Will LAs always be at the mercy of architects?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE Will LAs always be at the mercy of architects?

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 70 total)
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  • #168862
    nca
    Participant

    Andrew,

    Your comment is a little hard to follow. I’m not sure this really has anything to do with having an ‘inferiority complex’ or even ego.

    Can you clarify?

    #168861
    nca
    Participant

    It has nothing to do with shame Tim.

    #168860
    Mandy
    Participant

    After all these posts, I can’t help but notice a divide between the younger generation of LAs and the older generation of LAs. This then leads my train of thought to several articles I’ve read on HBR (Harvard Business Review) about the generational divide between the gen x, gen y and boomers.

    http://blogs.hbr.org/hbr/hbreditors/2010/04/transparency_and_employ…
    http://web.hbr.org/email/archive/managementtip.php?date=061010
    http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2007/07/gen_x_and_gen_y_respond_to_wor.html

    Could it be maybe this isn’t an issue about LAs vs. Architects vs. Horticulturalists vs. Contractors vs…, maybe it’s a lack of understanding and differences in expectations that each generation has.

    Also, all this talk about management styles and who’s the boss and who isn’t the boss reminded me of this following article about shared leadership that’s definitely worth reading.

    http://blogs.hbr.org/goldsmith/2010/05/sharing_leadership_to_maximi…

    Maybe an MBA isn’t such a bad idea after all…

    #168859
    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    I’m just saying that it seems like half of the threads on this message board are on the three unrealistic expectations.

    One is that all landscape architects and interns are equal members of a charette team who should all be stepping up to introduce ideas and solutions to improve the project at all levels in every venue. Basically, that every individual in the profession should be an assertive champion of a greater design irrespective of who you work with, who your employer is, who your firm is working under, who the client is, or anything else. When this is not the case (I’m not saying that it is never the case) the first reaction seems not to be trying to understand the complexities of all of the relationships, agendas, and expectations of others, but how everything else needs to change to make that initial self serving expectation a reality. Clearly, that is immature thinking and ego driven.

    Another is that every LA firm is hired to completely take over all aspects of the design outside of the buildings every time they are hired. Sometimes this is the case, but more often it is to pick up the design from some point (very general to nearly complete) and finish it off. The project manager should know exactly what is in play and what is not so much in play based on being through all of the meetings, the interactions with the others that he is working with, and having his thumb on the pulse of the project. That person can not easily transfer that sense of understanding the whole project to everyone working under him (or her) and is not likely going to waste his time trying to do so when that is the case. This would particularly be true with an intern or someone who has not had much experience in the awareness of how they play with others. An intern who expects that this should not be is either immature in not understanding it, or egotistical to believe that (s)he has a complete understanding of these relationships with no experience of having the thumb on the pulse so to speak.

    Another is the thought that all landscape architects should be empowered to have full control of all aspects of design that occurs outside of buildings because we are “landscape” architects and no one else is. This shows up as complaints that architects or engineers stole our work, or there needs to be more teeth in laws to require the use of landscape architects at the exclusion of others, or the posts that we are the only ones uniquely qualified to do so. Clearly there are lots of successful funtional and pleasing outdoor spaces not designed by landscape architects as well as those designed by them confirming that some others are capable as well. Very poor outdoor spaces have also been designed by landscape architects dispelling the fantasy that ALL landscape architects are superior to anyone else designing on the land. This is why I believe that it is an immature and ego driven view of how things are or should be.

    These are general observations and not directed at any individuals, but if you go through the last two years of threads on this site, these three expectations are very evident. Whether or not anyone else believes that there is merrit to my view on it is certainly not up to me.

    Obviously, as we get better understandings in all of these areas, it is up to us to do what is best for us as individuals, our co-workers, the firms we work for, and that includes asserting ourselves to make improvements to office culture as well as design. I’m just saying that you can’t come out of the chute asserting that you know more about your job than the people you work for. In the end you might, but you don’t know what you don’t know, so you need to be patient for a while.

    #168858
    Rob Halpern
    Participant

    Mandy,

    I think you have hit on one of the important points. I have also been watching these commentaries on how different generations may (or may not) work together and I’ll confess I am curious to see how it plays out. There is nothing new in young people being passionate, idealistic and believing they have all the answers. Or believing that their elders aren’t taking them seriously. But there is a certain entitlement to the current version that is likely to create more resentment and friction if nothing else (right or wrong, it’s gonna hurt at some point!)

    And this thread has shown that there is a fair amount of lack of mutual respect and aversion to give-and-take collaboration. That is gonna hurt, too.

