Perspectives on Landscape Architecture


I'm a landscape architect working at a mid-large national landscape architecture firm with around 5 years of experience. As I work very frequently with architects,usually as a subconsultant, I wonder more and more about how we can better position ourselves as a company to competitively provide excellent services from design through construction.

My question is this: what do you wish landscape architecture firms did more often? what would make you really interested in working with a landscape architecture firm? Appreciate any feedback.

(this is probably a topic for a separate post, but I've been recently interested in exploring the capabilities of Revit for landscape architecture, and wondering if that would be a competitive edge for us for us)

Aug 20, 17 5:18 pm

Yes, THE ONLY possible improvement to the "business intelligence" model of BOTH Lar and arch is in true technological competence.

Unfortunately or "golden opportunity"  the industries are 17 years behind the tech times. Now I have an outline that explains why in its most basic reason, but this is not the place for it except to say they never have been told by computer science what is going on to have even arrived at BIM and that BIM concepts are now populating every object in the digital and real world with "extra data".

And because of Object Oriented programming evolution that data is in a designed form easily accessible by the whole digital complex, in fact we have OODLES of competing technologies trying to offer the same intel, services and products to help these industries but their academic and professional org sectors are not informed properly.

So, if you want to make a synergistic change in adopting emerging technology you have to be an "evangelist", you have to know the basic concepts of smart computing and you then will know automation programming talent has to be an INTEGRAL part of the team.

Now a days if one was going to work at an arch or lar firm, and they knew the true tech potential you have interview the company to see just how far behind they are and how serious they are on actually changing while being guided by the right expertise.

You will find they rarely even know how far behind they are. We would all like to see more programmers becoming part of design intelligence teams and innovation is the rule because the way it is now is neither working or advancing any AI framework development. because the truth is it is ALL going to beta AI in say 10 more years and, for example, these BIM systems will naturally evolve into the framework; without automation technology AI would never have been possible to model these industries, but at some point software and architecture systems need to become parallel not perpendicular.

Good luck, you are on the right track. 

Aug 20, 17 6:06 pm

thanks for the response. I'm not totally sure what you are getting at with AI, but I do believe LAs are not using current technology to it's full potential. Those who maintain technological literacy will more easily avoid slipping into irrelevancy.


^Jesus H. .......

Aug 21, 17 7:00 am

Yep, blasting BIM into every thread, that's why they introduced the ignore button :-)


I think most perspectives on landscape architecture are frog eyed and eye level with some bird's eye here and there.

Aug 21, 17 10:41 am

landscape is generally under appreciated in the US, yet it's hard imagine how horrible our towns and cities would be without plants and designed landscapes.  To your question, I wish they did more to convey the value of the landscape and less to try and convince the world of the value of the profession.  

Aug 21, 17 1:09 pm

interesting point. I feel that the value of the landscape is generally understood. People like to have parks in the neighborhoods, gardens on their property, trees along the streets, etc. The connection between what people see/experience and the landscape architecture behind those places is what's difficult. So, I would argue that advocating for the profession is equally important.


People visit a restaurant because the food is great, not because the chef has a state issued food handlers license.


Or because chefs work hard


asla has hijacked the great art of landscape design, wrapped it in beurocratic red tape, and now it's slowly devolving into a profession...:(


I would love to have a landscape architect on every job because I really appreciate an integrated multi-disciplinary approach. But there don't seem to be too many that are good. The ones that are good are really busy. You can limit having another consultant to manage by having the landscaping done after the fact and that's acceptable for most projects. 

Aug 21, 17 1:41 pm

ah, the old shrub it up method.


you say it seems like there are not too many that are "good". what would you describe as a "good" or even "great" landscape architect?


personal experiences, i wouldn't worry about it.


I've been thinking about this and I think what needs to happen is the landscape architects need to be there in the beginning to help with pre-design... they need to be part of the team that the owner hires and not brought in as a consultant for the architect. Otherwise, it is still just shrubbing it up if you aren't there from the get-go.

I'm assuming this is partially  based on the article in LAM. 

I'm still not convinced that BIM in it's current state is the ideal tool for LA. There's been increased interest in rhino/grasshopper because of the interface and how surfaces are manipulated, but the I'm not familiar with how the BIM components work. 

Regardless, its a good question and I'm curious what the responses will be as well.

Aug 21, 17 2:16 pm

Marc, spot on about the LAM article. I'd already been thinking about this topic and the article just came out at a perfect time.

I agree about BIM currently maybe not being the perfect tool for LA, but the issue is that LAs don't work in a vacuum - we work as a part of a project team, and very frequently with architects and engineers. It just seems to me that most LA firms are far behind the technology curve, and if a firm really wanted to stand out, they would align themselves with the technologies used by Architecture firms, or technologies that "play well" with them. 

I've been looking into Revit because I think it's highly likely we'll see a shift toward it from the LA side in the coming years. We will learn to use it because it offers so much more value to a client or project team. There may be allied programs or plugins but I think it's better to take the plunge earlier rather than later. Is now the right time?

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