So You Want to be an Urban Planner or Landscape Designer/Architect?

Posted by Julie McClure on 5/28/14 11:41 AM  |  3 min read time

Graduation ceremonies are wrapping up here in the United States, so we wanted to similarly wrap up our series of articles with tips for emerging professionals. This time, we sought career advice from Vectorworks users in the world of landscape architecture/design and urban planning. Hope you find these words of wisdom useful!

Design by Graham Landscape Architecture. Photo courtesy of Maxwell Mackenzie.

Jay Graham, FASLA, President, Landscape Architect and Architect, Graham Landscape Architecture, Annapolis, Maryland:

  • When applying for jobs, if a firm says there are no openings, ask for an information interview. You will get so much in return from seeing multiple offices. When else can you have access to so many different design firms?
  • In your portfolio, try to show your process, not just final products. People want to understand how you think.

Todd Marshall McCurdy, FASLA, Vice President, Director of Landscape Architecture + Planning, MORRIS, Orlando, Florida:

  • Even if you were the star of your graduating class, your education has just begun! Be humble, be open-minded, be willing to collaborate, and continue to learn.
  • Don’t let changes knock you off guard. Instead, take them in stride, and see if you can improve your previous work by including them in a creative way. Ask questions, but think, too!
  • Join ASLA, and get involved. It's a great way to network, meet people in your profession, and find a mentor. Learn from your peers how to speak, how to think, and how to see the world.
  • Whether you use markers, colored pencils, 3D computer models, or some combination thereof, the most important thing to learn is composition. There should be a focal point in your composition that your eye is drawn to, and any elements, people, cars, trees, bike racks, parking meters, light poles, etc. that you add should improve the composition; if they don't, leave them out.

Design by McGregor Coxall.

Adrian McGregor, FAILA, RLA, MAIH, MPIA, Managing Director, McGregor Coxall, Sydney, Australia:

  • Approach your first gig with an open mind and make an effort to meet and mingle with your new team. Be inquisitive and ask people what they are working on. Most will be proud to explain what they are doing, and you will gain valuable insight into the kinds of work the firm is undertaking. Try to build friendships and be a team player.
  • Make an effort to volunteer for different assignments that may be outside your comfort zone. By challenging yourself, you will learn more quickly and develop a portfolio of skills.
  • Become conversant with 3D modeling as it will help hone your design ability.

Janine Pattison, MSGD, MBALI, Director, Janine Pattison Studios, London, United Kingdom:

  • Never miss the opportunity to visit gardens. Each one can teach you something -- a new landscaping material, a new way of using it, or an inspired planting combination.
  • Stay alert to what you can learn from other creative fields -- theatre design, art, and architecture can give you new inspiration and a new way of looking at things.

To learn more about some of the projects these designers have completed with Vectorworks Landmark software, read our Landscape Success Stories. Also, be sure to check out the products, services, and resources available through our student2PRO program to help you launch your career.

Congratulations once again to our recent graduates!

Topics: Adrian McGregor, Education, Graham Landscape Architecture, Janine Pattison, Janine Pattison Studios, Jay Graham, student2PRO, 3D Modeling, Landmark, Landscape, McGregor Coxall

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