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Architecture

Footings distribute the heavy load of the building, concentrated on the columns, to the wide surface area of soil to achieve structural stability.

DUTIES

Architects are responsible for designing houses, factories, office buildings, and other large structures. Architects can be commissioned to design anything from a single room to an entire complex of buildings or public housing project. In some cases, architects may provide various predesign services, such as feasibility and environmental impact studies, site selection, cost analyses, and design requirements.

The architects' plans show the building's appearance and details of its construction. These plans include drawings of the structural system, air-conditioning, heating, and ventilating systems, electrical systems and plumbing. In developing designs, architects must follow state and local building codes, zoning laws, fire regulations, and easy access to buildings for people who are disabled.

Architects use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM) for creating designs and construction drawings. However, hand-drawing skills are still required, especially during the conceptual stages of a project and when an architect is at a construction site. As construction continues, architects may visit building sites to ensure that contractors follow the design, adhere to schedule, use specified materials, and meet quality standards.

  • Meet with clients to determine objectives and requirements for structures.
  • Give preliminary estimates on cost and construction time.
  • Prepare structure specifications.
  • Prepare scaled drawings, either with computer software or by hand.
  • Prepare contract documents for building contractors.
  • Manage construction contracts.
  • Visit worksites to ensure that construction adheres to architectural plans.

EDUCATION

There are typically three main steps to becoming a licensed architect: completing a bachelor's degree in architecture, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Examination. In all states, earning a bachelor's degree in architecture is typically the first step to becoming an architect. Most architects earn their degree through a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program. Many earn a master's degree in architecture, which can take 1 to 5 additional years.

A typical bachelor's degree program includes courses in architectural history and theory, building design with an emphasis on computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), structures, construction methods, professional practices, and math. The design studio is a central component of most architectural programs, where students apply the skills and concepts learned in the classroom to create drawings and three-dimensional models of their work. Currently, 35 states require that architects hold a degree in architecture from one of the 122 schools of architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). State licensing requirements can be found at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

All state architectural registration boards require architecture graduates to complete a 3-year long paid internship before they may sit for the Architect Registration Examination. Most new graduates complete their training period by working at architectural firms through the NCARB that guides students through the internship process. Some states allow a portion of the training to occur in the offices of employers in related careers, such as engineers and general contractors. Architecture students who complete internships while still in school can count some of that time toward the 3-year training period.

CERTIFICATION

Certifications are a great way to demonstrate to prospective employers that you have the experience and technical skills necessary to do the job and give you a competitive edge in the hiring process. Certification holders also frequently earn more than their uncertified counterparts, making certifications a valuable career-building tool.

The Open Group Open Certified Architect certification is an independent global certification for qualifying the skills, knowledge, and experience of Solution, Business, Enterprise and Digital Architects. The program requires applicants to demonstrate skills and experience against a set of conformance requirements through written applications and peer interviews.

The AWS Certified Solution Architect exam covers building an architectural design solution based off customer or client requirements, delivering best practices for implementation and overseeing the long-term management of an EA project. You’ll need hands-on experience with all computer, networking, storage and database AWS services to pass the exam.

SPECIALIZATION

A recent shift in architectural thought has prompted architecture schools to focus building design more on the environment. Sustainability in architecture was pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, and by green architects such as Ian McHarg and Sim Van der Ryn. Concepts include passive solar building design, greener roof designs, biodegradable materials, and more attention to a structure's energy usage.

As the complexity of buildings has increased, the field of architecture has become multi-disciplinary, with specializations for each project type. In addition, there has been an increased differentiation of the design architect from the project architect who ensures that a given construction project meets required standards. The preparatory processes in the design of any large building have become quite complicated, and may require preliminary studies of such matters as durability, sustainability, and compliance with local building codes.

QUALITIES FOR SUCCESS

Ask yourself if you can see yourself being an architect, working with technical concepts and complex equipment, which can be challenging. While design classes and internships will prepare you well, certain innate qualities that you bring to bear will help you succeed.


Architectural Design
Designers must be able to envision how the parts of a structure will relate to each other. They also must be able to visualize how the overall building will look once completed.
Architects must understand the content of designs and the context in which they were created. For example, architects must understand the locations of mechanical systems and how those systems affect building operations.
Architectual design teams often manage contracts independently. Therefore, they must keep records related to the details of a project, including total cost, materials used, and progress.
Architects share their ideas, both in oral presentations and in writing, with clients, other architects, and workers who help prepare drawings. Many also give presentations to explain their ideas and designs.
With the rapid development of digital tools, architects need to use CADD technology to create plans as part of building information modeling (BIM).

New York Public Library


Noted historians serve as your personal audio guide through a virtual walking tour of the New York Public Library. Find out about hidden details of the famed NYC building, the Rose Main Reading Room, the iconic lion statues Patience and Fortitude, and the Stephen A. Schwarzman building.

Bel Air Estate


Situated across 10.4 acres of land in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, the property features a massive 18th century-style French chateau, an architecturally significant 5-bedroom Wallace Neff guest house, canyon trails, gardens, and a network of underground tunnels.

Burj Khalifa | Mega-structure


This building—the Burj Khalifa, which stands strong on loose, sandy soil braving the strong Arabian winds, is truly a modern engineering marvel. In this video, we explore the design secrets of the world’s tallest building, starting from its simple hexagonal core.

Wayne Manor | Architectural Digest


From the more humble depictions in comics and on television to the cosmopolitan high rise seen in 2022's 'The Batman,' see how Wayne Manor has evolved from the 1930's to the present.

JOB OUTLOOK

Architects are needed to make plans and designs for the construction and renovation of homes, offices, retail stores, and other structures. Many school districts and universities will build new facilities or renovate existing ones. In addition, demand is expected for more healthcare facilities as the US population ages and as more people use healthcare services.

Interns in architectural firms may help design part of a project. They may help prepare architectural documents and drawings, build models, and prepare construction drawings on CADD. Interns may also research building codes and write specifications for building materials, installation criteria, the quality of finishes, and other related details. Licensed architects take the documents that interns produce, make edits to them, finalize plans, and then sign and seal the documents.

Architecture Organizations

Whether you’re an independent architect, or working within a large organization, there’s an industry trade group ready to offer training, networking opportunities and other specialized resources that can help you stay current in your field and manage your career.

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