Landscape architecture is related to the designing of structures, landmarks and outdoor public areas to achieve aesthetic, environmental or social-behavioral outcomes. It involves the detailed and methodical investigation of existing sociological, soil and social conditions & processes in the landscaping, as well as the designing of interventions that will produce the needed outcome.
What is landscape architecture?
Landscape architecture is essentially a multi-disciplinary field that incorporates aspects of horticulture, architecture, soil sciences, industrial design, fine arts, ecology, geography, environmental psychology and architecture. The tasks that landscape architecture teams handle include:
• Creation of public parkways and parks
• Site planning for corporate office parks and campuses
• Design of residential estates
• Design of civil infrastructure
• Management of large wilderness areas
• Reclamation of degraded landscapes including landfills or mines
Landscape architecture deals with external spaces and structures with limitations towards the park /landscape aspect of the design. It is used in the designing of small or large, rural, urban and suburban landscaping using softscaping (plantings) and hardscaping (masonry) products and materials, with sustainability in view.
The most valuable contribution that landscape architects make is at the starting phase of a project where ideas are generated with creative flair and technical understanding for the utilization, organization and design of spaces. The overall concepts will be conceived and master plan prepared.
These will then be used to create technical specifications and detailed design drawings as needed. As part of these projects, proposals will be reviewed to supervise and authorize contracts before commencing the construction work. Aside from this, design impact measurements will be prepared and environmental audits and assessments will be conducted as part of architectural landscaping tasks.
Landscape architecture is used in analyzing, building, designing, managing and nurturing natural as well as constructed environments. The quality of landscape architecture has a significant impact on the local communities and their quality of life.
What is a landscape architect?
A landscape architects plans and designs traditional outdoor places such as parks, gardens, cemeteries and waterfront developments; they also plan and design structures such campuses, resorts, commercial centers, residential developments, institutional & corporate centers, transportation facilities and more. Designing and planning these structures help define communities.
Aside from this, they are involved in the designing, planning as well as restoration of various natural areas disturbed by humans, such as stream corridors, wetlands, forested areas and mined areas. Their knowledge of cultural resources and historic landscaping allows these professionals to undertake comprehensive planning projects for local, regional and national areas and historical sites.
A landscape architect may work with public sector entities such as local, regional, state and federal municipal agencies involved in land development, planning and preservation. They may also work with private sector entities such as planning, architectural and engineering firms. These professionals may be involved in projects launched by large corporations which have internal physical planning departments. Some landscape architects are consultants and offer services or products related to land development and planning.
Landscape architects work with city planners, civil engineers and architects as well as other professionals (depending on the nature of the project). They play a key role in environmental protection by effectively designing and implementing projects that meet the needs of and respect the environment as well as people that live there. These professionals also have a very important role to play in the designing and renewal of cities and outdoor spaces across urban and rural settings.
Landscape architecture projects seek to efficiently create vibrant & active spaces for individuals, as well as protecting any areas that are of environmental or historical significance. The planning and designing of these spaces contributes significantly to the local identity that attracts fiscal benefits to the local economies. The design of spaces used for cycling, relaxation, entertainment, walking and public events helps create active communities.
Duties that a landscape architect performs
Landscape architects collaborate on a very wide variety of tasks, but some duties that these professionals perform include:
• The planning, form, siting and scale of new developments
• General design, parks and public infrastructure
• Sustainable development
• Green infrastructure & constructed wetlands
• Stormwater management including green roofs, rain gardens and groundwater recharge
• Planning and design of parks, greenways, botanical gardens nature preserves and arboretums
• Landscape designing for educational function
• Site design for government facilities and public institutions
• Planning and conceptualization of recreation facilities such as golf courses, playgrounds, sports facilities and theme parks
• Design & planning of commercial developments, housing developments and industrial parks
• Residence and estate landscape master-planning and designing
• Design and planning of locations of transportation structures, bridges, highways and transit corridors
• Recreating historical landscapes
• Historic garden appraisal & detailed conservation studies
• Urban designing and design of city and town squares, waterfronts, parking lots and pedestrian schemes
• Environmental assessment
• Landscape assessment
• Land management proposals and planning advice
• Reservoirs, power stations, dams, reclamation of various extractive industry applications or large-scale industrial projects &mitigation
• Offshore and coastal developments and mitigation
• Any aspect of design that helps minimize environmentally-destructive impacts by integrating itself with sustainability and natural processes
• Serving as expert witnesses at inquiries on issues related to land use
Systems and tools that landscape architects use
Some of the software that landscape architects use includes:
• Vectorworks or AutoCAD
• Adobe Illustrator
• Autodesk 3ds Max
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