Landscape Architecture in India: Everything You Need to Know

Landscape Architecture in India Blog Cover Arch India

Landscape architecture is the designing of the visible features of the space to enhance the overall aesthetic and experience by changing contours, planting trees and shrubs, and adding ornamental features. The broad and interdisciplinary field of Landscape Architecture also requires an understanding of architecture, biology, wildlife, engineering, and urban and interior design, and has recently gained quite some traction in India. 

The Importance of Landscape Architecture in India

Driven by the rapid urbanisation of Indian cities, pollution and population have been on the rise. It is now more important than ever to integrate nature into public and private spaces. Further, it is scientifically proven that spending time in nature helps us improve our general physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Tathagata Tsal (Buddha Park), Sikkim | Courtesy: Pulak Bhagwati

Landscape architecture also plays an impactful role in a city’s storm-water management, pollution levels, pedestrian safety, and social and recreational activities. A city that is well planned and designed in its landscaping provides numerous economic, social, and cultural benefits to its citizens. 

Notable Ongoing Indian Landscape Architecture Projects

The Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project is a waterfront project being implemented along the banks of the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. With the objectives of environmental improvement, besides social upliftment and sustainable development, this project focuses on using the reclaimed land for recreational parks, gardens, promenades, and sports facilities. It also supports local social activities by integrating a well-organised Dhobi Ghat, informal markets, and the weekly flea market. 

Central Vista Redevelopment Landscape
Central Vista Redevelopment Landscape | Courtesy: HCP

The ongoing Central Vista Redevelopment project aims to revamp India’s administrative centre in New Delhi. Besides, the project targets providing modern and sustainable facilities to sustain administrative, institutional, and public activities. The 3km long boulevard between the India Gate and the Rashtrapati Bhavan, known as the Central Vista Avenue or Rajpath, is also proposed to be developed as a civic garden. Pedestrian underpasses, wider footpaths, parking spaces, and a 48-acre area bio-diversity park are also part of the redevelopment plan. 

Top 7 Landscape Architecture Firms in India

Ravindra Bhan and Associates 

The late Professor Ravindra Bhan was a pioneer of landscape architecture in India. A recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Prof. Bhan had a keen understanding indeed of the relationship between man and nature and how a building affects its environment.

Site Development of Ayodhya Ghats, Ravindra Bhan and Associates

Some of his notable works include Shakti Sthala – A Memorial of Indira Gandhi and the landscaping of Hotel Mughal Sheraton in Agra, besides the site development and landscaping of the Golden Temple corridors. 

M/s. Prabhakar B. Bhagwat 

Founder of the Indian Society of Landscape Architects (ISOLA), Professor Prabhakar B Bhagwat is one of the founders of the profession of landscape architecture in India. His studio, established in 1973, still continues to undertake projects of varying scales and typologies.

Kanjurmag, Landscape India (Prabhakar B. Bhagwat)
Kanjurmag, Landscape India (Prabhakar B. Bhagwat)

It is evident through projects such as Samnvay and Kanjurmarg that ecological research along with artistry and craftsmanship are equally important in the studio’s design process. 

Kishore D Pradhan: Architecture + Landscape 

Founded in 1972 by renowned landscape architect Kishore D Pradhan, the firm has a wide variety of clientele. Urban green projects such as City Park in Mumbai and Eat Street in Hyderabad are examples of the firm’s ideology that landscape design must serve the functional needs of the space along with elevating the aesthetics.  

IUCAA Pune, Kishore Pradhan; Source

Architecture BRIO 

Architecture BRIO’s projects re-establish the connection between built environments and nature based on the principle that architecture acts as a supportive backdrop to life without taking centre stage. This principle is apparent in their projects, such as the Skate Park and Promenade along Carter Road in Mumbai and the Riparian House in Karjat. 

Skate Park and Promenade Centre, Architecture Brio; Source

Design Cell 

A landscape architecture and planning firm established in 1987, Design Cell approaches each project intending to create contemporary spaces with local nuance. The firm employs a diverse team of landscape architects, besides horticulturists, urban designers, architects, and engineers to achieve long term economic, cultural, and environmental sustainability in their projects. 

The Raintree Ecotel, Design Cell; Source

Oracles 

The New Delhi based firm provides site planning, landscape design, and construction administration services. Taking a context-responsive approach, the firm aims to design landscapes that merge seamlessly in their urban or natural settings.

