Tag Archives: architecture

Landscape Architects

Significant Points

* About 21 percent of landscape architects are self-employed—almost 3 times the proportion for all occupations.
* Almost all States require landscape architects to be licensed, which generally requires a degree in landscape architecture from an accredited school, work experience, and a passing score on the Landscape Architect Registration Exam.
* Good job opportunities are expected, but new graduates may face competition for jobs in the largest and most prestigious firms.

Nature of the Work

People enjoy attractively designed gardens, public parks and playgrounds, residential areas, college campuses, shopping centers, golf courses, and parkways. Landscape architects design these areas so they are not only functional but also beautiful and harmonious with the natural environment. They plan the location of buildings, roads, and walkways, and the arrangement of flowers, shrubs, and trees. They also design and plan the restoration of natural places disturbed by humans, such as wetlands, stream corridors, mined areas, and forested land.

Working with building architects, surveyors, and engineers, landscape architects help determine the best arrangement of roads and buildings. They also collaborate with environmental scientists, foresters, and other professionals to find the best way to conserve or restore natural resources. Once these decisions are made, landscape architects create detailed plans indicating new topography, vegetation, walkways, and other landscaping details, such as fountains and decorative features.

In planning a site, landscape architects first consider the purpose of the project and the funds available. They then analyze the natural elements of the site, such as the climate, soil, slope of the land, drainage, and vegetation. They also assess existing buildings, roads, walkways, and utilities to determine what improvements are necessary. At all stages, they evaluate the project’s impact on the local ecosystem.

After studying and analyzing the site, landscape architects prepare a preliminary design. To address the needs of the client, as well as the conditions at the site, they frequently make changes before a final design is approved. They also take into account any local, State, or Federal regulations, such as those protecting wetlands or historic resources. In preparing designs, computer-aided design (CAD) has become an essential tool for most landscape architects. Many landscape architects also use video simulation to help clients envision the proposed ideas and plans. For larger scale site planning, landscape architects also use geographic information systems (GIS) technology, a computer mapping system.

Throughout all phases of planning and design, landscape architects consult with other professionals, such as civil engineers, hydrologists, or building architects, involved in the project. Once the design is complete, they prepare a proposal for the client. They produce detailed plans of the site, including written reports, sketches, models, photographs, land-use studies, and cost estimates and submit them for approval by the client and by regulatory agencies. When the plans are approved, landscape architects prepare working drawings showing all existing and proposed features. They also outline in detail the methods of construction and draw up a list of necessary materials. Landscape architects then monitor the implementation of their design, while general contractors or landscape contractors usually direct the actual construction of the site and installation of plantings.

Some landscape architects work on a variety of types of projects. Others specialize in a particular area, such as street and highway beautification, waterfront improvement projects, parks and playgrounds, or shopping centers. Still others work in regional planning and resource management; feasibility, environmental impact, and cost studies; or site construction. Increasingly, landscape architects work in environmental remediation, such as preservation and restoration of wetlands or abatement of stormwater run-off in new developments. Historic landscape preservation and restoration is another area where landscape architects increasingly play a role.

Landscape architects who work for government agencies do site and landscape design for government buildings, parks, and other public lands, as well as park and recreation planning in national parks and forests. In addition, they may prepare environmental impact statements and studies on environmental issues such as public land-use planning.

Work environment.

Landscape architects spend most of their time in offices creating plans and designs, preparing models and cost estimates, doing research, or attending meetings with clients and other professionals involved in a design or planning project. The remainder of their time is spent at the site. During the design and planning stage, landscape architects visit and analyze the site to verify that the design can be incorporated into the landscape. After the plans and specifications are completed, they may spend additional time at the site observing or supervising the construction. Those who work in large national or regional firms can spend considerably more time out of the office traveling to sites.

Although many landscape architects work approximately 40 hours per week, about 1 in 5 worked more than 50 hours per week in 2008, as long hours and work during nights and weekends is often necessary to meet deadlines.

