“Critic’s Notebook: L.A.’s landscape architects labor in anonymity” – LA Times Calender Magazine

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION “Critic’s Notebook: L.A.’s landscape architects labor in anonymity” – LA Times Calender Magazine

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    The LA Times’ Calender Magazine had a front page article today about us.  Pretty much sums up the entire nation, not just Los Angeles.





    Jay Smith

    The story within the story:  A major U.S. publication actually writing an entire article about Landscape Architecture.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Perhaps it is the success of a well created piece of nature that makes one disassociate people from it. A building is so man made that it makes people think “who made this”. An outdoor space, even if built of hardscapes and line along with plants just feels  much less associated with a human creator.


    People tend to view a park as land that was not developed rather than something created.


    I think these are natural human tendencies and if recognition by the general public is what we are all after we are as equally myopic as those who don’t see landscape architects.


    … but I also have to wonder how many architects names anyone knows who do not work with them. … and then those famous civil engineers… um,…Eifel because he made a tower and a statue? who designed the Golden Gate Bridge? The Saint Louis Arch? The bridge to Key West? … Hoover Dam?  Mount Rushmore? … it ain’t just us.


    I know who knocked down the twin towers, but I sure don’t know who designed them.



    Good points Andrew.  It seems like there are more humble designers than boastful designers.  I design, not to be recognized per say, but to enhance the quality of the space.


    I think that Architects go for what the building looks like because it stands out on a plane.  Landscape Architects, probably because their designs are on a flat plane, see a successful design as how the space is being used and by how many.  We design for people to use and be in, not as much to look at, like a building.



    Noah Mabry

    Mostly agreed. Although we may be able to recite the names of the starchitects (and not so starchitects), the general public cannot.


    However, I don’t think thats what I’m after when I copmlain about people not knowing what LAs do. I think its just important for landscape architecture as a proffession to have a certain ammount of public awareness, so that when projects arise the people who are the best for the job are actually the ones who are called upon.


    Also the author of the article makes a good point about preservation. If the public is more aware of the creators of landscapes, then they will more highly value their creations as culturally significant. This is one of the many reasons I’m a big fan of the CLF’s work.

    Jon Quackenbush

    haha, i was thinking the same thing.

    Jon Quackenbush

    Gutzon Borglum designed Mount Rushmore.  I remember that because he had an awesome name…

    Trace One

    How about this:

    Landscapes are less well known  because they are inherently more fragile and transient than buildings.
    We still have the pyramids – we do not have the gardens around them..

    Working in t he teeny patio garden I have with my present living conditions, I was t hinking how transient it is – I rent, and when I leave, the garden will leave also..It was a garden for three years.

    It is in contrast with how long it can take for a garden to grow into what it is supposed to be..

    In the Hamptons for a while there was a well-known ‘sculptor’ who for a couple of summers went around on the beach edges assembling these gorgeous structures to be wiped out by the next tide.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Good call, Jon. 

    His family continues to carve Crazy Horse at 10x the size of the Rushmore sculptures. If you’ve been to either place, they have a lot about him and the family. … I bet Tanya knows the details well.


    SoDak is the US’s best kept secret. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the Badlands, and Custer State Park should be on everyone’s bucket list.

    Nord Wennerstrom

    LA Times’ Hawthorne also ran this item on the same day about the Lawrence Halprin-designed Bunker Hill Steps: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2011/04/ground-level-lawrence-halprins-bunker-hill-steps-.html


    Here’s a nice little opinion piece a Delaware landscape architect wrote about McHarg’s proposals for Japan.  I think its notable in that he uses an internationally known event to publicize an aspect of landscape architecture that most laypeople don’t know about.  My Dad sent me a clipping and put a little note on it: “I thought this was a specialty of geologists!”  Kind of frustrating when even your parents don’t know what a landscape architect is trained to do!


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