing. Observing the variety of projects these designers tackle motivates me to aspire to their level of excellence.”

Delay, a member of the UF student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (SCASLA), is quick to point out her success in St. Louis is a result of her education at the UF College of Design, Construction and Planning.

“DCP prepared me by providing connections with talented professionals and professors who taught me not only technical skills, but also the professional skills necessary to become a landscape architect and work collaboratively. Being part of real projects allowed me to understand how this field operates and gain practical experience.”

From her first Principles of Design class with Tina Gurucharri and Huiqing Kuang to landscape field trips to Seattle with Dan Manley, Delay recalls the great feedback she has received as extremely beneficial to her career. She also knows studio culture has been extremely helpful to her time at PGAV, as spending all four years with the same group of people has made her develop friendships that will last a lifetime.

“While many say that college is the peak of their lives, I can confidently say that I’ve had the most enriching experiences and created unforgettable memories with my cohort. Every all-night studio session was worth it, because I gained invaluable knowledge, skills, and friendships.”

On July 31st, Delay will see the fruits of her labor as she receives a 2024 ASLA Florida Student Design Award at the state’s annual ASLA Conference in Orlando. On the day before, she will be presenting with UF Department of Landscape Architecture Chair Dr. Jules Bruck along with Kody Smith from Dix Hite. Delay’s award-winning work can be seen below.

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