Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Questions from the Audience

Jim Smith asks:
Just a quick architect question, since we haven't had one for what seems like weeks. That is, if you would share your special knowledge with us.
Man, it sure is tough being one of the high-tech cognoscenti. Anyway, the seeming weeks-long span of time without architectural content is due to the fact that it has been weeks. Back to the question--
Do real, passed the test and everything, architects resent the term "landscape architect". I know that the landscape guys have degree programs and such but does it still stick in the craw, as it were?
Not really--given the malleability of the term “architect,” and the way it gets thrown about to describe any sort of vaguely buildy sort of concept, the fact that someone uses it in a sense other than the way I use it doesn’t really matter so much to me.

It does make a difference to me if persons put themselves forward as licensed or qualified to provide services that are regulated by statute. In Alabama, the use of the titles “architect” and “landscape architect” is strictly regulated by law, as are the practices of both architecture and landscape architecture.

In Alabama, the practice of architecture is defined as:

When an individual holds himself out as able to render or when he does render any service by consultations, investigations, evaluations, preliminary studies, plans, specifications, contract documents and a coordination of all factors concerning the design and observation of construction of buildings or any other service in connection with the design, observation or construction of buildings located within the boundaries of the state, regardless of whether such services are performed in connection with one or all of these duties, or whether they are performed in person or as the directing head of an office or organization performing them.

And “building” is pretty comprehensively defined as “a structure consisting of foundation, walls or supports and roof, with or without other parts.” In general, this would include just about anything you could build, but there are exemptions for certain types of buildings that do not require the services of an architect.

Anyone who either calls himself an architect, or provides the services above, must meet certain educational and work requirements, pass a registration examination, be licensed by the state, and accumulate a minumum of 12 hours of continuing education credit per annum.

Alabama has adopted the standards of the National Council of Architecture Registration Boards (NCARB), and under those standards, an applicant for registration must have completed at least five years of study at a National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited school of architecture, fulfilled the requirements of the NCARB Intern Development Program after graduation (generally, this is equivalent to three years of office practice), and successfully complete the Architect Registration Exam.


BACK IN MY DAY, the A.R.E. was a paper test comprised of nine parts covering mechanical systems, structures, site design, history, construction documents, materials and methods, and building design, all administered over four days. The tests were sort of like SATs, with a list of multiple-choice questions ranging from 50 to over a hundred, and you were given a set amount of time to finish. The last part was the building design test, which was given the last day, and lasted eight full hours, in which you were given a program, site, and general information and told to design a complete building. And it was only given twice a year.

Nowadays, you can go to Sylvan Learning Centers and take the multi-choice thing on computer, and you only have to answer enough questions to insure that you have a grasp of the material--if you do well enough on the first couple of dozen, you pass. Danged bunch of meddling kids. Oughta have to do it the way I did!

The building design is on computer, now, too, which means that after eight hours, you are no longer covered from head to waist with graphite. Buncha crybabies.

Getting back to the question, in Alabama, landscape architecture has some similar definitions and such to tell what the practice is. Since the practice is much more limited, the scope is defined in a bit more detail--

The performance of professional services such a consultation, investigation, research, planning, design, preparation of drawings and specifications and responsible supervision in connection with the development of land areas where, and to the extent that the dominant purpose of such services is the preservation, enhancement or determination of proper land uses, natural land features, planting, naturalistic and aesthetic values, the settings and approaches to structures or other improvements, the setting of grades and determining drainage and providing for standard drainage structures, and recordation. Nothing contained herein shall preclude a duly licensed landscape architect from performing any of the services described in the first sentence of this subsection in connection with the settings, approaches or environment for buildings, structures, or facilities. Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed as authorizing a landscape architect to engage in the practice of architecture, engineering or land surveying as these terms are defined in Section 34-17-27.

Landscape architects also have educational and work requirements, have to sit for an exam, and once licensed have to do continuing education as well, although in most instances, their experience is necessarily limited to those things that define their practice, and is thus not quite so comprehensive as that of architects.

But it doesn't bother me that there is a title called "landscape architect."

(Don't get me started on interior designers.)

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