Professional Practice Network News
Members of the Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) were recently surveyed about their career paths in landscape architecture. Responses were varied and had many insightful comments and suggestions, which will be shared and discussed with everyone here over the next few months.
For many, finding their current profession involved a “long and winding path,” stumbling upon landscape architecture one day as a result of a mix of “luck” and “intuition.” Many also described how, knowing little about what landscape architecture was, they were “hooked” after a brief introduction.
Highlighted below are few other key trends that emerged in the results.
Through a Related Discipline
Approximately 15 percent of responses mentioned discovering landscape architecture via architecture:
• “After working for a few years in municipal arts and sustainability planning, I realized, through two of my colleagues with LA degrees, that LA was the synthesis of my professional interests.”
• “Was not accepted into the Architecture Program - so picked what I thought would be close - Landscape Architecture - with the intent of transferring out - but never did - thank god.”
• “Didn't want to be architect.”
Landscape Architecture in the Media
Several responses recounted fortuitous discoveries of landscape architecture in books, on TV, during lectures by landscape architects, or at exhibitions. HGTV, a PBS special on William H. Whyte’s The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, and a show at the Art Institute of Chicago of photographs by Terry Evans were all mentioned, among other sources:
• “After studying fine arts in college, I was looking for a way to use my artistic skills and interest in nature and science in a more practical but still creative way. A friend who owned a bookstore showed me Ian McHarg's Design with Nature. That did it.”
• “I truly do not know other than my uncle was an architect and I recall seeing (John O.) Simonds’ book on his shelf one day.”
• “Landscape Architecture magazine at the local library when I was in high school (and thought I wanted to be an architect).”
• “The Simpsons (true story)! It was on an episode when I was about 11 years old. I knew that's what I wanted to do ever since.”
Experience of Landscapes
Living near or traveling to some of the world’s stunning natural, historic, or impeccably designed landscapes also provided a few transformative experiences, pointing the way toward the profession of landscape architecture:
• “By experiencing F.L.O. parks in my hometown of Rochester, N.Y.”
• “Communing with nature in the Southern California desert.”
• “Going to college, I learned to appreciate arboretums and campus planning, open spaces.”
• “I lived in Japan and noticed how geography influenced the culture.”
• “On a visit to Everglades National Park.”