Landscape Architecture as a Career

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Landscape Architecture as a Career

A landscape architect is an individual who arranges and modifies the effects of natural scenery over a tract of land so as to produce the best aesthetic effect for the land^Òs use. Landscape architecture is the design profession which applies artistic, cultural, and scientific

knowledge to the design, planning, and development of the land. Landscape architects accept certain responsibilities related to the health and welfare of the public and are concerned with resource conservation of the land. The practice of landscape architecture requires an appreciation and understanding of natural and social processes, a creative imagination, and a commitment to preserve or improve the environment for human use and enjoyment.

Landscape architects plan the most harmonious relationships between the land and the objects on it by proper combination of open space and planting, and by wise use of land formation (Concise 151). They may work on parks, gardens, housing projects, school campuses, golf courses, or airports. They begin a project by reviewing the needs and desires of the client. They study the site, mapping such features as the slope of the land, existing structures and the type of soil. They check local building codes and availability of utilities, make drawings which outline the work in detail, and draw up lists of materials to be used.

They then invite bids from construction companies and landscape nursery companies. With the awarding of the contracts, their work may be finished, or they may stay on to supervise the work as their client^Òs representative (151).

A major branch of landscape architecture, golf course architecture, integrates the skills of a landscape architect on a larger scale. The aim a golf course architect is to create a truly great golf course by utilizing to the fullest extent possible the potential of a promising piece of land (Golfplan 1). This potential is expressed in the site^Òs location, slope, vegetation, water features, soil types, climate and orientation. The role a golf course architect is the realization of this potential under the constraints of design criteria that separate the truly great golf course from the ordinary (1).

Landscape architecture, the science and art of modifying land areas by organizing natural, cultivated, or constructed elements according to an aesthetic plan (Encarta 1). The elements include topographical features such as hills, valleys, rivers, and ponds; and growing things such as trees, shrubbery, grass, and flowers; and constructions such as buildings, terraces, roads, bridges, fountains, and statuary. No unalterable rules exist in landscape architecture because each plot of ground offers unique problems caused by variation in contour, climate, and surrounding areas (1).

As early as the third millennium BC, the Egyptians planted gardens within the walled enclosures surrounding their homes (Encarta 2). In Mesopotamia, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In ancient Greece, sacred groves were preserved as the habitats of divinities. Greek houses included a walled court or garden usually surrounded by a colonnade. In 5th-Century BC, Athens public gardens and colonnaded walks attached to the Academy (^Óschool^Ô) and the Lyceum (^Ógymnasium^Ô) were much frequented by philosophers and their disciples (2).

Domestic architecture in the first half of the 20th Century attempted to achieve a closer integration of the house with it^Òs surroundings, as seen in the works of Sven Markelius in Sweden, Alvar Aalto in Finland, and Frank Lloyd Wright in the United States (Encarta 5). The worldwide economic depression between the two world wars forced a shift from domestic settings to large-scale public works, in which landscape architects and planners worked together on entire communities, regional areas, and vast state and national...
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