Are Landscape Architects Just Being Used As Graphic Designers/Visualisers

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Are Landscape Architects Just Being Used As Graphic Designers/Visualisers

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    Rico Flor

    Personal experience placed on the table here:

    Yes, unfortunately the politics of power amongst professionals happened in my workplace (no time frame specified – but this is historical data for your rumination). Our training in site graphics are often used to ‘prettify’ architectural design proposals, to put that required site context. Often, we’re made to feel important as a key team player, to find out later on that they just wanted an idea on how to finish packaging their plans, use my model as a context for their building model in prep for the final render (with the chosen shots ignoring the landscape treatments/improvements), or just plain fill up the blank spaces in their graphics. Other times, team mates just cool their heels off while I make a design case or design study by graphics or modelling, of course with a sense of urgency (which deadlines often compel you to have). When I’m done, they swarm all over my model and do whatever they please for their benefit. GBTY Maám. No courtesy credits on their documents.

    But the lesson that must be learned here is that our profession also beholdens us to bear ourselves with the proper self-esteem, decorum, and -worth to draw the line, explain our role as a team member, and just refuse if the intent to misuse our profession becomes apparent. Did I say “learned”? Correction – am still learning as collaborative work is always on-going. But I also see the fruits of doing our part to protecting our profession, like communicating the need to do their fair share of the load or the client will somehow see, God forbid, that the landscape architectural team is leaving them behind (“I’d like to see what you have done similar to landscape architecture…”). Or, like seeing them visit and discuss with you substantial design issues and strategic/actual resolutions rather than just asking the availability of a site or landscape master plan GRAPHIC. Or just see them step back, after broadcasting in your most affable, courteous way that landscape architecture isn’t just graphics (hire one or do it yourself!).

    Anyhow, the customary words of caution: – do not highlight any accusatory sounding lines here, it is not the intent of the discussion; do not lose your passion and fervor for graphic communication, it is part and parcel of our vocation as design professionals, nor overlook its value as a valid tool for analysis (especially hand graphics – the oft quoted phrase: “always carry a pen in your shirt pocket for sketching”); and at the end of they day, celebrate the idea that you’re practicing your profession, and look forward at the opportunity to better yourself skill-wise, relation-wise, *-wise (place your desired file format in that wildcard/asterisk). Could be the core stuff to keep you ahead in the office power relations.

    And believe there’s a thing called “karma”. Mother Earth knows this, so much!


    Joe Beck, RLA

    Here are my two cents. As a principal, owner, we all work together as a team to secure the bottom line, MONEY. Pretty pictures are a selling point to ultimately get paid. I have clients who come to me just for the pretty picture, those are the easy projects, being I am an artist first and LA second.

    With that said, there are underlying liability issue involved with graphics…As a Licensed Professional, we protect the public’s Health Safety and Welfare. Therefore if graphics are presented under a seal, then they better be buildable or some trigger happy attorney will have a nice fat fee at your firm’s expense and ultimately putting the qualifier at risk. Landscape Architects as graphic Czars is appropriate, because we can be responsible for the legal realm of graphics, not just a pretty picture.

    CS Thompson

    Graphic Design and visualization as it pertains to the field of Landscape Architecture is one of many communication tools that LAs use to show intent. Some designers gravitate towards these tools, while others may never dream of using these tools. As a result, some LAs may become film makers and sound engineers, etc… but you choose your own path as a landscape architect and as a human, which may lead some away from the field of practicing Landscape Architect. The key is that graphic design and visualization are only elements of communication for a Landscape Architect, which he/she may perform in-house or by contracting the services of another qualified person or company.

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