The need for shelter is one of the most fundamental requirements of existence. From before the time of the first pyramids and pagodas, architecture has played an integral part in the minds, spirits and lives of human civilization. Many societies have been remembered and understood solely on the basis of the structures they have left behind; for the dwellings that men make are the most enduring markers and reflections of their creators. Even today buildings reflect the character of their designers as well as that of their occupants. Whether it is a humble residential dwelling or a grand public edifice, few things affect the quality of our daily lives as deeply as the work of the architect.
Related Career Fields
- Interior Design
- Landscape Architecture
- Civil Engineering
- Building Construction
- Urban and Industrial Planning
An architect must have the eye of an artist and the pragmatism of an engineer. He must be able to synthesis the often vague needs and desires of his clients into solid, functional, three-dimensional structures. To do this he must create and demonstrate his ideas, through both renderings, models and construction plans. But it is not just the aesthetics he must consider. He must also make his designs practical and economical to build and safe to be in, within the constraints of construction techniques. The end product must be in compliance with all zoning and building codes and regulations. The architect must literally take into account the movements of celestial bodies and the prevailing winds when he plans a structure. Everything in the environment will have an influence on how he designs his structures and, conversely, everything about his structure, from the methods of construction to the materials used, will have an effect on the environment that surrounds it.
The work of an architect is very diverse. He must be knowledgeable in history, art, design, engineering and physics. He must be able to manage and coordinate different groups of people towards a common goal. The majority of their time is spent in an office environment, but they may have to make frequent trips to construction sites, clients' locations and the outlet sources for the materials the intend to use. Computers and the Internet are increasingly important tools and labor savers in the architecture profession. The work of designing and drafting architectural drawings can reduced through the use of computer graphic programs and the necessary communication and coordination can be facilitated by the Internet's speed and connectivity.
The are different degree choices depending on the area of concentration the prospective student is interested in. An undergraduate, Bachelor of Architecture degree may take five years to earn, requiring a thesis and internship. By contrast a person interested in an interior design career, may choose between a full Bachelors degree or a certification program, some taking as little as one year. Most areas of study also offer graduate degrees. An architecture degree candidate may be expected to take courses in art, design, history, math and the physical sciences as well as courses focusing on building construction and engineering.
All states require individuals to be licensed before they can call themselves architects. In addition to a degree in architecture , an internship is required for the candidate, typically lasting for a period of three years. In order to be licensed the candidate must also pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Since these licenses are bestowed by each state individually, the licensee is only allowed to conduct business as an architect in the state he is licensed in.J
In our society of increased complexity, regulation and diversification, the need for architects and builders shows no sign of abating. The pressures of population growth, economics and environmental concern only add to the architectural designer's traditional challenges of aesthetics, functionality and safety. In meeting these challenges, architects will enjoy the opportunity, like few others do, to shape and define the world we live in, and to create enduring legacies of their vision for future generations.