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Source: bls.gov, dmglandscape.com, strattonla.com, downtownexpress.com, daydesigngroup.com, kentbroom.com, examiner.com, dougnewby.com, fineartpublicity.com, afritecture.org, thebestcolleges.org


Academy of Inventive Design and Technology Change by Design

Today, a lot is read and heard about the teaching of “life-skills”. Often, it seems one is left to wonder what is actually meant by the usage of this term. It is a relatively new idea that seems to leave some older institutions trying helplessly to adapt their traditional regime to new modes of learning.

It sometimes appears that academic institutions simply string associated words together – like “life skills”, “well-rounded”, “holistic”, and “realistic”. Is this enough to lay claim to the new, fully integrated way of learning? The way of learning which is considered to be the benchmark in education?

So, what could have been said about how life-skills link up with the field of multi-disciplinary draughting and design? As a student of the Academy of Inventive Design and Technology in Cape Town, a glimpse into daily routine will clear this up:

•    07h00 – Get dressed, meeting dress code requirements: long sleeves, collar and tie. Immediately rush off to the academy, breakfast or not.
•    08h00 – Arrive and clock-in via electronic fingerprint access/security control/time checker. Get a caffeine fix – the first of many needed.
•    08h10-09h00 Log in to bespoke learning platform, preview the day ahead, plan work activities.
•    08h30-09h30 – 1st Briefing: What’s the latest on the industry; opinions and ideas expressed and shared; motion needed on last week’s “Do we all agree to an on-site course module?”. Finally, projects for the day are handed out, how-to explained by lecturer, and deadlines given.
•    09h30 – Briefing adjourned. Head to workstation: no teacher, no drawing board doubling as desk, no classroom. Rather, at Academy IDT each individual has
•    Private and petitioned workstations with office desks, drawing boards, filing cabinets, and computers linked to networks, and a multitude of software at one’s fingertips – Bentley Microstation, SolidWorks, AutoCad 2- and 3D, ArchiCad and Sketchup.
•    There is professional supervision and additional briefings from the drawing office manger and other project managers throughout the day (all facilitators are currently employed in industry), as well as Internet access for research and self-development.
•    17h00 – Submit finished assignments electronically before the automatic time-check control shuts your submission out, facing financial penalty, a scolding from the boss, and irate team members.

“Academy of Inventive Design and Technology is of the opinion that the traditional teaching approach of “chalk and talk teaching” cannot successfully be applied to life skills and work ethic. These are values and skills, which need to develop, by being able to practice them constantly over a period of time, as well as an interaction with professionals from industry who already apply them. Academy IDT, operating from first-rate business buildings at Century Gate, is possibly the only draughting academy where the learning environment is similar to, if not the same as the work environment. The practice of work ethic is daily routine for our students and it is not difficult to see why over 70% of our students are placed in work following graduation, and why some have been placed even before completing their first-year of study,” says Keith Cole, CEO and co-founder of the academy. “The demand for Academy IDT’s students in the workplace is in no small way linked to the practical, work-oriented attitude of professionalism we expect of them during their intensive Multi-Disciplinary Drawing Office Practice programme. Demands which have seen almost sixty distinctions in various 2009 NQF examinations alone, as well as two of the highest scores in the country,” continued the co-founder and Chief Operations Manager, Sonya De Jager.

Academy IDT incorporates new technologies to produce a graduate who integrates into industry with ease by equipping them with versatile skills on a broad base of different CAD software packages.  As well as their technical education, learners are involved with drawing-office projects — from the initial client briefing, through to the estimation phase, to the final delivery of the detailed drawings.

Academy IDT is determined to remain relevant to both industry and generation-Y.  Learners thrive on the collaborative goal setting, yet they have no misconceptions about our high expectations regarding the standard of their work.  In this simulated drawing office environment, they have constant access to industry expertise and supervision but Academy IDT places the responsibility for efficient and accurate project delivery firmly on the learners’ shoulders.

