What Does An Architect Do?

Last updated: September 12, 2020
Published 4:23 pm

Introduction

Architects are professionals who plan, design and supervise the construction of buildings. They are designers of all types of buildings, from traditional structures to magnificent and awe-inspiring skyscrapers; in the sense of it, an architect is an artist who paints the surface of the earth with buildings.

The word architect has Greek origins and is from the word arkhitekton, which means chief. If you have any building constructed, the first person you need to talk to is an architect. Architects are professionals that are educated in the art and science of designing buildings. They help you translate your vision and requirements into drawings which are then translated into actual structures.

What is the role of an Architect?

The roles of the architect are diverse, but the overall aim is to construct a building that is safe and functional. Given the nature of the profession, architects must be well trained since their decisions affect public safety.

According to The Royal British Institute of Architects, architects are to follow the guideline below when undertaking a project.

Strategic Definition; Brief; Concept Design; Developed Design; Technical Design; Construction; Handover; and Use. In the United States, it is defined by the AIA as Programming Strategy; Concept Design; Design Development & Refinement; Preparation of Construction Documents; Tender Bid and appointment; Construction Administration; and Project Close-Out.

For this post, we’ll classify the roles of the architect into design and construction roles.

Design Role

The design of a building is what architects are mostly known for. A client will hire an architect and gives them a brief of their requirements. The architect has to translate that brief into a design.

The design the architect produces must meet the requirements of the client and must be practical and functional. During the design stage, both the client and the architect meet to discuss the project so the architect can understand the nuances involved.

When designing buildings, the architect has to consult with engineers to ensure the design is practical in terms of structural stability. They will also consult other professionals to coordinate cost how the construction will be executed and other activities that will be involved in the construction of the building.

During the design stage, drawing is revised until the clients brief can be accurately depicted; if the design is not feasible, it is modified until the design is practical. The types of materials and standard of work are decided here.

Construction Role

After designing the next step is to construct the building; it is at this stage, the building is erected. During the construction stage, the architect oversees the whole process. During construction, the architect will be involved in meetings, contract negotiation, and coordinating the entire construction.

They ensure your construction adheres to local codes and regulations. Architects help select contractors to carry out the construction of your building, negotiate contracts and perform facilities management after construction. Design is the backbone of architecture, as such architects are primarily designers.

Are all Architects the Same?

As an architect, there’s a wide range of possibilities; you can focus on an area to channel your creative energies. Some architects choose the path of educationists, and some infuse their profession with other arts such as photography. The possibilities are near endless. Asides designing the building, architects also design interior, landscape.

We also have architects that specialize in a particular type of building, such as schools, campuses, hospitals, condos, churches, airport terminals etc.

Below is a list that shows some of the popular types of architects.

  • Residential Architects: Residential architects are the most popular types of architects. They are focused on designing buildings for residential purposes. They plan your home and give it a unique feel. These architects are well versed in the local building regulations.
  • Interior Designer Architect: Asides the designing the exterior look of a building and how to utilize the space inside a building, architects also undertake interior designing—an interior design architect designs and styles the interior of buildings and commercial spaces.
  • They use their understanding of colours, fabric, and other elements to make the most of interior space.
  • Landscape Architect: A landscape architect designs outdoor spaces by incorporating nature, topography and other natural features into their designs. They design parks, gardens, campuses and other outdoors and public areas.
  • If you have been to a park and you admire the serenity and how the natural features fit so well with the humanmade structures know that it’s the work of a landscape architect. Landscape architects have an understanding of horticulture and climate.
  • Industrial Architect: An industrial architect is an expert in designing factories and industrial facilities. They plan the facilities to give optimum performance. They plan the facility in such a way that the industrial processes and aesthetics are well balanced.
  • Green Design Architect: It is our joint obligation to protect our planet as we are undergoing climate changes; buildings are now employing sustainable means of construction and are opting for greener alternatives.
  • Green Design architects design green, eco-friendly buildings that are both energy efficient and have little impact on the natural features of its surroundings. They use sustainable materials and eco-friendly construction technology.
  • Urban Architect: Urban architects are involved in the designing of large areas such as cities—they design and shape cities, public spaces, transport systems and other public amenities. Urban architecture also involves landscape architecture.
  • Restoration Architect: A restoration architect is charged with preserving, repairing, maintaining, and restoring old buildings and structures. There are a lot of historic buildings and monuments such as Sistine chapel that are preserved through the expertise of restoration architects to help them retain their historical value.

Conclusion

Architecture is a broad field that avails architects of a wide range of possibilities. Architects design and build different structures. The architect takes your idea and translates it into a functional design, which in turn is translated into a physical form using their expertise and knowledge.

To practise architecture, you need to have the required license and certification, which usually involves an architecture degree.