Practices of Landscape Architecture

This course examines landscape architecture practice through the consideration of contemporary frameworks for professional services, the legal and financial contexts in which they operate, and the documentation and delivery of landscape design projects and products.

Contemporary landscape architects practice operates in shifting environmental, economic and social climates, working in increasingly complex collaborations, with evolving legislative parameters, and using both traditional as well as emerging mechanisms for project delivery. The specific disciplinary concerns of landscape architecture – including the integration of biophysical, political, and cultural systems over time requires a full understanding of professional services and methods to engage these challenges. The course in three parts will explore the relationship between the discipline of landscape architecture and its professional practice.

The first of three parts looks at the emergence of the profession and its core elements to situate the structure and framework of contemporary landscape architectural practice. Guest landscape architects will present a range of design practices in terms of content, scale, types, programs and forms of collaboration. Of particular interest will be the nature of landscape practice internationally.

The second part introduces students to the legal, financial, and institutional frameworks of the landscape architectural profession. This involves the study of legal aspects such as contracts and legislation, financial management, and finally strategies for communication and marketing of landscape design and planning services.

The third part focuses on project delivery and construction documentation using case studies of built landscape projects. Through an evaluation and re-working of construction drawings and written specifications, students examine the relationship between design intent, documentation, and implementation.

GSD Professional Practice faculty lead each of the three parts through lectures, readings, and discussion. Group research projects will investigate and engage subjects covered in class meetings. Evaluation will be based on classroom participation and the completion and submission of a group research project during exam week.