Why bdla? Two offices, two opinions

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To kick off our series, we talked to Florian Otto, co-owner of bauchplan ).( and Norman Riede, owner of Riede Landschaftsarchitektur in Nuremberg.

We wanted to know what the association does from their point of view, what membership actually feels like and whether or why the professional association is still irreplaceable.

Mr. Otto, first of all, congratulations on winning the Participation and Planning category of the German Landscape Architecture Award 2017!
Hand on heart: Was your entry into the association related to the competition fees for the German Landscape Architecture Award or what was the decisive reason?

Florian Otto: The German Landscape Architecture Award was indeed the occasion, but not the reason for joining. The importance of the professional work only really becomes clear over the years. However, we do sometimes struggle with the profession.
The task of designing spaces for a dynamically changing society is so important and so great. On the other hand, there is a professional practice that is sometimes so narrow-minded and small-minded that one just wants to distance oneself from it.
We are landscape architects by passion, understand the field of activity however by far more extensively, than it is often interpreted by colleagues. This is why our portfolio includes not only classic typologies but also bridges, landscape geneses and participatory processes. The building of living spaces is not only to be understood as a constructive contribution, but at least as much as a cultural one.
At bauchplan ).( we have been working with a transdisciplinary team at the interface of space and society for 15 years now. It is perhaps due to this basic understanding of building culture that during this time the new and unusual have always been closer to us than the well-trodden paths.

And what do you expect from the bdla in this respect?

Florian Otto: In this structural positioning of the profession, i.e. in the sustainable qualification of living environments, the bdla could perhaps do more in the future. In many cases we are still perceived as graduate gardeners. The aspect of strategic development is still associated with surprise in the public reception.
Therefore I am also very glad about the exhibition outside, which was to be seen this year in the architecture museum of the Pinakothek of the modern age. Here it was shown how relevant and just not decorative our field of activity can actually be. And that is definitely not limited to non-European parts of the world.
We are living in exciting times in which everyday working and living environments are undergoing major changes. In these processes, and especially in the current good economic situation, it is important not to lose sight of the essentials and to question the tasks we are given in terms of their viability for the sustainable development of society.

Do you perceive the association differently since you joined than before? And what has surprised you most about the professional association since then?

Florian Otto: We haven't been here long enough for that. We had already been exchanging ideas with friendly colleagues before. The bdla is another occasion for this and a forum whose possibilities we have yet to discover. After the wonderful summer party of the bdla Bavaria on the terrace of the TUM, where I could enjoy the very collegial and friendly atmosphere, I am already looking forward to the award ceremony on 29.9. in Berlin. I was allowed to work in Berlin twice for half a year during my training and I hope to meet some "old acquaintances" there again.

Mr. Riede, you have been a member for many years and have also been active on the board of bdla Bavaria for several years. What comes to your mind spontaneously on the subject of membership?

Norman Riede: I immediately think of a phenomenon that I have been observing for a long time: in principle, everyone likes the bdla, but only some people become members. Is this due to the membership fee? For me, membership was a matter of course and I still benefit from it today.

In what way, could you give us some examples?

Norman Riede: Sure. At the very beginning of Riede Landscape Architecture a municipality with a road construction project in the context of urban land use planning with the services LP / GOP asked me. With the associated offer for green planning services I had many questions at that time: how do I offer, what are special services, what is a lump sum - a bdla colleague helped me at that time. Her advice turned out to be very helpful and already more than made up for the membership fee that year.
A little later: My first sports field, with unusual basic conditions and a special topic; all this with new DIN and the requirement for experience values to building methods, which go beyond the DIN. Here, too, the advice of an experienced bdla colleague contributed significantly to a smooth construction. There were no concerns, no damages and a good feeling the whole time.

Even more noticeable are the effects of a membership for me with active commitment in the association work. For example, I have been allowed to serve on various juries and commissions. What at first seemed like social and professional leisure time events quickly turned out to be valuable in the long term: I gained a lot of professional knowledge here and got to know some later clients. In this case, there is no need to offset the membership fees, because my office would not have survived the lean years before 2010 without this knowledge and the contacts.

Do you still profit today? The order situation has improved considerably in the meantime...

Normann Riede: Absolutely, because the limiting factor is now more the shortage of staff. Membership also has an effect here, only under the opposite sign: As an office owner, I can meet young colleagues quite casually at events like meat& eat, the summer party or excursions. Whether, how and when we work together is not relevant to me at first. Because there are simply more options that are advantageous later on. And at the same time, as a member, I search for suitable reinforcement in a targeted manner and free of charge via the bdla job exchange.
Not to leave it at the financial benefits alone: over time, the bdla creates a family-like relationship with many colleagues, which I appreciate very much. Of course, I can achieve all this without a professional association, but the bdla makes it much easier for me.
Preview: In the next part, in November 2017, we will devote ourselves to the topic of redensification.

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