What is an Architect?
This may seem like a really simple question with a simple answer, but after reading and getting involved with a conversation over on @architectmark‘s blog at www.markstephensarchitects.com, I discovered that whilst architects have a very clear understanding as to what our job is there seems to be others, particularly other professions within the construction industry who do not.
To understand what it is an architect does, the logical point to begin would be with a definition (and for parity, I have provided a few from various sources):
RAIC – The most basic definition of an architect is a professional who is qualified to design and provide advice – both aesthetic and technical – on built objects in our public and private landscapes.
Wikipedia – An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings, and is licensed to practice architecture.
Arch Careers – An architect serves in a leadership role to bring together the design and budgetary requirements set by the client, restraints of a site (where the building will be constructed), needs of the building’s users, and the limitations of materials into a unique and balanced design solution.
BLS – Architects design houses and buildings. (Even the most basic of definitions is worth reading).
These definitions provide a basic outline of the role, but the task and duties of an architect are far more in depth than these would suggest. Being an architect is to be familiar with the built environment, to understand both simple and complex urban spatial relationships, to have an ability to appreciate how aesthetics, structural make up, public safety, and legal considerations interact on site and during building use, to develop a building that is successful.
An architects primary concern is human interaction and occupancy within buildings and the areas around them
The job of an architect involves providing services that may include pre-design consultation, creation of a design and building program, measured surveying, drawing and design, contact with councils and authorities, successfully guiding a job through planning, detailing of designs, specifications and technical considerations, contractual right up and production, provision of on-site workers along with producing construction contracts as well as liaising and managing other relevant parties such as structural engineers.
To want to be an architect, the most important thing is to have a love for buildings, the second most important thing is to have good drawing and or design skills. The rest of what makes up an architects job can be taught, and will be. But without the drive and desire and natural ability, all the building regs knowledge in the world wont make you an architect, (but that would get you a good planning office job most probably).