Richard Rauso: Landscape Architect
1.) Do you use or consider Feng Shui when landscaping an area?
Yes, he uses it to a small degree. He thinks about how people may react when their in that space or walking through it when he’s designing it. The biggest factor that affects a person’s reactions is everything you put into the space such as walls, walks, paving, planting or fountains that the area may contain.
2.) What types of things do you look for when working on an area?
A main thing he looks at is colors. If the room is lighter you should use darker colors to contrast it and help the room have a sense of balance. Lighter colors will make the area seem brighter and more reflective, while darker colors will make it more subdued. Also darker colors are more absorbent, so if the area is in a sunny spot, darker colors will make the area warmer.
3.) How did you decide to become a landscape architect?
He first learned about landscape architecture in a research paper in 7th grade on what he wanted to be when he grew up. Through research he found that this job held all of his interests such as drawing, nature, the environment, & water. The whole idea of preserving the environment and working with things that preserve natural things and design something with nature appealed to him giving him a successful career choice.
4.) Do you believe the color scheme of an area can change a person’s mood?
Yes, he believes that different colors have different effects on people. If a space has a lot of greens or blues it is going to be more serene, however if you use warmer colors such as red and orange people tend to be more stimulated. This same concept also applies to plant material. If you design something with lots of flowers that are red and orange, it has a whole different feeling then whites, pinks, purples or any cooler more calming colors. Another calming element to an area is water. The sound of water is typically identified as soothing or calming. You can also use water to mask out other sounds such as traffic or other noises from outside of that area by adding a waterfall feature. This will in turn both calm people down as well as mask the noise so you don’t notice the unwanted sounds as much. Another benefit to water is that it acts like a natural air conditioner by reducing the room temperature in a normally warm area.
5.) Do you have a favorite “style” of architecture?
Yes, his favorite style of architecture is a Modern Style, but likes the Classic English Style also. Modern Style of architecture includes the use of a lot of steel, water, concrete and stainless steel. This style is very clean and simple looking.
6.) Do you think a lot of the concepts you use are specific to a landscape architect, or all architects bas their work off of the same concepts?
All landscape architects and architects go through the same design process, but how they arrive at the solution is a little bit different. The one thing he always remembers when designing something is his saying Form Follows Function. All that this means is that the form of something in your design is dictated by what your function is. For example, take someone designing a sidewalk. Now if that sidewalk was in the city it would probably need to be about 12 feet wide because lots of people would be using it. However, if you are designing a sidewalk from your driveway to your front door it only needs to be about 3 feet wide because you only have one person walking. So the form of something follows whatever function it serves and a good design not only looks good but fits whatever function is required.
7.) How has the industry changed since you’ve been in it?
The main thing that had changed for him was the use of computers. First of all, when doing drawings it is much easier to edit and change things using AutoCAD, which is a computer animated drafting/design program. Before this program all of your drawings were done by hand and in order to change something you had to erase it. Another way computers have changed things is they made it easier to study a 3d model of your design using a program called SketchUp. This also makes it easier to show your clients since most don’t read plans very well but can easily identify with a 3d pictorial representation. Before SketchUp, architects would have to do a perspective sketch which would take much longer to set up accurately. However some things haven’t changed much, such as your need to be able to draw. This is because when you are designing something it is still easiest and fastest and you tend to get a much better result when you draw your idea by hand first. Once your concept is on paper, you can then put it into the computer to study and refine it further. One thing he noted was that no matter how much technology continues to progress, architects will always have to be able to draw.
8.) What part of your job gives you the most satisfaction/ your favorite part?
His favorite part of his job is being able to have a design go from his head to paper. Then after giving away his drawings to a contractor, they design and build his creation which he gets to drive by and see. Rauso claims, “That’s the best part of my job, seeing something that I designed and created built.”
9.) What places have you designed?
He has designed many places such as West Monroeville Community Park, The Kaufman Center Plaza at the Hill House Center in the Hill District which even won an award, The Promenade in Pittsburgh Mechanicalist Center which also won an award, Heritage Park in Monroeville, Level Green Elementary School Park, The Elliot Building corporate center headquarters, The Yough River Ability Garden which is a handicap garden along the Youghiogheny River, Penn-Township Municipal Park which is currently under construction. They are going to add in a dog park, walking trail, and make the pond bigger. Other places he has done around the country include the Missouri Botanic Garden, the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden in Virginia, the Rancho Santa Ana botanic garden in Claremont, California, a Boy Scout camp on Catalina Island, California called Camp Emerald Bay and Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
10.) What is the benefit of being self employed?
He believes that the main benefit of being self employed is having the freedom to design and work on projects you want to and you get to be your own boss.
11.) Do you have other people that work with you at all?
Yes, he teams up on projects with other landscape architects as well as architects and engineers. He does very few projects by himself and is usually part of a team. For example, if somebody wants to build a new hotel the architect will be in charge of the design, or what the hotel looks like while the landscape architect will have to do the outside work. This includes designing how the building fits on the site with the grading of the land and sun angles, adding walls, walks, paving, fountains, plants, trees, parking, and lighting. This way both can use their specialties to ensure the best possible design for the building.