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An architect at work, 1893.
real estate development
|Competencies||technical knowledge, building design, planning and management skills|
|see professional requirements|
An architect is a person who plans, designs, and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design and construction of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings, that have as their principal purpose human occupancy or use. Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, which derives from the Greek (arkhi-, chief + tekton, builder), i.e., chief builder.
Professionally, an architect's decisions affect public safety, and thus an architect must undergo specialized training consisting of advanced education and a practicum (or internship) for practical experience to earn a license to practice architecture. Practical, technical, and academic requirements for becoming an architect vary by jurisdiction (see below).
The terms architect and architecture are also used in the disciplines of landscape architecture, naval architecture and often information technology (for example a network architect or software architect). In most jurisdictions, the professional and commercial uses of the terms "architect" and "landscape architect" are legally protected.
Throughout ancient and medieval history, most architectural design and construction was carried out by artisans—such as stone masons and carpenters, rising to the role of master builder. Until modern times there was no clear distinction between architect and engineer. In Europe, the titles architect and engineer were primarily geographical variations that referred to the same person, often used interchangeably.
It is suggested that various developments in technology and mathematics allowed the development of the professional 'gentleman' architect, separate from the hands-on craftsman. Paper was not used in Europe for drawing until the 1400s, but became increasingly available after 1500. Pencils were used more often for drawing by 1600. The availability of both allowed pre-construction drawings to be made by professionals. Concurrently, the introduction of linear perspective and innovations such as the use of different projections to describe a three-dimensional building in two dimensions, together with an increased understanding of dimensional accuracy, helped building designers communicate their ideas. However, the development was gradual. Until the 1700s buildings continued to be designed and set-out by craftsmen, with the exception of high status projects.
In most developed countries, only qualified people with appropriate license, certification, or registration with a relevant body, often governmental may legally practice architecture. Such licensure usually requires an accredited university degree, successful completion of exams, and a training period. The use of terms and titles, and the representation of oneself as an architect is restricted to licensed individuals by law, although in general, derivatives such as architectural designer are not legally protected.
To practice architecture implies the ability to practice independently of supervision. The term building design professional (or Design professional), by contrast, is a much broader term that includes professionals who practice independently under an alternate profession, such as engineering professionals, or those who assist in the practice architecture under the supervision of a licensed architect, such as architectural technologists and intern architects. In many places, independent, non-licensed individuals may perform design services outside the professional restrictions, such design houses and other smaller structures.
In the architectural profession, technical knowledge, management, and an understanding of business are as important as design. An architect accepts a commission from a client. The commission might involve preparing feasibility reports, building audits, the design of a building or of several buildings, structures, and the spaces among them. The architect participates in developing the requirements the client wants in the building. Throughout the project (planning to occupancy), the architect co-ordinates a design team. Structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers and other specialists, are hired by the client or the architect, who must ensure that the work is co-ordinated to construct the design.
The architect hired by a client is responsible for creating a design concept that meets the requirements of that client and provides a facility suitable to the required use. In that, the architect must meet with and question the client [extensively] to ascertain all the requirements and nuances of the planned project. This information, known as a program or brief, is essential to producing a project that meets all the needs of the owner—it is a guide for the architect in creating the design concept.
Architects deal with local and federal jurisdictions about regulations and building codes. The architect might need to comply with local planning and zoning laws, such as required setbacks, height limitations, parking requirements, transparency requirements (windows) and land use. Some established jurisdictions require adherence to design and historic preservation guidelines.
Architects typically put projects to tender on behalf of their clients, advise on the award of the project to a general contractor, and review the progress of the work during construction. They typically review contractor shop drawings and other submittals, prepare and issue site instructions, and provide construction contract administration and Certificates for Payment to the contractor (see also Design-bid-build). In many jurisdictions, mandatory certification or assurance of the work is required.
Depending on the client's needs and the jurisdiction's requirements, the spectrum of the architect's services may be extensive (detailed document preparation and construction review) or less inclusive (such as allowing a contractor to exercise considerable design-build functions). With very large, complex projects, an independent construction manager is sometimes hired to assist in design and to manage construction. In the United Kingdom and other countries, a quantity surveyor is often part of the team to provide cost consulting.
Alternate practice and specializations
Recent decades have seen the rise of specializations within the profession. Many architects and architectural firms focus on certain project types (for example, health care, retail, public housing, event management), technological expertise or project delivery methods. Some architects specialize as building code, building envelope, sustainable design, technical writing, historic preservation(US) or conservation (UK), accessibility and other forms of specialist consultants.
Although there are variations from place to place, most of the world's architects are required to register with the appropriate jurisdiction. To do so, architects are typically required to meet three common requirements: education, experience, and examination.
Educational requirements generally consist of a university degree in architecture. The experience requirement for degree candidates is usually satisfied by a practicum or internship (usually two to three years, depending on jurisdiction). Finally, a Registration Examination or a series of exams is required prior to licensure.
