Schach and Mitchell Glass, Landscape Architects
Landscape architects design
portions of residential areas, public parks and playgrounds, college campuses,
shopping centers, golf courses, parkways, and industrial parks. They plan
the location of buildings, roads, and walkways as well as the arrangement
of flowers, shrubs, and trees. In doing their jobs, they often collaborate
with architects, surveyors, engineers, environmental scientists, foresters,
and other professionals.
According to the U.S. Department
of Labor, landscape architects consider the nature and purpose of a project
and the funds available for it. They then examine and analyze the natural
elements of the site and assess the effect of existing buildings, roads,
walkways, and utilities. They must also take into account any local, State,
or Federal regulations such as those protecting wetlands or historic resources.
They may have to make many changes to their plan before a final design
Some landscape architects
work on a wide variety of projects. Others specialize in a particular area,
such as residential development, historic landscape restoration, waterfront
improvement projects, parks and playgrounds, or shopping centers. Still
others work in regional planning and resource management; feasibility,
environmental impact, and cost studies; or site construction.
Landscape architects who
work for government agencies do site and landscape design for government
buildings, parks, and other public lands, as well as park and recreation
planning in national parks and forests. In addition, they may prepare environmental
impact statements and studies on environmental issues such as public land-use
planning. Some are involved in efforts to restore degraded land, such as
mines or landfills.
Landscape architects spend
most of their time in offices creating plans and designs, preparing models
and cost estimates, doing research, or attending meetings with clients
and other professionals involved in a design or planning project. The remainder
of their time is spent at construction sites.
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As a young girl growing up
in South Bend, Indiana, Janice Schach loved the outdoors and always enjoyed
the trips her family took to national parks all over the country. She also
loved to draw and work with people, so when she heard about landscape architecture
she knew that would be her career.
Schach is presently associate
dean of undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky, where she
is a professor of landscape architecture. She is also the current president
of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
After getting a bachelor's
degree in Landscape Architecture from Purdue University, Schach got a master's
degree from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Upon receiving
her master's, she worked as a landscape architect for about a year before
joining the faculty at the University of Kentucky where she has been since
In additon to her teaching
duties, Schach often helps her husband, Horst, design horse farms in Kentucky's
bluegrass country, including several for members of the Saudi Arabian royal
Why choose a career in
Our profession combines a
lot of professions together. There's an engineering component, an architecture
component, an artistic component and an ecological component. Because of
that landscape architecture has been cited as being the profession of the
future by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Why is the field growing
Because of the whole concern
over growth management, creating livable communities, open space, clean
air and water and pedestrian access. We try to resolve some of the conflicts
What qualities do you
need as a landscape architect?
Obviously a creative bent,
an appreciation for the out of doors, an ability to see possibilities in
areas that other don't see, plus a real interest in drawing and model building
or computer technology as a way to illustrate those ideas.
What was the most fun
project you ever worked on?
I worked with my students
in inner city Cincinnati. It's an area that has an incredible stock of
historic buildings that somehow survived urban renewal. Our task was to
go in and really look at options for use of some of the buildings.We brought
in mixed use with professional office and light industrial and improved
on park space...We developed a plan that the city is still operating with.
There have been a number of park improvements since then.
How do college programs
The City College of New York
obviously will have a different orientation than Utah State in Logan, Utah.
The City College of New York would be much more urban design, oriented
to human systems. Logan would be oriented to more natural systems.
How can high school students
prepare for a landscape architecture career?
The first thing to do is
to contact a landscape architect and go into their office and talk to them
about what their daily experience is. Better yet, go out to the site with
them. The more courses they could get in art, design, ecology, computer
technology and the more they can travel and see different parts of the
country and the world, the better. In fact, if they could visit and office
and become an intern, that would be the best.
What will they find out
about landscape architects?
They'll see landscape architects
are just neat people. They're interested in improving people's lives. They're
not there just to make the money. They find great satisfaction in improving
the quality of life for people.
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Glass is a project manager for the Chicago Park District, which manages
thousands of acres of parks and recreation land in and around the city
of Chicago. His job is to coordinate the implementation of projects within
the parks, from the construction of new facilities to the renovation of
existing ones and the preservation of historic sites.
Mr. Glass became interested
in landscape architecture soon after he earned his Bachelor's Degree from
the University of Connecticut. "I'd always been interested in ecology and
the environment," he says. Although his major was English and his minor
was Fine Arts, after graduation he worked for a landscape contractor. He'd
always had an interest in ecology and the environment, and thought Landscape
Architecture was a field that would let him "pull it all together."
