January 14, 2010 at 2:26 am #171841Tonie C.Participant
It’s funny that in my transition from industrial design to landscape architecture I found the same issue. What’s in a name? Industrial designers were always lamenting being mistaken for factory designers. I think that my cocktail party persona must have been closer to Rosie the Riveter than any hipster on HGTV.
Now I’m asked if I’m a “Landscaper”. I generally tell people that a contractor is to an architect as a landscaper is to a landscape architect. They always seem to understand and we move pretty quickly into their back yard quandaries.
I don’t think that people understand much about other people’s professions; even the ones we think are pretty straightforward. If I had to tell you what an actuary does all day I wouldn’t be able to come up with more than a one-sentence answer. My own mother has always described my profession as “something like architecture”, even when it really wasn’t at all related.
I like Chad’s stock answer “I do for the outdoors what an architect does for a building. I sometimes tell the architect where to put the building. I use plants, the sky, the ground, the views and built elements to define space and provide for the intended use just as an architect uses walls, ceilings, floors, furniture and decoration. I do my best to compose all this in an aesthetic composition that generates an emotional response appropriate to the place and its purpose.” Which my mother would agree is “something like architecture”.January 14, 2010 at 3:02 am #171840ncaParticipant
Industrial design..I’m jealous. If only I could do it all over again.January 14, 2010 at 5:11 pm #171839Pearl MayParticipant
Interesting thread everyone! I know MD’s who lie about what they do when socializing so they don’t have to look down other peoples throats at a cocktail party. I also know a prominent attorney in the public sector that consistently gets asked to help waive peoples parking tickets. It happens to everyone. Be proud of what you do, explain it to an interested party, and you may get more “Wow, I wish I would have known about that profession when I was younger, I would love to do that!” as opposed to HGTV garble. And backyards can be really great. After the developers leave the owners with no topsoil, some Spirea, and one Autumn Blaze Maple is when you can come in and make it right!January 14, 2010 at 8:05 pm #171838Zach WatsonParticipant
Personally I have no problem with HGTV, but I would rather watch DIY. I don’t think that the network is the problem because just think about it, if you were asked to be on one of the shows wouldn’t you like to have the network give your title as a Landscape Architect? After having taken a look at many of the posts on the topic, I think that changing the title of our profession would not change anything. Reason being that people outside of the profession still would not be able to fully understand what we do. They see it all around them and experience it everyday, but don’t recognize it as design because it’s still ‘nature’. In thinking about it most people automatically think of their personal yard because it’s a landscape that they can relate to, something that they could change an manipulate themselves. HGTV or DIY would still list us as a Land Architect and when we talk to others they would still think of us as people who design yards. The only thing that it might change is we don’t get mistaken for those who trim trees and shrubs.
I just thought it was an interesting topic and it has been fun to read what everyone has said.January 14, 2010 at 9:11 pm #171837Adam E. AndersonParticipant
What an absolute waste of a conversation. Perhaps if we spent less time worrying about what people call us and just do great things, then it won’t f*cking matter.
If you can’t tell, I’m exhausted with this frivolous conversation. Do good work and people will know what you do.January 15, 2010 at 2:52 am #171836Mike GParticipant
Hey so what do you do?
I’m an accountant.
Oh….. Thats nice. You must be getting really busy this time of the year.
Yes. I am. (silence)
Hey so what do you do?
I’m a landscape architect.
Oh wow! I heard that was one of the 50 best careers of the decade. Have you seen that new fancy public garden in our cities nearest center?
Why yes, as a matter of fact, I designed it….
*Accountants are really awsome and provide very necessary services. They’re just not as cool as landscape architects. Neither are insurance claims adjusters or human resource representatives.January 15, 2010 at 3:10 am #171835Zach WatsonParticipant
haha I love the dialog!! Without putting this train of thought into words, I have had this same type of thought. Many people that I talk to while most don’t know what a Landscape Architect does do begin to find it interesting once I begin to talk to them about it, and some of the things that I have done in school.January 15, 2010 at 3:38 am #171834Pearl MayParticipant
We are pretty cool, aren’t we. It’s nice to finally sit at the lunch table with the cool kids.
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