Academy IDT are inviting professionals from the architectural and engineering industries to an open day where learners’ work will be showcased. Learners have been given the assignment to present work that deals with challenges in South Africa regarding the following issues:  Transport, Housing, Health, Energy, Education and Supply of Food and Water. The purpose is to encourage a philosophy of improving quality of life -of Life through design and to present viable solutions to real problems.

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Interior Designers

Nature of the Work

Interior designers draw upon many disciplines to enhance the function, safety, and aesthetics of interior spaces. Their main concerns are with how different colors, textures, furniture, lighting, and space work together to meet the needs of a building’s occupants. Designers plan interior spaces of almost every type of building, including offices, airport terminals, theaters, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, and private residences. Good design can boost office productivity, increase sales, attract a more affluent clientele, provide a more relaxing hospital stay, or increase a building’s market value.

Traditionally, most interior designers focused on decorating—choosing a style and color palette and then selecting appropriate furniture, floor and window coverings, artwork, and lighting. However, an increasing number of designers are becoming involved in architectural detailing, such as crown molding and built-in bookshelves, and in planning layouts of buildings undergoing renovation, including helping to determine the location of windows, stairways, escalators, and walkways.

Interior designers must be able to read blueprints, understand building and fire codes, and know how to make space accessible to people who are disabled. Designers frequently collaborate with architects, electricians, and building contractors to ensure that designs are safe and meet construction requirements.

Whatever space they are working on, almost all designers follow the same process. The first step, known as programming, is to determine the client’s needs and wishes. The designer usually meets face-to-face with the client to find out how the space will be used and to get an idea of the client’s preferences and budget. For example, the designer might inquire about a family’s cooking habits if the family is remodeling a kitchen or ask about a store or restaurant’s target customer in order to pick an appropriate motif. The designer also will visit the space to take inventory of existing furniture and equipment and identify positive attributes of the space and potential problems.

Then, the designer formulates a design plan and estimates costs. Today, designs often are created with the use of computer-aided design (CAD), which provides more detail and easier corrections than sketches made by hand. Once the designer completes the proposed design, he or she will present it to the client and make revisions based on the client’s input.

When the design concept is decided upon, the designer will begin specifying the materials, finishes, and furnishings required, such as furniture, lighting, flooring, wall covering, and artwork. Depending on the complexity of the project, the designer also might submit drawings for approval by a construction inspector to ensure that the design meets building codes. If a project requires structural work, the designer works with an architect or engineer for that part of the project. Most designs also require the hiring of contractors to do technical work, such as lighting, plumbing, or electrical wiring. Often designers choose contractors and write work contracts.

Finally, the designer develops a timeline for the project, coordinates contractor work schedules, and makes sure work is completed on time. The designer oversees the installation of the design elements, and after the project is complete, the designer, together with the client, pay follow-up visits to the building site to ensure that the client is satisfied. If the client is not satisfied, the designer makes corrections.

Designers who work for furniture or home and garden stores sell merchandise in addition to offering design services. In-store designers provide services, such as selecting a style and color scheme that fits the client’s needs or finding suitable accessories and lighting, similar to those offered by other interior designers. However, in-store designers rarely visit clients’ spaces and use only a particular store’s products or catalogs.

Interior designers sometimes supervise assistants who carry out their plans and perform administrative tasks, such as reviewing catalogues and ordering samples. Designers who run their own businesses also may devote considerable time to developing new business contacts, examining equipment and space needs, and attending to business matters.

Although most interior designers do many kinds of projects, some specialize in one area of interior design. Some specialize in the type of building space—usually residential or commercial—while others specialize in a certain design element or type of client, such as health care facilities. The most common specialties of this kind are lighting, kitchen and bath, and closet designs. However, designers can specialize in almost any area of design, including acoustics and noise abatement, security, electronics and home theaters, home spas, and indoor gardens.

Three areas of design that are becoming increasingly popular are ergonomic design, elder design, and environmental—or green—design. Ergonomic design involves designing work spaces and furniture that emphasize good posture and minimize muscle strain on the body. Elder design involves planning interior space to aid in the movement of people who are elderly and disabled. Green design involves selecting furniture and carpets that are free of chemicals and hypoallergenic and selecting construction materials that are energy efficient or are made from renewable resources


Work environment.

