I mentioned my last post, Landscape by Landscape Architects, in the LinkedIn ASLA and BSLA group discussions, and got some great responses to the observation that the AIA, in this difficult economy, is aiming to position architects as the best professionals to do the infrastructure projects being funded by the economic stimulus. Several suggested that all professional players — LAs, architects, engineers — should be at the table, and that integration among the professions will result in the most effective solutions. Another raised the important point that we live in a free market economy, and that those best qualified, and most adept at showcasing their qualifications, will be those chosen in the free market to do the projects. Still another member commented that LAs need to advocate not just for our qualifications to do the work, but also for the landscapes themselves once they have been designed and installed, as their maintenance requirements are unique and perpetual.
(I just checked those discussion boards, and find that this topic on both boards has been moved to the Jobs section — I’m trying to get them switched back to Discussions, but for now if you check LinkedIn, take a look in Jobs on both the ASLA and BSLA sites. The topic is Architects and Landscape Architecture.)
So — as I say, thoughtful and thought-provoking responses, and clearly this is a topic lots of people have thought about. A couple of people referred also to the William Hamilton piece in the same issue of The Architect’s Newspaper, which discusses the need for the preservation of designed landscapes.
And really, it was reading this feature article, in addition to the editorial that got me thinking about the stance of the AIA and the architectural profession towards landscape architecture. Not the gist of Hamilton’s article, with which it’s hard to disagree, but for his language. In the entire discussion, he uses each of the terms ‘landscape architecture’ and ‘landscape architect’ exactly once. ‘Landscape’, and ‘landscape design’ stand in for landscape architecture through the whole piece. I’m wondering if the decision to do this came from the editors or from Hamilton himself — however it came about it seemed peculiar.
Maybe I’m being persnickety. Language does matter, though. What would an article about architectural preservation look like if it was written without the use of the words ‘architecture’ or ‘architect’? We would be reading sentences like “Enduring building design, like that by master designers like Paul Rudolph and Pierre Koenig, has the power to move societies…”, or “Craig Hartman, the respected SOM designer leading the project, has acknowledge the historical significance of the building…”. Sounds weird, doesn’t it?
And that’s why reading this whole piece, with its curious skirting of ‘landscape architect’ and ‘landscape architecture’ felt weird. Though the deans of twentieth century LA were mentioned, none was given the title ‘landscape architect’, and the profession itself was mentioned only that one time, in reference to its obscurity. I don’t think I’m living in a parallel universe to the real world, but this piece made me wonder.