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Thread: The fine line between LA and architecture

  1. #1
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    The fine line between LA and architecture

    I was wandering around the local outdoor mall with kids and became curious about some aspects of the mall. There are fish ponds and flower beds, rose gardens and trees. But what I have a question about is things large hardscapes. Things like fountains, the facade of stores which are not load bearing walls, the second floor bridges from one side to the other. Are these types of things designed by architects or Landscape architects?

    I guess what I'm really trying to find out is, how far into the design of hardscapes and buildings do LA's go?

    Any help would be great.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    They are not designed by the architect or the landscape architect. They are designed by the engineer.

    OK, So the reality is that all three should be involved in the process for the result to work well. Too often the architect does their work and leaves the others to solve the problems that result.
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    Cyburbian
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    If it's an interior commercial space, chances are an interior designer might have played a role.

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    So with the exception of patios and sidewalks, do landscape architects do any hardscapes?

    I'm going back to school and trying to figure out if LA will cover what types of jobs I want to do when I graduate.

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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    I have designed several fountains though they are all outdoor. Yes you do get the engineer to do the mechanical systems and if there are any stuctural you will get the structural engineer. If the fountain is huge the landscape architect generally just develops the conceptuals and the non mechanical and non structural details.
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    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by fullboat View post
    So with the exception of patios and sidewalks, do landscape architects do any hardscapes?

    I'm going back to school and trying to figure out if LA will cover what types of jobs I want to do when I graduate.

    Thanks again.
    I have a BLarch, and I've worked in engineering offices, planning, community development (building codes and code enforcement), and public works (water/sewer/streets/parks).

    If you want to design buildings, be an architect. Other than that, go with the LA.
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    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by fullboat View post
    So with the exception of patios and sidewalks, do landscape architects do any hardscapes?

    I'm going back to school and trying to figure out if LA will cover what types of jobs I want to do when I graduate.

    Thanks again.
    Definitely. I interned with a firm that had a LArch department. They did a lot of parks and public spaces with plenty of hardscape (engineers were on staff for things that required their expertise, but they were really part of the LArch team). A landscape architect also designed a playscape area at my kids' old school. Had lots of features ranging from vegetative swales to a tricycle track, interactive play wall and a tiered section they love to climb up and jump down. Plenty of hard and soft scapes there.
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    In response to the original question, large fountains are usually in large projects like a shopping mall. The developer of the shopping mall usually has his chosen architect design the overall concept and design of the mall or center.

    All states require buildings over a certain size to be designed (complying with structural requirements, building codes, etc.) by an architect or an engineer. Usually an architect is chosen to coordinate the overall design, and he employs an engineer to do the structure. The architect would also employ a Landscape Architect at an early point in the design, because LA's have become very skilled in site development (orientation, pedestrian flow, drainage, soils, major existing planting, and other sitework considerations) to get the best out of a piece of property at the optimum cost. They are also very talented in sitework development or improvement.

    A fountain, stream bed, pond or other such feature outside of the stores would probably be designed by a landscape architect under the architect or may be hired directly by the mall or center owner. Water features inside the building are usually designed by the architect (or at least presented to the mall owner in a concept drawing), and may be designed by the architect or an interior decorator depending on their skill and expertise.

    Water features that extend beyond one store (ie, out into the mall) may be designed by the architect, or a shopping center designer, but remember there are state laws limiting what must be done by an architect or engineer, so that designer might have to have an architectural or engineering licence. Landscape architecture is also governed by state law, and individuals who claim to be Landscape Architects must be certified as such in accordance with their state law.

    As Landscape Architects design water or landscape features, they also usually consult with a structural engineer to assure concrete or masonry structures are properly designed to resist structural cracking, and have waterproof expansion joints where needed. LA's may also need to consult with a Mechanical Engineer if fountain pumps and recirculation are a major concern.

    Landscape Architects cor Architects could do bridges, but usually would do the basic concept design, then turn the detailed structural requirments over to a structural engineer. Remember even interior pedestrian bridges have been known to collapse, resulting in death.

    Of course the store developer may have his own experience, friends, or relatives to help him out on such matters, but that is another question/problem.

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