8th May 2017Design, Landscape, SustainabilityLeave a commentGrand Designs A moment of perspectiveOver two days this past week, some of our team visited the grand designs exhibition at the Excel Centre in London’s Docklands and what seemed like a perfectly normal office outing, became a much larger lesson in perspective giving.An event, much more popular with architects than landscape professionals, it’s perhaps not the first place you’d think to find a landscape architect on their day off. Grand designs may sound like a gimmick but it’s actually an exhibition with a lot of heart. If you are an “average Joe” with big dreams and big ideas about designing and building your own home, this exhibition brings everything you need or more importantly “need to know”, under one roof.On a practical level, it is an opportunity to talk (for free) to professionals across a whole range of fields, to discover the latest design technologies and perhaps more importantly get an abundance of advice on self build issues large and small.So why were we there? Well, it sounds obvious but the landscape has an awful lot to do with buildings. We wrote a blog recently on how the landscape can add exponential value to your home. When we look out the window of our homes, it’s the landscape we see, when the sun is shining, it’s the garden we sit in or park that we head for. We choose building plots or houses for their location and often proximity to nature and the countryside.Landscape is so intrinsic to building that often, in fact, architects even have to consider the landscape before they can get planning permission to build some of the most innovative and unusual homes. Landscape and visual impact assessments or LVIAs as they are known are the starting point for many buildings so we (as landscape architects) can assess the impact they will have and mitigate against it before they are even built.Architects and Landscape architects are intrinsically connected in the work they do. As landscape professionals we work with architects all the time, we understand planning process and know about all the aspects of landscape design down to the very finite detail and about how that connects to the building. That said, we are a long way from being architects and the opportunity to speak to some of the most established and remarkable architects in the field enabled us to discover some of the latest perspectives and trends in the world of architecture. More interestingly still, we had the opportunity to do this with a second hat on as we have secretly squirrelled away a grand design of our own so took the chance to get some advice (and potentially an architecture partnership) on that too. Interesting indeed to talk to architects in a personal rather than professional capacity.But despite the professional and personal benefits of visiting Grand Designs, this was far from the most remarkable thing about our trip. Between roaming the stalls and listening to the dulcet tones of Charlie Luxton and Piers Taylor we sat, coffee in hand and just watched. And in life, it’s the moments between moments that are sometimes the most significant. What we saw was people; people with aspirations, dreams and ideas. People excited to discover and learn and craving inspiration or someone to inspire them.As professionals, we are all driven by different agendas; outstanding design, sustainable solutions, finding opportunities for creative flair. Perhaps we value the traditional or the contemporary or the challenge of a tricky space or an inopportune site. What motivates us is different for every professional but what we are often quick to forget is that all our professional practices and aspirations only exist because of the boldness of our clients. It is easy to forget in our passion for our field that it’s not our money we spend or our lives we affect change upon. The awards we, as professionals, win and the incredible buildings or landscapes we create only exist because of the courage of our clients to pursue their dreams and to trust us to tread those journeys with them. An important reminder of our roles and moment of reflection, in our remarkable adventure on the road of landscape architecture.