Associate News Editor
As part of the Department of Landscape Architecture?s 30th anniversary, the College of Architecture sponsored a keynote speaker to make the program?s undergraduate students more aware of career opportunities that lie ahead.
Robert Weygand, landscape architect, politician and Vice President of Administration at Rhode Island University, spoke to Tech students about the contributions they can make as professional landscape architects.
The department?s 30th anniversary is coincidentally the same year as the 40th anniversary of the college.
?Landscape architecture is the designing, planning, and monitoring of land,? said Paul Knox, Dean of the College of Architecture. ?It is a profession that stands on the interface of society and nature.?
Weygand said he gets frustrated over the misconception that landscape architects are landscapers.
?Most of us don?t know how to say what we do in less than ten words,? Weygand said. ?(This) makes our definition of who we are and what we do very difficult to convey.?
Hailing from the northeast, Weygand made presentations on two major projects he was involved with in Providence, Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts.
In Providence Weygand participated in a $400 million dollar project sponsored by Rhode Island?s Department of Transportation. The Providence River ran through the city, which posed traffic and pedestrian dangers. Weygand said one traffic area was referred to as ?suicide circle?. A team of landscape architects, architects, and engineers relocated the river and railroad tracks to provide for a more civilian and environmentally friendly use of space.
We turned a large area of disarray into an amphitheater where concerts are often held in the summer, Wegand said. A retail district also sprung up around the areas that underwent beautification changes.
Businesses were able to relocate to that area because the landscape architects could provide them with amenities they needed, Weygand said.
Weygand showed a video of a project he worked on that connected Boston highways and parks to the water front. The federally funded project was intended to make historical parts of the city more visually appealing.
?(The modifications) may look simple, but it takes 14.5 billion dollars to achieve that simplicity,? Weygand said.
Knox praised Weygand for his professional versatility.
?(Weygand) has a mid-career resume that is a very enviable one,? Knox said.
In addition to his credentials as a landscape architect Weygand was also a former Rhode Island congressman, lieutenant governor and state representative.
Senior landscape architecture student Julia Brown helped arrange Weygand?s visit. Brown said she was impressed by Weygand?s passion for the career.
?He has a great vision of what landscape architecture can do for the world ? how it can benefit public space and the quality of life.?