Q&A with a Landscape Architecture Student

Q&A with a Landscape Architecture Student

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Today we sit down with a 2nd year Landscape Architecture student, Mohammed Salmaan who is studying at The University of Greenwich. For those who might not have an idea about this interesting course and might want to learn more, then keep reading below.

1. How is Landscape Architecture different than Architecture? (in your opinion)

I get this question asked to me almost everyday by my mates in architecture and even by members of my own family. The simplest way I can explain the difference is by saying that architecture is the design of buildings and landscape architecture is the design of everything around those buildings. This includes the planting, water features, paving lighting , etc. I always like to think that architecture and landscape architecture work together. Architects design buildings and structures while landscape architects design the setting of these structures. In my opinion, landscape architects help enhance the beauty of buildings designed by architects.

Garden of Giants by Mutabilis Landscape Architecture

2. What would you say you enjoy the most about studying Landscape Architecture?

I love expressing myself through the landscapes I designed. When you’re a student, you don’t have any restrictions from clients or funding. You get a brief and a site and you are allowed to design in anyway you like. I really enjoy sitting with a role of tracing paper on top of a map of the site and sketching, shading, colouring and creating this beautiful artwork. When you graduate and start to work in a firm you don’t always have the time and freedom to design as you please.

3. Did you always know you wanted to study this course?

No, not really. I’ve always had an interest in design and horticulture. But I never thought that I should choose a career which involves design and horticulture. I wanted to do something conventional like dentistry or optometry. To make up my mind I took a year off and I did a Level 3 course in horticulture at Capel Manor College in Enfield. I thought that I would study this course for a year and then apply for optometry. But after a year of being involved with nature and design, I knew I had to study something that I enjoyed and loved and also a course which is growing in popularity. That’s why I chose landscape architecture.

4. Which university do you attend and what do you think about the facilities, course structure and workload?

I attend the University of Greenwich. In my opinion my experience at the university so far has been very positive. The architecture and landscape architecture facilities are great, the staff are very helpful and always more than willing to help. The university has good studio space, enough computers, keep up to date with all the software used by architects and landscape architects and have a well equipped workshop.

Stockwell Street - University of Greenwich

Personally, I have been satisfied with the course structure and the workload. The workload is a lot but it's not overbearing. The structure of the course includes two studio days and one lecture day. I’m really happy with that as I enjoy studio days but struggle to stay awake on lecture days.

5. Would you recommend Landscape to those who are unsure about Architecture and may want to take a different route. If yes, why?

Yes, I definitely would. Landscape architecture is a profession which is really growing in demand all over the world. I believe that landscape architects will play a huge part in designing cities in the future. In a world which is trying to combat climate change and its effects, landscape architects can help by designing green spaces in cities or by working alongside architects to design modern sustainable and green buildings.

In my opinion, the best example that I can give off a project which a landscape architect has designed is Gardens By The Bay in Singapore which was designed by the Landscape Architect Andrew Grant. Designing spaces where nature can thrive in an urban city will be a huge part of landscape architects jobs in the future. I would definitely recommend landscape as a profession.

Gardens by the Bay - Andrew Grant

6. What kinds of job routes can Landscape lead to?

Landscape Architecture is a wonderful profession in its self. However, there are other job routes that landscape can lead to such as urban design, horticulture and garden design. After I graduate, I intend to master in Urban Design.

7. How much time would you say you spend in the studio / working on your project in one week?

I spend between 20-25 hrs in a week working on my project. This involves making models, drawing plans and sections and laying out my portfolio. I get busier when I have my mid or end of term 'crits' or reviews. During this time, I sometimes pull all nighters at university.

8. What project / year in university did you enjoy the most?

I am currently towards the end of my second year. Between the two years, I would definitely say my second year has been the most enjoyable. I’ve developed more thorough proposals, learnt new techniques and made more detailed designs. I am definitely looking forward to and very optimistic about my third year.

9. And finally, do you have a comment on stereotypes for landscape architects or architects in general?

Well, I’ve found that when people often ask me what I’m studying and they hear the word 'landscape' they just dismiss the profession by saying that I’m just a gardener. Of course there is nothing wrong with being a gardener but landscape architecture is much more than that. Ive found that explaining what a landscape architect is, and how important landscape architects are to society, and also by mentioning famous landmarks designed by landscape architects such as Central Park and my personal favourite, Gardens By The Bay, helps combat the stereotype that landscape architects are just gardeners.

A big thank you to Salmaan for answering our questions. We hope you have some kind of insight into the work of landscape architects. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. Also, go check out Salmaan's profile on our website!

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