Architects are licensed professionals that design and construct buildings. They are responsible for the overall aesthetic that influences the atmosphere and feeling of the structure. Perhaps more importantly, architects ensure that buildings are safe, functional, and have a specific purpose. If you’re interested in becoming one yourself, this is what to expect in your line of work.
Software used by architects
During the early processes of design and prototyping, architects will use software to help sketch structures. If you are learning how to become an architect through schooling or courses, you’ll most likely be taught how to use tools like AutoCAD. It is an industry standard program for building floor plans, models, and sections. Software like this is categorized as BIM, or building information management software.
Revit is similar to AutoCAD, except it’s primary use is for 3d designs of buildings. These can be printed out or converted to PDFs for easy sharing. While not necessarily for planning, Adobe Photoshop is also commonly used by architects to present a visual of the finished building.
Firms that architects may work at
Architects can work for a variety of firms and companies, which all have their own unique duties. Working at a large firm places architects within teams that work on the design of a project together. Metropolitan areas like Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles would be good examples of where to find architect firm work. A design architect will be responsible for the sketching, initial design, and creating presentations for clients. Production architects though, modify and edit blueprints of the project to make it more efficient.
A principal architect is one of the most prestigious positions that you can be in. They are paid very well and have a large say in the design and production of a building. As a architect in general, you can also be contracted into existing projects to help with specific pain points.
The architect design phases
The American Institute of Architects defines a five step process that every architect goes through when completing a project.
Schematic design is the first step. This entails consulting with the client to determine goals, requirements, and then developing drawings. Experience with software will help this step as architects can quickly create visuals.
Secondly, design development comes next, laying out the structural, architectural, and mechanical aspects. Electrical and plumbing are common aspects to plan out here.
The third step is creating blueprints or construction documents. These are drawings with great detail, which could be used by contractors, construction workers and similar roles.
This leads to the next step, which is bidding and negotiating. Potential clients and contractors bid on the documents to determine who will help complete the project. Finally, the architect will aid in administration, overseeing the project to ensure that is goes as planned.
Overall, the firm that an architect works at or with will determine their duties. They will also need to be experienced with industry standard software for every step of a project. Eventually, architects can be become principals on large projects and build a name for themselves in the industry.