To learn more he entered
a six-week "Career Discovery" summer program at Harvard University, which
allowed him to live on campus while working in a landscape architecture
studio. The program gave him a taste of both the the required schooling
as well as the day-to-day life of landscape architects - and a portfolio
to use when applying to graduate school. He was accepted to the graduate
program at the University of Virginia, and earned his Master's Degree there
3 1/2 years later. He has held positions at Urban Design and Landscape
Architecture firms in Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as in the Chicago
area. He has worked on projects for the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and
the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., among others.
Mr. Glass says a Landscape
Architect's typical day "depends on where you are." For his part, he might
spend his time on everything from a conceptual design to cost estimates
to construction documents to phone calls with contractors. His typical
day usually lasts eight or nine hours, although deadlines can increase
a day's workload. "Most designers are used to that," he observes. "Design
in general takes a lot of time."
Asked to describe the best
part of his job, Mr. Glass answers without hesitation: "It's coming up
with an idea and seeing it through, seeing it come to life - literally."
He describes imagining the concept, drawing it on paper, convincing the
client to pursue it, seeing it built and finally being able to walk through
it. "There's no feeling like that," he says.
Among the hardest parts of
his job are working with limited budgets and trying to educate people on
the importance of Landscape Architecture. "Landscape Architecture is more
than making things look pretty," he says. "It's about quality of life,
about making spaces livable and civilized."
To students interested in
Landscape Architecture as a career, Mr. Glass advises, "Open your eyes
to everything around you. See as many parks and places as you can in towns
and cities, and think about what makes them great or what's missing." He
urges students to read as much as they can about the landscape history
of the U.S., which he calls "very rich." Finally, he believes both computer
knowledge and communications skills are valuable. "People are always looking
for folks who can write and speak well."
Email Mitch Glass to learn more about
Landscape Architecture as a career.
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According to the Occupational
Outlook Handbook published by the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, a Bachelor's or Master's degree in Landscape
Architecture is usually necessary for entry into the profession. The Bachelor's
degree in Landscape Architecture takes four or five years to obtain. Two
types of accredited Master's Degree programs are available: three-year
programs for a Master's as a first professional degree, and two-year programs
for students who have a Bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture and
wish to teach or specialize in a particular area, such as regional planning
or golf course design.
In 1996, 54 colleges and
universities offered 70 undergraduate and graduate programs in landscape
architecture that were accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation
Board of the American Society of Landscape
Required college courses
usually include technical subjects such as surveying, landscape design
and construction, landscape ecology, site design, and urban and regional
planning. Other courses include history of landscape architecture, plant
and soil science, geology, professional practice, and general management.
Many programs are adding courses which address environmental issues. In
addition, most students at the undergraduate level take a year of prerequisite
courses such as English, mathematics, and social and physical science.
In 1996, 45 states required
landscape architects to be licensed or registered. Licensing is based on
the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.), sponsored
by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards and administered
over a three-day period. Admission to the exam usually requires a degree
from an accredited school plus one to four years of work experience. Currently,
18 States require the passage of a State examination in addition to the
L.A.R.E. to satisfy registration requirements.
Because state requirements
for licensure are not uniform, landscape architects may not find it easy
to transfer their registration from one state to another. However, those
who meet the national standards of graduating from an accredited program,
serving three years of internship under the supervision of a registered
landscape architect, and passing the L.A.R.E. can satisfy requirements
in most states.
Those with landscape architecture
training also qualify for jobs closely related to landscape architecture,
and may, after gaining some experience, become construction supervisors,
land or environmental planners, or landscape consultants.
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Overall, anticipated growth
in construction is expected to increase demand for landscape architectural
services over the long run. Employment of Landscape Architects is expected
to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the year
2006, according to the Department of Labor. However, opportunities will
vary from year to year and by geographic region, depending on local economic
New graduates can expect
to face competition for jobs in the largest and most prestigious Landscape
Architecture firms. The number of professional degrees awarded in Landscape
Architecture has remained steady over the years, even during times of fluctuating
demand due to economic conditions. Opportunities will be best for landscape
architects who develop strong technical and communication skills and a
knowledge of environmental codes and regulations. Those with additional
training or experience in urban planning increase their opportunities for
employment in landscape architecture firms that specialize in site planning
as well as landscape design. Many employers prefer to hire entry-level
landscape architects who have internship experience, which significantly
reduces training time
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And The Pay...
Median annual earnings for all
architects, including landscape architects, were about $39,500 in 1996,
according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook . The middle 50 percent
earned between $30,200 and $53,900; 10 percent earned less than $23,900;
and 10 percent earned over $65,800. In 1997, the average annual salary
for all landscape architects in the Federal Government in nonsupervisory,
supervisory, and managerial positions was about $53,300.
Because many landscape architects
work for small firms or are self-employed, benefits tend to be less generous
than those provided to workers in large organizations.