Jean Marcucci

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    Jean Marcucci

    There is alot of crossover in trying to differentiate between LAs and LDs.

    I do not hire a chemical engineer to make me a vodka martini, although the man I love happens to be one and he does make a mean martini. But so does John at my favorite martini bar, and he is not a ChemE.

    If my back is sore, I might go to my GP for some prescription anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxants; or I could go have a massage or a chiropractic adjustment; or I might be more careful about my posture over the computer; or I might take a yoga class. I doubt I would see a brain surgeon, however. That said, I would not see a chiropractor if an MRI revealed I had brain cancer.

    You get my point. It just depends. Often there is more than one appropriate solution. There are situations where things are best left to those who specialize and other times it doesn’t matter. At the design/build firm where I work, I frequently cost for bid projects that were designed by LAs or Engineers. (These projects are almost always public spaces.) I have seen really good, clear, concise plans that are easy to cost, wonderful to look at and are easy for our site crews to follow, and there are those speced with invasive plant materials (one firm uses the same plants in every design I have seen.) Sometimes the graphics for paving are so unclear it makes costing them a gamble. One LA firm refused to answer my questions when I called–said they were much too busy to talk to me. I have also worked with homeowners on planting components of projects where a family member did a beautiful job building a deck or terrace, while in compliance with all township codes–there are good craftsmen out there. And I have seen some nightmares on the DIY front, too.

    All this aside, I consider myself a design professional; I have put in the time and have the academics to back it up. I behave responsibly to the Earth, to my clients, to my colleagues. I would happily work side by side with a LA, an LD, a carpenter or a gardener as there is strength in diversity and give repspect to all points of view; our success would be measured on how well we satisfied the client. There will always be someone more expert than myself, and that has nothing to do with title. We all become better at what we do when we learn from each other. Each day, we all engage in “tasks” that make up our work–deadlines to meet, meetings to attend–all of that–no matter what our title. It is troubling to me that there is a sentiment that LDs are not as good as LAs. I get back to my earlier point–it just depends. John’s martini tastes just as good as Rob’s and I’m on my way to yoga class.

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