Practices of Landscape Architecture

This course examines critical aspects of landscape architecture practice through the consideration of historical and contemporary frameworks for professional services, the legal and financial contexts in which it operates, and the documentation and delivery of projects. Contemporary landscape architects and associated design professionals practice in a challenging economic climate, working in increasingly complex collaborations, under evolving legislative parameters, and using new mechanisms for project delivery. The specific disciplinary concerns of landscape architecture – including the integration of biophysical, political, and cultural systems, often in the public realm and over time – are uniquely positioned to engage these challenges. This course will interrogate the translation 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 structures and frameworks of contemporary practice. Invited landscape architects will represent a range of practices in terms of scale, project types, and forms of collaboration. The second part introduces students to the legal, financial, and strategic frameworks of the profession. This involves the study of legal aspects such as contracts and environmental legislation, financial management, and finally strategies for communication and marketing. The third part focuses on project delivery and construction documentation using case studies of built projects. Through a close reading and re-working of construction drawings and specifications, students examine the relationship between design intent, documentation, and construction. GSD Professional Practice faculty lead each of the three parts through lectures, readings, and discussion. Student-led colloquia of group research projects will investigate and engage subjects recently covered. Evaluation will be based on participation, reading responses, assignments, and the group research project.