Professionals engaged in the design and supervision of construction projects prior to the late 19th century were not necessarily trained in a separate architecture program in an academic setting. Instead, they often trained under established architects. Prior to modern times, there was no distinction between architects, engineers and often artists, and the title used varied depending on geographical location. They often carried the title of master builder, or surveyor, after serving a number of years as an apprentice (such as Sir Christopher Wren). The formal study of architecture in academic institutions played a pivotal role in the development of the profession as a whole, serving as a focal point for advances in architectural technology and theory.
Professional title distinctions
|Senior Principal / Partner||Typically an owner or majority shareholder of the firm; may be the founder; titles may include managing director, president, chief executive officer, or managing principal/partner.|
|Mid-level Principal / Partner||Principal or partner; titles may include executive or senior vice president or director.|
|Junior Principal / Partner||Recently made a partner or principal of the firm; title may include vice president or associate director.|
|Department head / Senior Manager||Senior management architect or non-registered graduate; responsible for major department(s) or functions; reports to a principal or partner.|
|Project Manager||Licensed architect, or non-registered graduate with more than 10 years of experience; has overall project management responsibility for a variety of projects or project teams, including client contact, scheduling, and budgeting.|
|Senior Architect / Designer||Licensed architect, or non-registered graduate with more than 10 years of experience; has a design or technical focus and is responsible for significant project activities.|
|Architect / Designer III||Licensed architect or non-registered graduate with 8–10 years of experience; responsible for significant aspects of projects.|
|Architect / Designer II||Licensed architect or non-registered graduate with 6–8 years of experience, responsible for daily design or technical development of projects.|
|Architect / Designer I||Recently licensed architect or non-registered graduate with 3–5 years of experience; responsible for particular parts of a project within parameters set by others.|
|Intern Architect||Unlicensed architecture school graduate participating in a defined internship program; develops design or technical solutions under supervision of an architect. In the U.S., no state allows the use of the title architect by anyone who is not licensed to provide architectural services.|
Architects' fee structures are typically based on a percentage of construction value, as a rate per unit area of the proposed construction, hourly rates or a fixed lump sum fee. Combinations of these structures are also common. Fixed fees are usually based on a project's allocated construction cost and can range between 4 and 12% of new construction cost, for commercial and institutional projects, depending on a project's size and complexity. Residential projects range from 12 to 20%. Renovation projects typically command higher percentages, as high as 15-20%. But the average income for this occupation is about $35.14 per hour or $73,090 per year.
Overall billings for architectural firms range widely, depending on location and economic climate. Billings have traditionally been dependent on the local economic conditions but, with rapid globalization, this is becoming less of a factor for larger international firms. Salaries also vary, depending on experience, position within the firm (staff architect, partner or shareholder, etc.) and the size and location of the firm.
A number of national professional organizations exist to promote career and business development in architecture.
Prizes, awards, and titles
A wide variety of prizes are awarded by national professional associations and other bodies, recognizing accomplished architects, their buildings, structures and professional careers.
The most lucrative award an architect can receive is the Pritzker Prize, sometimes termed the "Nobel Prize for architecture." Other prestigious architectural awards are the Royal Gold Medal, the AIA Gold Medal, and the Praemium Imperiale.
Architects in the UK who have made contributions to the profession through design excellence or architectural education, or have in some other way advanced the profession, might until 1971 be elected Fellows of the Royal Institute of British Architects and can write FRIBA after their name if they feel so inclined. Those elected to chartered membership of the RIBA after 1971 may use the initials RIBA but cannot use the old ARIBA and FRIBA. An Honorary Fellow may use the initials Hon. FRIBA. and an International Fellow may use the initials Int. FRIBA. Architects in the US who have made contributions to the profession through design excellence or architectural education, or have in some other way advanced the profession, are elected Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and can write FAIA after their name. Architects in Canada who have made outstanding contributions to the profession through contribution to research, scholarship, public service or professional standing to the good of architecture in Canada, or elsewhere, may be recognized as a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and can write FRAIC after their name. In Hong Kong, those elected to chartered membership may use the initial HKIA, and those who have made special contribution, after nomination and election by The Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA), maybe elected as fellow members of HKIA and may use FHKIA after their name.
- Architectural designer
- Architectural drawing
- Architectural engineering
- Architectural technologist
- Building officials
- Chartered architect
- Construction engineering
- Civil engineer
- Construction manager
- Expression (architecture)
- Landscape architect
- List of architects
- State architect
- Structural engineering
- Urban designer
- Urban planner
- Women in architecture
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- Online Etymology of the term "architect"
- The Architecture of the Italian Renaissance Jacob Burckhardt ISBN 0-8052-1082-2
- Pacey, Arnold (2007). Medieval Architectural Drawing. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. pp. 225–227. ISBN 978-0-7524-4404-8.