Working conditions and places of employment vary. Interior designers employed by large corporations or design firms generally work regular hours in well-lighted and comfortable settings. Designers in smaller design consulting firms or those who freelance generally work on a contract, or job, basis. They frequently adjust their workday to suit their clients’ schedules and deadlines, meeting with clients during evening or weekend hours when necessary. Consultants and self-employed designers tend to work longer hours and in smaller, more congested environments.

Interior designers may work under stress to meet deadlines, stay on budget, and please clients. Self-employed designers also are under pressure to find new clients to maintain a steady income.

Designers may work in their own offices or studios or in clients’ homes or offices. They also may travel to other locations, such as showrooms, design centers, clients’ exhibit sites, and manufacturing facilities. With the increased speed and sophistication of computers and advanced communications networks, designers may form international design teams, serve a more geographically dispersed clientele, research design alternatives by using information on the Internet, and purchase supplies electronically.

Source: myspacedesigners.com and bls.gov



Nature of the Work

Drafters prepare technical drawings and plans, which are used to build everything from manufactured products such as toys, toasters, industrial machinery, and spacecraft to structures such as houses, office buildings, and oil and gas pipelines.

In the past, drafters sat at drawing boards and used pencils, pens, compasses, protractors, triangles, and other drafting devices to prepare a drawing by hand. Now, most drafters use Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) systems to prepare drawings. Consequently, some drafters may be referred to as CADD operators.
With CADD systems, drafters can create and store drawings electronically so that they can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into automated manufacturing systems. CADD systems also permit drafters to quickly prepare variations of a design. Although drafters use CADD extensively, it is only a tool. Drafters still need knowledge of traditional drafting techniques, in addition to CADD skills. Despite the nearly universal use of CADD systems, manual drafting and sketching are used in certain applications.
Drafters’ drawings provide visual guidelines and show how to construct a product or structure. Drawings include technical details and specify dimensions, materials, and procedures. Drafters fill in technical details using drawings, rough sketches, specifications, and calculations made by engineers, surveyors, architects, or scientists. For example, drafters use their knowledge of standardized building techniques to draw in the details of a structure. Some use their understanding of engineering and manufacturing theory and standards to draw the parts of a machine; they determine design elements, such as the numbers and kinds of fasteners needed to assemble the machine. Drafters use technical handbooks, tables, calculators, and computers to complete their work.
Drafting work has many specialties:

Aeronautical drafters prepare engineering drawings detailing plans and specifications used in the manufacture of aircraft, missiles, and related parts.
Architectural drafters draw architectural and structural features of buildings and other structures. These workers may specialize in a type of structure, such as residential or commercial, or in a kind of material used, such as reinforced concrete, masonry, steel, or timber.

Civil drafters prepare drawings and topographical and relief maps used in major construction or civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, pipelines, flood control projects, and water and sewage systems.

Electrical drafters prepare wiring and layout diagrams used by workers who erect, install, and repair electrical equipment and wiring in communication centers, power plants, electrical distribution systems, and buildings.
Electronics drafters draw wiring diagrams, circuit board assembly diagrams, schematics, and layout drawings used in the manufacture, installation, and repair of electronic devices and components.
Mechanical drafters prepare drawings showing the detail and assembly of a wide variety of machinery and mechanical devices, indicating dimensions, fastening methods, and other requirements.
Process piping or pipeline drafters prepare drawings used in the layout, construction, and operation of oil and gas fields, refineries, chemical plants, and process piping systems.
Work environment.

Drafters usually work in comfortable offices. They may sit at adjustable drawing boards or drafting tables when doing manual drawings, although most drafters work at computer terminals much of the time. Because they spend long periods in front of computers doing detailed work, drafters may be susceptible to eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems. Most drafters work a standard 40-hour week; only a small number work part time.