Non-RLA’s using the title Landscape Architect

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Non-RLA’s using the title Landscape Architect

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    Jacob E. Rohde

    I guess I need to erase my profile here… It is “the premeire site for Landscape Architects”… Since I only have a BLA and not licensed and I cannot call myself an LA I guess I have no choice… Thanks for pointing this out…

    Rick Spalenka

    “I’m sorry Rick, but I strongly believe that you have to have a little ability to open people’s eyes to be a successful designer of anything. You might not win them all but you at least have to give it your best shot. “


    I’ve been involved in many community education projects and events.  See my web site under Profile.  Me, like you, have been around the block for a long time.  I made a big LA professional mistake relocating to Western Colorado.  I thought the beauty of this area was too much to not live here.  I had the where with all to relocate so I did and now regret it professionally.   When one lives among beauty one has little incentive to spend money on competing with nature.


    This area is going through a very dramatic economic crisis right now and the only work are minimalist projects.  The State licensing requirement occured at the same time as the economy sank so hopefully I can return to a time of passion in the near future.  Continue your optomistic crusade we need it.  Oh, Jacob, you are a landscape architect and don’t let anyone say otherwise.




    just drove through your neck of the woods this weekend on  our way to Moab, UT. If you’re a cyclist, runner, or motorhead I highly recommend it. If you’re a cyclist, you’ve probably already hit Fruita just down the road.


    Anyway, I can certainly see where you’re coming from, and working for a ‘one man office’ for a while now I completely understand the frustration and politics involved.


    You mentioned the ‘competition’ between the natural and built, or whatever we want to call it. I see your point, but also, I see a lot of these small towns as great opportunities for good design, because sop much bad design has nearly ruined them. I would even go as far to argue that poor design is a primary factor for the economic instability in many small towns like Grand Junction, CO, Fruita, and Moab.


    Moab is a prime example of bad planning and poor land management gone awry and worse. Although, I cant work out the economic models, it is clear to me how’good’ design and planning could make all the difference in such a community, particularly tourism.


    Fruita will llikely be the next ‘hot’ vacation/action sports spot, but it needs better planning, public space, etc. This leads to the age old ‘chicken or egg’ question. If you build it, will they come? Are they not coming becaue you never built it, or it was built poorly? Or maybe we built the wrong thing?


    My point is that I understand and empathize with howdifficult it is to be an LA right now, especially on the western slope, but I also try to look at these places as unrealized opportunities.


    Thanks for being candid and honest.



    Jason Morehouse

    I think the author of this is misguided to say the least. While we may not technically be considered landscape architects, being called a landscape designer is demeaning since we have a college degree. I disagree with the statement that us “kids” out of school have zero knowledge or skills out of college. We clearly have many skills and a lot of knowledge since we just spent 4 years in school learning about the profession, we may have less knowledge and skills but saying none is ignorant. And it doesn’t matter if u call urself a RLA, LAIT, landscape designer, everyone thinks yo ur a landscaper anyways because no understands what we do.

    Jason Morehouse

    I agree with this completely. Your work should be what really matters, your title is just an ego boost

    Michael Todoran

    Good thread: I will be graduating in a year, and will have to face these issues soon. Thanks for the Landscape Architect in Training (LAIT) title suggestion. I will use that.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    There seems to be a consensus that few outside of the design professions know what a landscape architect is. If that is the case, then the bulk of the people that the false claim is going to be targeted to is design professionals. Why would anyone not see this as a direct devaluation of the license, if that is the case?


    There is so much griping that the profession gets no respect, but we have far more people with LA degrees who are not licensed than we do who are. If half of them call themselves landscape architects, the perception of the profession is being formed in a big way by non-LAs.


    So what do you want? You either want it to be a respectable  “Profession” that carries with it the gravity of what it takes to get there, or you want it to be a lot easier than that. It can’t be both at once.


    The real issue is that people want the Profession to be respected, yet they want instant membership for themselves. People want to own the reputation of others. The problem is that it is a two way street. If non-LAs share the reputation of LAs, then the LA’s wind up sharing the reputation of the non-LAs.


    The issue is dilution of the profession pure and simple.

    Jon Quackenbush

    Being wise is knowing that you know nothing, being an asswipe is pointing out to others that they know nothing.

    I try to fall in the middle somewhere.  It’s called a wise-ass.  People love us.


