What did I expect landscape design to be?

by paulroncken

ceci c'est nes pas un advertisement

ceci c’est nes pas un advertisement

What was I thinking when I decided to study landscape architecture? Did I really expect to design whole landscapes? Meet rich enough clients so I could play with their lands and tell them what fancy big trees to buy or chop, what holes to dig to fill with water or what mountains to create for a backdrop? What age was I, Seventeen! What did I know of things that matter in landscapes? I could not even recognize an oak tree from an ash tree. All I wished for was to work with these giant sheets of paper and transparents that demanded to get one of those cool big drawing tables with massive counterweights that than could be handled with one finger, moving up and down and straight and flat. The romance of a special little spot, working late and music filling the room with the suspense of a masterplan in preparation. Smoking a cigarette to help reconsidering some slip of the tongue earlier that day, that carried some kind of essence that I now needed to help express something using my rotring pens that I sharpened and de-inkted, feeling like one of those routinized assassins with their gear all in prep. Whatever landscape architecture was about, it ought to be fulfilling to the bone and always near to saving the planet. And it needed me. Landscapes needed me to become something that only I could savior. The ability to organize and project spaces growing and flourishing from the west and east until the darkest corners in the north. Befriended with wilderness and understanding the most animalistic rituals to engrain ones soul into the depth of time and unison. To add some rhythm to dance to, instead of only watching the dull grey equalness of modern housing trash. I could not understand that anyone would voluntarily live in places so obviously bad for your health and creativity and socializing abilities. Did not these people think and feel? So I gained acquaintance with some of the idealistic trades of my time: organic architecture, deconstructionism, Koolhaas simplicity, West 8 frivolity and aquatic engineering. There was not yet talk of semi-religious preaching of ecology or sustainability or cultural history. There was hardly any talk about landscape design besides the crazy stuff by Martha Schwartz or Yves Brunier. It was all yet to be invented. And all those inventors surrounding me were busy trying to bust that f**ng big competition or get up and close to this or that project developer to do some real stuff, like in those increasingly landscape oriented magazines. Or co-evolve with architects that seem so much better in selling themselves, their work and getting their meanest attitudes accepted as a way to play hard to get and get what you want. To become one of those shortlisted invitees at parties, diners, committees, conferences, workshops, sessions, grand applications, publishers, photographers, exotic city advisors, senior project leaders. And finally to become the one who invites. What was I thinking when I decided that my life would be dedicated to this nauseating field of conspiracy to save the world?