Kounkuey Design Initiative,

Principal, Landscape Architecture

27 days ago
Employment type
Los Angeles
Closing date

About this organization

Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) is an international, non-profit, design and community development firm, offering landscape architecture among its many services. KDI uses design as a tool for social justice. Specifically, the firm collaborates with under-resourced communities to advance equity and activate the unrealized potential in neighborhoods and cities. This mission is accomplished through advocacy, research, planning, and built works. KDI works on projects that advance a just public realm at all scales including: parks, park master plans, environmental planning projects, industrial design, affordable housing, civic spaces and commemorative landscapes.

With offices in Los Angeles, East Coachella Valley, Nairobi, and Stockholm, KDI continues to grow and further its mission, with domestic and international projects. KDI has been recognized for its innovative approach to poverty alleviation by notable institutions such as Cooper Hewitt, Architectural League NY, The Rockefeller Foundation, UN-Habitat and Ashoka Changemakers.

About this job

KDI is seeking a unique Principal, Landscape Architect to co-lead and build the Landscape Design team in our Los Angeles office, and carry out our mission to advance equity, and activate the unrealized potential in neighborhoods and cities, in partnership with under-resourced communities facing political, social, and physical challenges.

Location + Schedule

This is a salaried, full-time, in-person position (with flexible schedule options – 9/80 or traditional schedule).

Salary: $100-$119k

Benefits include: Medical, Dental, Vision, Life Ins., 401k, Paid time off

Roles & responsibilities

The Principal, Landscape Architecture will be responsible for strengthening and growing KDI’s landscape design practice; building our staff’s and organization’s capacity to deliver innovative, multi-faceted built projects; and expanding our reach to new communities throughout California and the U.S.

We’re looking for someone with a strong interest in social justice and participatory processes; exceptional design ability; extensive experience implementing built projects; a track record as a leader who can work collaboratively, mentor staff, and carry out a vision for what design can achieve in under-resourced communities.

This is not a conventional design position; for the chosen candidate, this is an incredible opportunity to lead public projects, shape KDI’s design department, grow a team, and work extensively with communities.


- 8+ years practicing as a landscape architect;

- Masters in Landscape Architecture or related field preferred;

- Must be a licensed landscape architect (CA license not required, but must be willing/able to become licensed in CA, if hired);

- Extensive experience leading design and implementation of parks, plazas, and other public open spaces;

- Experience working in an innovative multi-disciplinary design environment;

- Extensive experience managing consultant teams, overseeing production of construction drawings and specifications, and leading construction administration;

- Able to manage internal teams;

- Experience shaping the vision of a design department;

- Experience providing technical oversight and guidance;

- Extensive experience working with other principals to maintain the project pipeline;

- Proficiency in composing project narratives, developing budgets, crafting schedules, defining scopes of work, and coordinating with relevant consultant teams to generate comprehensive responses for proposal requests;

- Experience working with government clients and stakeholders preferred;

- Experience with non-profits (as a collaborator with non-profit partners, board members, volunteers, etc) is a plus.

Talents and Skills

- A passion for creating transformative places and working collaboratively with people from all walks of life;

- Exceptional design ability;

- Ability to co-lead an organization in ways that inspire staff and collaborators;

- Strong skills with AutoCAD, Adobe Creative Suite. (Rhino and other 3D modeling software is used);

- Proficiency with detailing, redlining, and writing specifications;

- Strong verbal presentation, writing, and graphic communication skills;

- Willingness to travel to the Coachella Valley regularly (during work hours), and nationally and internationally as needed. (1-2 trips to Kenya, possibly one other international trip);

- Experience with budgeting and financial management;

- Grant writing skills are a plus;

- Written and spoken fluency in Spanish is a plus, but not required.


- Participatory, inclusive, collaborative;

- Altruistic;

- Mission driven;

- Respectful of self and others;

- Embraces diversity in all areas of life;

- Nice, mature, self-aware.

To apply

Send electronic copy of your cover letter, resume and portfolio to: LAJobs@kounkuey.org

Subject Heading: Principal, Landscape Architecture: Your Name

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to their race, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status or medical condition. We will consider for employment all qualified applicants, including those with criminal histories, in a manner consistent with the requirements of applicable state and local laws, including the City of Los Angeles’ Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance.

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