Career in Focus: Architect

Career in Focus: Architect

As well as being armed in the science of designing and constructing buildings, architects must know or research building codes, planning bye-laws and zoning regulations, draft plans from others’ designs, and build models of their prospective creations to match and collaborate with those of other architects.  Experienced architects design structures, decide materials and methods of construction, and are often involved in scheduling on big building project sites. A successful architect obviously needs practical, interpersonal, and organizational skills to take this central role and responsibility!


Architects can also specialize in a particular type of construction, such as residential, commercial, industrial or institutional. Other duties that an architect may take up include consulting with clients to determine type, style and purpose of renovations or new constructions. The architect has to conceptualise and design buildings and develop plans according to design specifications, building materials, costs and construction schedules. They have to prepare sketches and models for clients and also put together and supervise blueprints used by contractors and trades-people.

Architects plan and design all types of building projects. Buildings must be safe, economical, attractive, and suitable for the people who use them and a decent architect will take all of this is achieved. During construction, the architect may be required to supervise work on construction sites. Architects are ultimately responsible for the whole conception, design and ultimate building of a project.  They’re the people who hire and supervise contractors. They’re even required to have financial knowledge, and be able to complete feasibility studies and financial analyses of building projects.

The Plans of an Architect

Any prospective architect will need to achieve a reputable qualification to be accepted in the Industry. They must complete an architecture degree and acquire experience with a registered architect ( i.e. a member of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland). They must then register with their provincial association and pass its examinations. Landscape architects require some design experience and registration or certification with their association.

If they’re not self-employed or working in practice, architects might work in government, or with architectural, engineering and landscaping firms.  They may also be hired by public and private sector surveying outfits or by land developers.

A Lucrative Career

There has never been a better time for architects to stick up their drawing boards and practice in Ireland. The expansion in the amount of disposable income in Ireland over the last few years means that there are now more construction projects being commissioned that ever before.   Architects have had to adapt to computer-aided design (CAD) technology, a further test of skill but an essential one as architects are likely to make increasing use of computerized design and engineering systems.

An architect may be required to design a wide variety of buildings. These can include offices, apartments, schools, churches, factories, hospitals, houses, or one of those flash and futuristic airport terminals that are popping up in modern cities! They can also design complexes such as shopping centres, college and business campuses, industrial parks, and entire housing schemes. They may do long-term planning for land development or specialize in one phase of work such as construction management. Indeed, architects work with engineers, urban planners and interior designers to create our surroundings and land us with pleasure or disgust at the buildings we see and use in our everyday lives.

By Mark Godfrey

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