Architects are professionals who are trained and licensed to design buildings and other constructed spaces. Their skills are a combination of creative design and the science of construction. Architects utilize a variety of tools, such as design software and 3-d architectural model to realize these designs.
Because architects design, and assist in construction of, public spaces they serve and important safety function. Architects undergo extensive training in the building sciences.
All architects spend from 5 to 7 years earning an accredited degree in architecture, followed by a supervised on the job training period called the Intern Development Program (IDP). The IDP provides work experience under the close supervision of a licensed architect.
Upon completion of the IDP, the aspiring architect must sit for the Architect Registration Exam. Passing this examination is the minimum requirement for licensure. State registration boards may add their own additional testing or interview requirements.
The Job of an Architect
Architects fulfill a variety of roles in the planning, design and construction oversight of building systems. They are required to use both engineering and math skills and a creative sensibility.
Planning and designing buildings means creating both the big picture – the actual overall design – and understanding how the various features and systems within the building work together. An architect creates designs that integrate the client’s desires with the practical building needs, such as plumbing systems, zoning, permitting, electricity and more.
Architects utilize a variety of software to design environments. They may create actual 3-D models or photorealistic renderings to convey design to clients. Dependent upon the type of firm or project, architects may also be involved in overseeing various aspects of construction, or at least with setting the client up with the contractors who will do the work.
Some architects are very specialized, choosing to work only on a limited type of projects. Others offer generalized architectural services to individuals and companies.