    Come on the beauty of western Colorado is why there’s not a lot going on is just an excuse. There must be a lot of naturally occurring cleared, leveled, positive draining land that just happens to be off of built roads there or everyone must build on stilts. Typically sites have to be cleared and graded to build on, which means there should at least be work for LAs to do planting designs, if they don’t do grading and drainage plans.  It makes sense to me that in such a beautiful place there would be some incentive to try to restore some of the natural beauty after the land is scraped and scoured. If your theory was valid then there wouldn’t be any LAs in Florida, California or any of the beautiful areas between. Besides I don’t think landscape architects should be trying to compete with nature anyway.


    This economy has been hard on everyone. There is no LA Shangri-La in this country right now. Well at least it’s not where I live.  


    Thank you – I will continue my optimistic crusade, because the alternative would make me want to jump off a bridge. I’m saying this respectfully to one of my senior landscape architects, “…make lemonade”.

    Rick Spalenka

    Nick, you should have called.  We have lots of room.  Speaking of small towns that need good design we have to compete against the State of Colorado that offers free community landscape architect service.  Restated, a small community will not pay for professional private LA services when they can get it from the State for free!  It’s funny you mention the poor design of Moab.  I came to Colorado 16 years ago with the offer of being the County Planner but when I got here the politics offered the position to a circuit planner who also provided planning services to Moab.  I critcized his ideas and was labled “an Eastern planner” with no understanding of the West.  What they didn’t accept was the experience I had watching a “small community” of less than 10,000 grow into the largest city in Virginia of over 450,000 in 50 years.  I saw what did and didn’t work.  My “vindication” was that over the last 16 years what I predicted in the local planning came true.  His ideas didn’t work and I watched a parade of planners come and go.  I also learned the “Western” spirit inclued rudeness and stubborness.  Translated:” I’ve been here all my life so I know what’s best. ”  Excuse me but there’s a whole world out there where ideas have been recycled for more centuries than most people around here can count.


    Back to the initial purpose of this thread I remember almost 40 years ago we landscape architects aimed at obtaining the title of Registered Landscape Architect.  It was a goal we knew was not going to occur overnight.  It was a goal we worked towards.  In the mean time we were Landscape Architects.  Too bad our culture does not recognize the acronym RLA as readily as RN.  That would be a nice crusade but we don’t touch the general public as often as an RN does.  I guess we need to get out there and touch more people using the title LA or RLA.  Be careful where you touch.


    By the power vested in me, I here by declare you Supreme Reverend Colonel Nick Aceto, der Master Landscape Architect. Go forth and do good work.


    Is that a big enough title to match your ego?


    “I call myself a landscape architect sometimes in casual conversation, sometimes just designer, sometimes landscape designer, sometimes planner, sometimes graphic artist, sometimes just artist and even sometimes architect. It doesn’t particularly matter to me…”


    These are your words and you have the nerve to accuse anyone of have security and ego issues.


    Nick you appear to be an extremely talented guy with a bright future, but I believe if you can’t feel comfortable just being Nick the landscape designer, you’ll never be at peace with Nick Aceto, Registered Landscape Architect.  I wonder what you’ll call yourself then at cocktail parties.



    Jason Morehouse

    I suppose about 70 percemt of everyone on this site if not more would have to do the same myself included.

    Jon Quackenbush

    Nah. Life is about navigating through actual troubles and challenges as effortlessly as possible.  Some people are unable to do so even remotely, and thus make generalizations and assumptions regarding the character of others, then go on to make broad professional edicts based on their prejudices and insecurities. 

    I don’t sweat them, actually, being a natural button pusher I just sit back and enjoy the entertainment.

    I am still of the opinion that you can call yourself whatever you want, just so long as you are aware of the circumstances.  When speaking to those who aren’t savvy enough to discern the difference between a Landscape Architect and a Landscape Designer, I think it does more good for the profession to say that you are a Landscape Architect because through speaking with you there is now one more person who has a vague idea of what the profession is, and one less time you’ll have to answer the question “So now that it is summer, your probably really busy, right?”

    Conversely, while in my professional LA office, I know my place, therefore I am a designer, landscape designer, & project manager doing the work of landscape architecture. 


    Les Ballard

    With acknowledgements to the Ting Tings:

    They call me an intuitive environmentalist like it all comes from space

    they call me a tree wizard like knowledge is from heaven or hell

    and a landscape consultant cos I try to help anyone, even (ssshh) LAs apace

    but I’ve done what I do for 48 years now and it’s clear as a bell

    if I do it for free they call me an archangel

    but if they ring me they can call me what they like if only they pay well.

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