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What do architects do?

Ever since I joined architecture school I have come across many people who have stopped me on multiple occasions just ask me “what is architecture?”, “what do I do?” and various other questions. 

Living in India most of the parents think that their children’s will either be an engineer or a doctor. These are the two most famous streams and other than that there are CA, business school and etc. Anything that is even slightly related to creativity is not that popular. 

I still remember the first time I was asked these questions and when I told them in a brief that design houses they confused me for a civil engineer and went on saying it’s not a stream for girls. I was honestly laughing and crying at the same time. From then on there were people calling me “architecture” instead of “architect” and many other stories. 

This time I thought to take out time to educate people on this topic. 

What is an architect?

An architect is a skilled professional who is trained in the art and science of building to plan and design buildings and generally plays a key role in their construction. Architecture is the course that architects take and in order to practice in the field they must have the license to do so since they bear the responsibility for the safety of their buildings. It is one of the fields which include a wide variety of career options since they cover a wide variety of topics during the 5 years course. Their knowledge, design skills, and artistic sense make them capable of approaching other paths like graphic design, product design, interior design, or even game design. 

What do architects do? 

  • Consult with clients to determine their requirements
  • Design, Lead and develop projects from early concept through design development
  • Budget, coordinate, and oversee projects
  • Prepare drawings, specifications, and construction documents
  • Incorporate mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and other details into the designs
  • Work with contractors during a building’s construction phase
  • Satisfy building code and zoning regulations
  • Secure project approval and permits from regulatory authorities
  • Coordinate preliminary architectural drawings with the structures department for structures drawings for the site. 
  • Work with teams across business lines, in remote locations, and coordinate with subcontractors
  • Resolve complex design issues with innovative and practical solutions
  • Modify existing plans and elevations to fit client and sales needs
  • Run small businesses and manage teams of employees
  • Help market their firms and secure new business

Architects begin designing a project at the planning stage of development. They first meet with the client to determine their requirements for the project. In determining a design plan, architects must consider other items such as the site, environment, culture, and history, which may be subject to local and federal regulations, building codes, and local planning and zoning laws. The architect also needs to consider the type of building materials to use that fit the client’s requirements as well as the budget.

When creating designs, architects use advanced computer programs such as 3D software programs—BIM (Building Information Management and AutoCAD (computer-aided design), Sketchup, Lumion, Revit—as well as and cloud-based technologies.

As the project progresses, the architect will consult with clients, contractors, engineers, and other key members to ensure that aspects such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), as well as structural supports, are properly incorporated into their designed structures. This may also include making modifications to their design throughout the project life cycle.

What type of projects do architects do?

  • Residential 
  • Commercial 
  • Interior design 
  • Green design 
  • Landscape 
  • Urban design 
  • Industrial 

What are the 4 stages of designing an architecture project?

  1. Schematic design: This is the first stage of the design where the architect meets the client to discuss his requirement, visits the site and access the situation, and develop their overall design. “Schematic” means “represented simply” in this stage the architect after discussing the important things needed to design the building will show a concept of the building, rough layout of the plan on which the whole building is made of. 
  2. Design Development: Once the client has approved the concept and the layout the architect will start by filling in details in the plan such as air conditioning, electrical systems, plumbing, etc. At this stage, the architect will also coordinate with the structural engineer for structural drawings. He will also design the building according to ti the Building codes, environmental regulations, and other ordinances that become particular areas of concern. This stage will all incorporate the furniture layout, interior design elements (either the architect does the interior design too or in some cases, it is coordinated with another interior design firm depends on the client) along with landscaping. Before it is finalized, the clients also approve this more detailed level of design.
  3. Construction Documents:  Once the design is finalized, the architects prepare documents with full GFC drawings (Good for construction) that will enable the project to be built. These documents are the assembly instructions that the contractors will follow. Different versions of drawings are given to the different type of contractors such one plumbing, electrical, wall, etc
  4. Construction Administration Finally, at this stage depending on the nature of the architectural firm, the preferences of the client, and local jurisdictional rules, architects will be involved at this stage in different ways. In some cases, they transition into a consulting role. In others, they directly manage the subcontractors on behalf of the client. In almost every case, questions can arise during construction that will require the architects to generate new materials, addendums to the existing construction documents that correct or clarify details so that the building can be completed as designed.

This is all that you need to know about an architect and what they actually do. If you have any queries do reach out to me, I will be happy to answer them. 

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