Landscape architecture is about designing open spaces to add aesthetic value and find the best way to use such spaces. Industrial, residential and institutional spaces, all fall under the gamut of landscape design. Services of landscape architects are used in architectural design, real estate development, site planning, town or urban planning, parks and recreation, and in historic preservation. The scope encompasses urban design, site planning, town or urban planning, environmental restoration, parks and recreation planning, visual resource management, green infrastructure planning and provision, private estate and residence landscape master planning and design.
What do they do?
Though landscape architecture as a profession was grossly misunderstood earlier, it is now seen in new light. The role of landscape architects in the design of open spaces and their role in creating sustainable environments has received widespread acceptance. What started as rudimentary garden design now involves site selection, site planning, environmental impact assessment, conservation, restoration of degraded land, and ensuring the most efficient use of natural resources like land, water, soil, and vegetation.
While the simplest assignments may involve designing parks, landscape architecture goes on to cover recreational areas, campuses, corporate building sites, residential districts, sports fields, golf courses, and water fronts, among others. It doesn’t end there. Landscape architects’ role extends to landscape planning for entire regions, taking into consideration physical, social and cultural contexts.
Rajesh Shukla, landscape architect, Quintessence, says he chose this career as it offers him great opportunities to work on large-scale projects.
“Each site offers potential and constraints in its development. Landscape architects are best suited to evaluate project requirements and site considerations. One gets to work on interesting sites like hilly regions, coastal areas, barren tracts, tea estates, riverside developments, historical sites – some of the most scenic areas.
The range of projects may include golf courses, parks and recreational areas, conservation parks, botanical gardens, and zoological parks etc,” says Shukla, who has worked on Sahara India’s Aamby Valley near Pune, which boasts many celebrity residents.
Landscape architects now play such an important role that they are brought in right at the inception of projects. They now contribute to the development of the masterplan and formulating guidelines for development keeping the environmental impact in mind.
Shukla has also worked on Integrated Sports Academy at Jaypee Greens, Greater Noida and also on a green building commissioned by Wipro Technologies in Gurgaon. He states three reasons because of which this profession is going to gain a lot of importance in India. These are:
. Environmental laws are becoming stringent, thus expanding the scope and demand for landscape architects.
. The pace and scale of projects has recently grown while qualified professionals are few in number.
. Open spaces in larger cities are shrinking and their proper utilisation is important. The focus is also shifting from cities to smaller towns, which translates into greater demand for landscape architecture professionals.
Landscape architects draw demand from private developers, government organisations, corporates, industrial houses, and the hotel and tourism industry.
Individuals also consult such professionals, especially if the site is larger than half an acre. Shukla says, “Some of the most rewarding experiences have been competitions where our firm was selected among the top three entries. This included August Kranti Udyan (in the area surrounding India Gate in C hexagon), Botanical Gardens (Noida on spread across 200 acres), the School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal campus, spread across 70 acres, Sikh memorials in Punjab, and Ambedkar University in Lucknow.”
- Keen observation skills
- Creativity and originality
- Proficiency in geometrical modelling
- Desire to update oneself with latest developments in structural techniques and materials
- Good communication skills to manage teams, clients and contractors
How do I get there?
Landscape architecture is taught through diploma or degree courses in different schools of architecture throughout the country and abroad. Admission is on the basis of an admission test, which evaluates a candidate’s aptitude for physics, chemistry and mathematics, as well as proficiency in drawing. The minimum educational qualification is successful completion of plus-two or equivalent.