Tech Mahindra IT Park, Oracles; Source

This is evident in the DLF Cybercity project in Gurgaon, Haryana. They also provide heritage conservation and improvement services such as the Mehrauli: Archaeological Park and Heritage Trail in Delhi. 

FICUS Landscape Architects 

The firm provides consultancy in landscape planning, landscape architecture, and historic landscapes. Their award-winning hospitality project – Java Rain – is a 5-acre luxury resort located amidst a coffee estate in Chikmaglur, Karnataka. Their private and public projects also indicate that deep research into the site’s context and ecology is an integral part of the firm’s design process. 

Java Rain, FICUS; Source

As sustainable and eco-friendly structures and spaces are becoming increasingly important, the demand for architects with specialisations in landscape design is also rising. Landscape architects now work hand in hand with architects from the beginning of the project and have indeed become an indispensable part of every firm.  

What You should do to become a Landscape Architect in India?

Here is how you can go about the process of acquiring a master’s degree in landscaping after a bachelor’s degree in architecture (B. Arch.):

STEP 1: Build a suitable portfolio

A good portfolio showcasing your talents and goals can indeed make all the difference in applying for a job or degree. Make sure to keep your portfolio precise and straightforward. Besides, include all your best works and any internships, achievements, or scholarships. 

PORTFOLIO

There are several landscape designing and architecture competitions for students that one could participate in. The National Association of Students of Architecture (NASA) holds annual design competitions such as the Louis I. Kahn Trophy, HUDCO trophy and the Landscape Trophy. Besides, the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) hosts the Students and Young Professionals Competition ‘Landscape Here and Now’. 

STEP 2: Gain hands-on experience

Some colleges require or prefer applicants to have prior work experience in the field. Collaborative projects or internships also offer opportunities for gaining hands-on experience, allowing you to gain valuable insight into the entire design process, right from the conceptual stages to the execution. 

HANDS ON

STEP 3: Apply to the top colleges based on their eligibility and selection criteria

A postgraduate degree in Landscape Architecture is a two-year program. Most colleges require a BArch degree with a minimum of 55% aggregate marks besides holding their own entrance exams. 

APPLY

A master’s program syllabus in landscape architecture is covered through: 

  1. Theory subjects such as History and Theory of Landscape Architecture, Water Management, Climatology, Hydrology and Geomorphology, etc., 
  2. Studios intended for students to apply the theoretical knowledge in their designs, further culminating in an independent thesis, and
  3. Electives that offer students to explore their specific areas of interest besides allowing for inter-disciplinary options to be pursued. 

Top 5 Indian Colleges for Master’s in Landscape Architecture

School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi

Eligibility: B.Arch. with 55% aggregate marks

Selection Criteria: 60% of seats shall be filled through CCMT & 40% directly through the admission test conducted by the institute

School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal

Eligibility: 55% in B.Arch./B.Plan from a recognised university with 1-year experience

Selection Criteria: 60% seats shall be filled through CCMT & 40% directly through admission test conducted by the institute

School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada

Eligibility: B.Arch. with a CGPA of at least 6.5 or 60% in aggregate

Selection Criteria: CCMT, written test, interview

School of Architecture and Planning, Anna University, Chennai

Eligibility: B.Arch from a recognised institute

Selection Criteria: TANCET followed by Counselling

CEPT University, Ahmedabad

Eligibility: B.Arch/BUD/BCT in respective fields with minimum 55% marks in aggregate (50% marks for candidates belonging to reserved categories)

Selection Criteria: marks of the qualifying degree, work experience followed a written test and drawing test conducted by CEPT

Top 5 International Colleges for Master’s in Landscape Architecture

International colleges require Indian applicants to have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 65% marks and appear for an English language requirement exam such as the IELTS or TOEFL. 

Humans have always depended on nature for our basic needs. But now, as urbanisation continues to take us further away from the natural processes of the world, architects must make improved efforts to restore this connection. The field of Landscape Architecture has undoubtedly come a long way from being misunderstood as merely gardening to now becoming a necessity in the design of private and public spaces. It is up to the future landscape architects of the country to expand the scope of landscaping and further the efforts for a well-planned and greener society. 

Nandini Avadhanam
Nandini Avadhanam

Nandini Avadhanam is a 3rd-year architecture student at Manipal School of Architecture and Planning. She believes in the power of authenticity and integrity in writing, architecture, and in writing about architecture. She is also an avid reader, a dancer, and is passionate about a holistic, community-centric approach to designing spaces.

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