5 Landscape Architecture Things

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums EDUCATION 5 Landscape Architecture Things

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Tim Daugherty 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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    Edward Flaherty

    …I wish they had taught me at university. Maybe you can suggest others?

    1.All the places where underground utilities are accessed through the landscape surface with requirements and flexibility for placement.

    2.The line items most likely to be big profit items for contractors in unit price landscape construction contracts.

    3.How to write measurement and payment clauses for landscape construction contracts.

    4.Financial positioning and leveraging variables for landscape development in the domains of real estate and architecture.

    5.Advancement pros, cons and how-tos for landscape architecture careers in private sector versus government.


    Maybe..….you “should” have learned these “issues” at some point during your career…not NOW, towards the end of a 40 plus year LA career???


    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I wish they had more emphasis on:

    1. the diversity of opportunities there are to apply the knowledge, skills, and abilities one acquires with the education.

    2. that strengths in some areas can overcome weakness in others.

    3. that less is sometimes more. (rather than giving the impression that more deliverables, more management, higher end graphics, …. always give an advantage)


    Edward Flaherty

    I’d like to add the following as context to my original post.

    In the 50+ years I have been happily involved in landscape architecture education and landscape architecture practice across the USA and around the world, I have seen that our profession is very heavily design oriented–if I may share my opinion–even lopsided with design often pushed to impractical excess.

    Impractical? Not buildable technically. Not maintainable for longer than a year. Not affordable for the available budget.

    In the last decades I have seen this design excess expand–if I may again share my opinion–such that any design idea is ‘automatically’ good and not questioned regarding practicality.

    The five items listed in my first post are items fairly simple to summarily teach and go a long way toward giving any design defensible gravitas.


    Leslie B Wagle

    “…any design idea is ‘automatically’ good and not questioned regarding practicality.”

    Is what you cite more a characteristic of high budget top visibility (sort of corporate image etc.) type work versus mid-range type? Or committees doing the approvals and waving something on to the next stage of details, not seasoned real estate and construction-savy type clients?

    This may not be the place to attach a related concern of my own but here goes: the growing assumption that since we now have great 3D and rendering software…that a great-looking rendering proves the viability of a design. I’ve seen some that almost hurt when I try and imagine walking through them (huge expanses of unrelieved pavement in very hot environments etc.) and almost feel sorry for users, therefore the clients who get amazed by the visualizations and have trouble grasping how they will play out in reality. That in turn pulls designers themselves in the direction of “effects” over practicality.


    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    “…any design idea is ‘automatically’ good and not questioned regarding practicality.”

    My best professor used to say “so what” when someone presented a stunning visual plan with the intent on getting one to explain “why”. He was the last “old school” professor at the university that I went to. I got the most out of him because he “beat into me” the need to have a reason for everything. I found that was missing from some of the other professors who were happy to marvel and drape praise over something that looked exciting.

    It did not stifle creativity or kill imaginative aesthetics because those do not fight a REASON to do something. One of the main structures of the design process that he espoused was that everything is an ACTIVITY (sleeping, meditating, parking, walking, viewing the ocean, …), that a certain EXPERIENCE should be sought for each ACTIVITY (these could be different for the same activity depending on the users), and that certain physical REQUIREMENTS are necessary to achieve the desired Experience for that ACTIVITY.

    I was very concerned, as an older student, that this way of thinking was being overtaken by a desire to make students happy by letting them do what anything to make impressive looking projects. I began to feel like projects that looked good for marketing the program was getting in the way of preparing students to do well in the profession.

    Less than half of the students from my class went into the profession. Only three of us remain in it.


    IMO….”NO, any design idea is NOT automatically good and not questioned regarding practicality”.

    My thinking here is that our Landscape Architecture Professors and the many Landscape Architects (senior to us) throughout out design careers…help us determine “good design from poor design”…there is a difference! Of course “good design” has its’ grey areas, because, there are very talented Landscape Architects and many who are still learning.
    IMO, there is nothing “automatic” about any type of design.

    Yes, every design must have a “purpose”, but, I have always had a philosophy that every design project must be “both creative, well designed as well as have strong graphic presentation”, that you can’t have one without the other”.

    I have seen some well designed projects where the drawings were just very poorly drawn. And, I have seen exceptional presentation projects, 2D and 3D, where the graphic presentations were terrible! That’s where I think too many LAs drop the ball.

    Once you have created a well designed project…then, it needs to become a strong black and white or color presentation.


    Tim Daugherty

    Hi Edward. I’m increasingly convinced that University Degrees, including Landscape Architecture, don’t need to become trade schools. Yes, there is some aspects of professional craftsmanship and design knowledge involved in our education, but how deep into the technical weeds do we really need to get? Can’t a lot of these things be taught in internships and entry level positions?

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