Landscape Architecture is a diverse subject. The Landscape Institute’s website says
“Landscape Architecture combines design with the environment, art with science. It is about everything outside the front door, both urban and rural, at the interface between people and natural systems.”
Quite broad it would seem. What I think is the title Landscape Architecture is an umbrella term and within that term there are a number of fields. Some which are more popular and we hear the most about are projects in Landscape Design and those we tend to hear less about such as Landscape Science. Even thought the title of my course is Garden Art and Design I studied alongside the Landscape Architecture students and for the most part apart from one or two modules in my opinion there hasn’t been much difference. I’ve been taught the basics of good design with a leaning towards Landscape Architecture. Most students it would seem start out studying landscape in its broadest sense, which in my experience is what I’ve done. This is Landscape Design. As studies progress and depending on interests you can then go on to develop further. Gaining a degree in Landscape Architecture though does not make a Landscape Architect and you cannot call yourself such. This requires further study to MA level, being involved in a practice and mentored by an already chartered professional to become chartered yourself. It is a highly trained profession taking time and commitment to become skilled enough to handle complex projects. It requires a certain dedication and a long term view particularly as it can take three years to become chartered. But to build any career of value requires foresight and dedication otherwise what would be the point in doing it.
Landscape Architecture is a profession which cares about the environment. To be a Landscape Architect means to study places, manage places and design places for the benefit of human and natural life. They also work and collaborate with other professions such as civil engineers and it can also mean traveling to different places and countries to work. It is also beneficial to become a member of the Landscape Institute if studying the subject, particularly if working towards becoming chartered. It is also beneficial to be a member for the magazine they produce quarterly and for the events organised and regional groups to participate in.
I enjoy Landscape Design and have particularly enjoyed some of the projects at university which have had a leaning towards Landscape Architecture and the wider environment not just gardens. I like the concept of Biophilic Design, incorporating nature into our cities for the benefit of the natural world and humans. This is something we need to do if we want to protect our green spaces and protect human health. There is now much research about ‘Biophilia’ Bio meaning nature and philia meaning love of, this suggests we cannot ignore our need to feel and be part of the natural world, human health depends upon it. No longer can we build concrete jungles devoid of nature, how we put together our urban environments is crucial for our growth and the survival of our world. Landscape architects and garden designers have an intrinsic role to play in creating environments for the benefit for all.
For my final years study I became increasingly inspired by Biophilic Design. My critical study focused on Biophilic Design and the role it could play in designing gardens. From here I took what I learned to go onto create a show garden called “Exploring Biophilia” at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show 2015 which was awarded a Bronze medal. For me this is a starting point, I am deeply inspired by Biophilic Design and will continue to study it in greater depth and put into practice what I learn. Although at present I feel I am only just scratching at the surface.
Having graduated the question is, what’s next? Having spent time before graduation talking to the external examiner and gaining a very good degree result, I am presented with choices. I have always wanted to study to M.A. level, the question is what? This requires some thinking and decision making which is to lengthy to debate here. Probably best to keep checking posts, a good way to find out what’s happening.