    As an older designer (gasp!) I have come to conclude that I have insights and I have skills and experience… but my little brain hurricane doesn’t make me “right.” Anything can be done in a number of successful ways. But is there a “best”? I don’t think so anymore. There are lots of “best designs.” And in the end, it doesn’t belong to me: it belongs to the Owner and to some extent to the team. The Lead is the lead. I can’t get all bothered about it, it’s just “stuff.” (OK, so I do get bothered anyway!) Maybe it’s because I have had so many rewarding collaborative design experiences that I have faith. It isn’t always rewarded, but it usually is.

    Further, I entirely support what Andrew G just posted

    #168857
    Craig Anthony
    Participant

    There will always be generational divides, that’s just human nature. I think the introduction of the computer in the design professions has added fuel to the fire. There are senior landscape architects that know nothing about CAD and other computer tools. I think a lot of the older folks in offices are intimidated by the younger folks who have grown up with computers and are quite comfortable using them. I guess you could say the “Old Timers” that haven’t adapted to the new technology feel they are becoming obsolete. Some of the younger staff see the lack of computer skills in older staff members and equate this lack of skill with incompetence.

    I think all of this is silly. I think the best offices are the ones with a balanced mix of senior and junior staff. We can all learn from each other.

    #168856
    Pat S. Rosend
    Participant

    Well we were required to take an architecture class and it gave me a general understanding of how buildings work and what an architect might be thinking when he is developing a design. It is very building focused as you would imagine. I would think that an overview of site design would give architects and appreciation for the nuances of site design…not an expertise.

    #168855
    Rob Halpern
    Participant

    Perhaps not made any easier as more employees postpone retirement later and later. It’s not just the partners who might be forty or fifty years older than you, but the other associates as well.

    Of course, the issue remains, does this shed any light on Mandy’s original question about landscape architects being at the mercy or architects?

    Do architects have mercy?

    #168854
    nca
    Participant

    I think in this discussion, the ‘senior group’ is presuming a lot more about ‘the juniors’ than vice versa. Maybe that’s part of the problem?

    #168853
    Craig Anthony
    Participant

    Maybe you’re right. As part of the “senior group”, I assume that we all can learn and grow from relationships with one another regardless of experience levels. I assume that more experience is better than no experience. I assume that innovation is better than doing things the way they’ve always been done. I also assume that the last thing we all need is to turn this into an “old school” vs. “new school” thing.

    I feel there’s nothing better than being in an office with young people who are energetic and full of new ideas, but it’s also nice to have someone senior to you who has “been there, done that” as a resource.

    #168852
    nca
    Participant

    In terms of experience, I would have agreed with you a few months ago regarding the comment that,’more experience is better than no experience,’ but now I might say that the only thing worse than no experience is lots of really bad experience.

    #168851
    Craig Anthony
    Participant

    I agree with you 100%. This why we have to question and challenge one another. Every profession has it’s bad apples.

    #168850
    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    I don’t see this as having a whole lot to do with seniors vs. young. It is more about pre-conception of how things should be and adjusting to how things actually are.

    There are probably plenty of offices where new people can come in and be assertive right away and be appreciated for it. BUT, when it is clear that you are not in one of those situations you have to slow down and take the time to feel out how you are expected to proceed and then you might test the waters of how far and how fast you can expand that envelope. The envelope will expand. If it does not, there will be other places and other faces down the road. It is not a bad thing.

    #168849
    nca
    Participant

    I agree, regardless of level of experience.

    Your other posts kind of sounded to me like you were saying there should be a specific time limit on when someone can start participating in ‘the discussion.’ I don’t necessarily think that’s true as a rule.

    I’m still not sure there really is any way to say there is a specific way things are all over. Like you said, all offices have a different dynamic.

    #168848
    Jason T. Radice
    Participant

    Many offices are still old school, or have too many old school people still in them. If you have less than 5 years, all you are is production. And if you are a woman, make that 7 years. I’ve unfortunately seen this first hand. Architecture (landscape less so) is still a men’s club in many respects. And many places still either hire you as a CAD jockey, or strongly beleive in the old “apprenticeship” method. They are not looking for opinion, or ways to improve their practice through innovation or new design trends. They are complacent in their own little world, because it’s the way THEY learned.

    When I have had interns or new-hires…the first thing I tell them is to speak up and give me their thoughts…an explain WHY. I try to get them involved in every aspect of the projects. Whats the big secret about propsals, management, and budgets, anyway? I throw them right into the fire (with supervision, of course) because its the only way to learn properly, and quickly.

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