November 21, 2008 at 7:26 pm #176921Catherine BoslerParticipant
I like the suggestion for “Land Architect” I am getting very tired of everyone inviting me to plant their backyard when they hear the term: “landscape”. Land architect fits very well what we do. Good suggestion Nick!November 22, 2008 at 4:28 pm #176920
I agree with you to some extent. I don’t mind the questions either, I used to be a residential landscape designer and I have an avid interest in horticulture and botany. But those party conversations should include an explanation that, although there are some LA’s who do residential design and plant-related things, the profession is very broad and there are many who do vastly different and very important projects. I always mention Central Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC as examples.November 22, 2008 at 4:31 pm #176919
We have discussed this issue in class before, as well. Some of our thoughts on it were: Our profession is much younger than architecture, and in fact in many parts of the world it is still unknown. Also, Architects design OBJECTS whereas landscape architects usually design the OPEN SPACES around those objects. It is much harder to identify and acknowledge an empty space than it is to acknowledge a structure.November 26, 2008 at 8:56 pm #176918Nathan ElliottParticipant
For a long time, when discussing my work and career with people outside of the design professions I always referred to myself as a landscape architect. In the deep south this almost always immediately followed with a request to look at their backyard. For a long time I bristled at this but time has given me a much better perspective. In Baton Rouge there is a small but growing market for design services. Most people on the street cannot distinguish between a landscape architect and a landscape contractor. The problem isn’t with me – it’s with perception.
Now, as a designer with a design-oriented firm I simply refer to myself as an architect in conversation. For first impressions it usually manages to communicate the general nature of my work and it feels faithful to the spirit of the job. If the conversation goes deeper into the type of practice or whatnot, I identify that I practice landscape architecture.
Many of the points made here regarding the scope and breadth of the profession are spot on. We are a very diverse crowd! James Urban, for example, stopped practicing and now solely consults in what could be considered a horticultural capacity. James Corner, on the opposite end of the spectrum, practices big-concept design and (as I understand it) has a limited understanding of actual construction practices. One firm I worked at treated planting design like a tertiary facet to the profession.
There is a distinct trend for landscape architects to distance themselves from the dirt-under-the-nails aspects of our practice. We are often marginalized by architects, written off by engineers, undervalued by clients but in my opinion it is unfortunate that so much work is done to distance ourselves from what I feel is at the heart of the profession.November 27, 2008 at 12:17 am #176917Greg BishParticipant
This is a discussion that comes around from time to time.
There have been articles and letters on this subject published in LAM many times.
I wonder how many.
I’ve made my peace with ‘Landscape Architect’.
Maybe we should just render ‘Landscape Architect’ into Esperanto. to jazz it up.November 27, 2008 at 1:24 am #176916Nathan ElliottParticipant
I don’t know, “pejzaĝo arkitekto” doesn’t have the same ring to it.November 27, 2008 at 9:14 pm #176915
I don’t even know how to pronounce that!
My last job before I came back to graduate school was in a t own planning office. At the last staff meeting the town manager formally said goodbye and that I was going back to school to learn how to ‘plant bushes’. I was horrified that someone with a background in politics (he had formerly been mayor of a large city) would be so clueless about our profession. We really do need to figure out a way to market ourselves, educate people and spread the word about our discipline. I am not sure if changing the name is the solution…that may confuse things even further.
There is a similar problem in interior design – they are often confused with interior decorators, who don’t need any qualifications or training in order to call themselves that.
Maybe the ASLA could make a commercial promoting our industry? They have an ad for corn syrup now, why not landscape architects?November 28, 2008 at 5:22 am #176914Rico FlorParticipant
Making peace….I think this falls among the best suggestions I’ve ever read in this interesting topic. Just to name another who made peace with the title, the International Labor Organization (ILO). We’re occupation Code 2162, distinct from 2161 (architects), 2164 (town and traffic planners), 214X (any engineer), or (2132) farming advisers. From the International Standard Classification of Occupations, November 2008.
Cheers to all 2162’s!November 28, 2008 at 10:14 pm #176913Paolo PicchiParticipant
I would suggest, experts in openmindness
what you think?
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