So what does a landscape architect do, anyway? Working closely with land planners, landscape architects play an important role in the preservation of the environment, while at the same time planning, designing, and managing the land in and around urban areas.
A landscape architect is first and foremost a designer, and may work on a variety of projects including parks, airports, residential subdivisions, high school and college campuses and more.
One of the main goals of the architect is to design projects that are functional for humans, beautiful to look at, but also compatible with the natural environment around them. Everyone remembers the sterile, tract home suburbs built during the 1950s and 1960s, but today people want development that is more harmonious with nature.
Sustainable landscape architecture is an attempt to integrate developments such as golf courses, or office building complexes, into the natural habitat around them, so that man and nature co-exist in the same space.
About the job
Like land planners, landscape architects tend to work in urban areas, although some specialize in suburban or rural settings as well. They spend a lot of time on location in parks, housing developments, airports, highways, urban renewal projects, shopping malls and even sometimes in remote locations like national forests.
This type of architecture requires problem solving skills, and the ability to work with other professionals and community groups and organizations. A good landscape architect also needs to be proficient in graphic design, computer design software, and geometry and math in general. Most people working in this field also have a deep commitment to the environment.
In addition, landscape architects need to have an understanding of plant and animal relationships, noise-absorbing vegetation, and soil erosion. Much of this work is done at the location where the development will be located. They work hand-in-hand with developers, planners, engineers, other architects, naturalists and other specialists.
As part of their on-site planning and analysis, they take notes and study the topography of the site, as well as the local geography, climate, and position of existing structures like bridges and buildings. Then the process is continued back at the office, where the architect works out the sketches, computer aided drawings, and specifications that will make up the actual working model of the project. All of the important details such as walls, roadways, parking facilities, and drainage systems must be included in this model.
Training and certification
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