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Architecture is one of the most sought-after and perhaps admired professions. Architects are responsible for planning, designing, and overseeing the construction of structures.
But not all architects have similar duties and responsibilities. In fact, an architect’s job description changes with time.
A junior architect performs less demanding tasks as compared to accomplished architects. This is especially the case in large firms where there are several practicing architects.
So, what do architects do? Or what does architectural engineering entail? To answer these questions, we’ve gathered some facts about architects and their duties.
You’ll learn what it takes to become an architect. As well as the stages one should go through to become a decorated professional. We’ll also see a typical day in the life of an architect and how work-life balance plays out.
Becoming an Architect
There are several pathways to becoming an architect. First, one must complete a degree course focused on architecture.
Often, this is a five-year bachelor’s program or an associated two-year Master of Architecture program.
A 3 to 4 years Master of Architecture program is necessary for those who took an unassociated undergraduate program. Once meeting all the above requirements, graduate architects can prepare for accreditation.
Preparation involves working as a junior associate, researcher, or draftsman for at least three years.
After three years, one must pass all the sections of ARE (Architecture Registration Exam). ARE is a rigorous accreditation test that tests several aspects of becoming an architect.
Most employers are currently keen on applicants with computer-assisted design (CAD) skills. So, besides passing the ARE, those with a mastery of CAD have better chances of landing jobs.
Duties and Responsibilities
Architects’ skills and qualities advance as they spend more years in active professions. What architects do in their junior years is different from what they will do ten years later.
Duties and responsibilities change with time. For instance, junior architects research building codes, zoning, and legal filings.
They also draft plans from senior partners’ designs. And perhaps build models under the watch of experienced architects.
On the other hand, the more accomplished architects don’t spend much time designing.
Instead, they attend meetings, consult with senior partners, oversee projects and connect with clients. The transition from a junior to an accomplished architect can take anywhere from 7 to 10 years.
Junior architects wanting to rise the ranks faster could quickly become frustrated. Adding these to challenges such as design limitations and strict budgets could see more architects leave the profession.
But that’s not to say architecture isn’t a fulfilling career. Those who are patient enough to learn and grow end up running successful firms.
Another common responsibility among junior and mid-level architects is the revision of designs.
Most plans go through different individuals – senior architect, contractor, and client. At each of the stages, there will be some inevitable corrections. That means reevaluation and revision of the plans is an everyday thing.
Rising Through the Ranks
Junior architects working under senior and accredited architects gain expertise with time. They become more competent in handling more challenging projects.
Throughout this transition, they earn their place in the professional hierarchy. With this advancement comes more responsibilities and long working hours. And so do the architect’s salary and status.
The majority of famous architects became popular at the peak of their careers. Here, it’s apparent that skills, age, and experience play a critical role in success.
That said, some of the most successful architects are good communicators. Such professionals have better chances of negotiating and winning deals.
They can articulate their vision and get their designs approved a lot faster. Proper communications also help in networking and hence higher chances of winning clients.
Architect’s Typical Workday
By now, you know the different duties and responsibilities in an architecture firm. You also know the process of becoming an architect and rising through the ranks.
What’s left is how a typical workday looks like in the architectural world. Before we break this down, it’s worth noting that junior and senior architects have different roles.
And as we had highlighted earlier, what they do in the office or the field varies.
So, what do architects do on a daily basis? Well, they attend to their respective duties, be it design, meetings, consultations, etc.
An average architect works for 8 to 12 hours a day. Those that prioritize work-life integration have better control of their day.
For instance, taking regular breaks at work, or doing yoga, exercising, and connecting with friends & family outside of work.
The more responsibilities an architect has, the more they need active hours of working. This usually intensifies during the transition from a mid-level to a C-suite position.
The best architects own their typical workday. They strive to stay organized. And they stick to a schedule that maximizes the best of their personal and professional lives.