What does a typical day for a landscape architect involve? ADP’s Claire Hunt explains what keeps her busy in working hours
Writing about the work of Dan Pearson recently, Ellis Woodman insightfully described the role of the landscape designer. His perception resonated so strongly with my own view of my role that I thought it appropriate to quote it here:
“Staging a survey of the work of a landscape designer is not a straightforward proposition. While invariably concerned with structuring space — and frequently on a scale far beyond that which any architect might be asked to confront — the landscape designer is also profoundly engaged with the organisation of time.”( Ellis Woodman, Building Design 31 May 2013).
I have been working at Architects Design Partnership for about four and a half years. At first I worked four days per week, while studying towards my post graduate diploma in landscape architecture. Prior to ADP I worked at Birmingham Botanical Gardens where I gained a lot of my planting knowledge. Once qualified, I continued on at ADP full time. I have recently qualified as a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute.
I can often be working on over 10 projects at the same time. These are usually at a variety of scales and stages of the design process
The landscape team at ADP supports our six architectural offices throughout the UK, delivering projects across the country. Working closely with our architectural colleagues we give our clients a unified and comprehensive service.
My job varies from day to day and I manage many different projects. I can often be working on over 10 projects at the same time. These are usually at a variety of scales and stages of the design process, from sketch designs and planning applications to managing jobs on site.
We also work independently on sole landscape projects including public realm design work, aiding clients through planning issues, and producing landscape and visual impact assessments.
A typical day will involve talking to my colleagues and planning our day ahead, as the two of us support over 70 architects. As the ebb and flow of deadlines shift, the job requires us to be flexible and organised, so that we can assist any of the architectural team and our clients as and when needed.
If we are not in the office, we are out and about meeting clients and attending site meetings. It’s not very often that I spend a whole week in the office! We will usually be presenting ideas to clients, or reviewing drawings with contractors on site, not to mention working with a whole host of other consultants including engineers, ecologists, arboriculturalists, local authorities, the Environment Agency, Natural England, English Heritage and many others.
Being a landscape architect at ADP is a very busy role, and my days usually rush by. I am inspired by my work. Knowing that I am actively contributing to making better spaces for people and enhancing habitats for wildlife means that I can always take some satisfaction out of my day, whatever it may throw at me! The job requires me to be creative and analytical, something which suits me well as I struggled to decide between the arts and science at school.
There are many exciting parts to my jobs. The large architectural projects, which take years in the making, give me a huge amount of satisfaction when they are eventually finished and we see our concepts realised and built. However, the smaller schemes, which see school children being given new learning environments when all they have ever known are tarmac playgrounds, is extremely rewarding too. And of course, I get satisfaction from seeing the plants go through each seasonal change, adding the dimension of a living element to our schemes. The plants never fail to impress me, as we leave them to get on with performing our ideas for us, over and over again.
My day usually finishes somewhere between five and six, when I either head home to get stuck into some cooking or tend to my recently acquired allotment that I share with some old friends.
Claire Hunt is a landscape architect at ADP