Architect Careers

How to become an Architect

What does a Architect do?

Architects design and construct new buildings, restore and conserve old ones, and plan the layout of whole groups of buildings and the spaces around them. Architects are responsible for the building project from the earliest stages right through to completion.

Architects produce designs based on clients’ requirements, taking into account cost, safety and social factors, and any building and planning regulations. On larger jobs a team of architects work together.

Once the design is agreed, a further set of detailed working drawings are produced for the building contractor, showing precise dimensions and the materials to be used. In addition to liaising closely with contractors, engineers, surveyors, lawyers and planning departments, the architect will regularly inspect the construction work to assess progress.

What's the working environment like working as a Architect?

Most architects work 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, but deadlines and work load can sometimes mean working unsocial hours. Some architects may be on-call 24 hours a day, and travelling to sites and meetings can involve spending time away from home.

The work is mostly office-based although some time will be spent visiting clients, planning departments, builders and sites. This means being outside in all weathers, walking, climbing ladders and scaffolding, and wearing safety equipment such as hard hats and boots.

What does it take to become a Architect?

To be an architect you should:

  • have an interest in buildings and their uses
  • have practical and scientific skills
  • have a methodical, logical and analytical approach
  • have design and computer/CAD skills
  • have strong mathematical ability to work out costings
  • have good business awareness with communication and negotiating skills
  • be able to manage and lead teams of people
  • be able to accept pressure and criticism of your work
  • be aware of the social and environmental factors of your work.

Architect Career Opportunities

Most architects work in private practice. Opportunities also exist in the public sector, or in-house for a wide range of commercial and industrial organisations involved in areas such as retail, leisure and tourism, and banking.

Job-sharing and part-time employment is common, as is contract and freelance work. Many architects set up their own practices.

There is no set promotional structure within private sector architecture and individuals will progress depending on their skill, competence and experience. In public sector work it is possible to progress to chief architect level.

There are opportunities to work abroad as many private practices have contracts or offices overseas.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Architect that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Architects Registration Board
8 Weymouth Street
Tel: 020 7580 5861

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
66 Portland Place
Tel: 020 7580 5533

Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)
15 Rutland Square
Tel: 0131 229 7545

Conference on Training in Architectural Conservation (COTAC)

Facts and Stats:

  • The Eiffel Tower can be laid down inside the Millennium Dome with 60 metres to spare and 13 Royal Albert Halls can also fit inside
  • New York City has the most skyscrapers of any city in the world with 140. Chicago is a distant second at 68. The term Âżskyscraper technically describes all habitable buildings with a height of more than 500 feet (152 metres)
  • The largest pyramid in the world is not in Egypt but in Cholulu de Rivadahia, Mexico. It is 177 feet tall and covers 25 acres. It was built sometime between 6 and 12 AD