What is an Architect?

Also known as: Chartered Architect, Architectural Designer, Design Architect.

An architect is someone who loves to design, and is specifically trained and licensed to work on the planning and design of buildings. The facets of an architect's role are as varied and fascinating as their work; these are professionals who lead the process of creating functional spaces, from concept and design to a full realization of those designs.

Architecture is an art that works hand in hand with science to design places where people can live, eat, work and play. As a leader of various projects, from something as small as an addition to someone's home, to something as large as a hospital, college campus, or an entire neighbourhood, the role of an architect is to bring together the creative ideas and visions of the client and keep in mind the needs of those that will be using the new space.

Find your compatibility

Would you make a good architect? Sokanu's free assessment reveals your exact compatibility with this career, your strengths, and any unique areas of interest.

Take the career test

What does an Architect do?

An architect is not just involved in the design of a building. As a licensed professional they are also responsible for public safety and overseeing of projects. Their role is important in every stage of the building's construction, from the initial concept to the opening ceremony when the building is complete. Beyond completion, an architect often remains involved in a project as buildings evolve to incorporate new surroundings and ideas.

The aspects of work can be split into three main roles or phases- the design, documentation and construction roles.

In the design role, an architect is hired by a client to produce detailed designs of a concept or idea that the client wants to bring to reality. As well as needing creative design ideas, this part of the role involves a great deal of technical knowledge and responsibility. There is a need to comply with building and safety regulations, local planning regulations and restrictions. Depending on the project there may be laws surrounding the preservation of the local environment or any historic parts of a building. Regular client meetings are important to establish requirements and discuss detailed design proposals. Also important is heading up the team of professionals who will work on this stage of the project including engineers, designers and financiers.

During the documentation phase, the responsibilities are to capture the design on paper, producing detailed drawings and using technology such as CAD to test the feasibility of the design. This stage can involve continual revision and redrawing to incorporate changes based on the client's requirements, budget and regulations. Once the design documents are complete, there are then a second set of documents that need to be produced.

These are the construction documents, which translate the design into instructions and technical specifications for contractors and construction experts. Once the project reaches the construction stage, the architect will be involved in site visits and meetings, overseeing the construction and signing off on various pieces of work, negotiating with contractors and dealing with and resolving any problems that arise.

What is the workplace of an Architect like?

The variety of roles means that there are also a variety of workplaces. Most of the design work will be done from an office, but there will also be visits to clients' offices, meetings with planning offices and local government, and of course site visits. Depending on whether they are freelance or employed by a company, an architect may work from their own office, sometimes from home, or from a number of company offices. The role can involve travel and international conferences, placements or meetings.

Videos

Further Reading

  • An A-Z Guide To Being An Architect

    Being an architect isn't just about baffling people with unusual diagrams that only make sense when the author is in the same room.

  • What’s An Architects Day Like?

    So what exactly does an architect do all day? Chances are the answer is “a lot” and depending on the market sector in which they focus, probably something somewhat similar and somewhat unique compared to all the other architects out there working away.

  • What Does It Take To Become An Architect?

    To become an architect, a student must first obtain a high school diploma and admittance into a four year college or university with an architecture program...

  • Do You Want To Be An Architect?

    It takes a lot of commitment and desire to become an architect. Nobody becomes an architect because they think it sounds cool or they like to draw. There is a lot more to it and I think it needs to be a calling for you to even think you will experience any measurable success.

  • Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Architect?

    Do I have what it takes to be an Architect? Will I be any good at architecture if I become an architect? Will I make any money as an architect? …

  • Becoming An Architect

    Architecture is the art, the science and the business of building.

Similar Careers

×