Career Focus: Work as an Architect

Beautiful, unique, striking, modern, iconic...nope, no we’re not talking about your latest selfie.

Rather these are just a few of the words that can be used to describe the sublime creations architects dream-up on a daily basis.

At the heart of architecture is the need to push the boundaries of design and create buildings that marry form and function. Like a magician drawing rabbits from a hat, architects use their creativity and technical talents to pull concepts out of the bag.

Career Focus: Work as an Architect

As part of this magic act they flawlessly optimise efficiency, space, safety and usefulness, while taking into account the need to develop people-friendly environments that are light, airy and open.

Creative architecture

To perform this role of designing buildings and wider environments, as well as playing a part in the planning and construction stages, architects combine logic with off-the-wall creativity, while also taking an interest in the needs of society and the requirements of future populations.

Be ready for anything

Their buildings often incorporate fluidity, and it’s important for this to be reflected in architects themselves, because they need to be capable of adapting to changing client needs and flexibly taking budgetary and environmental changes into account.

To be adaptable, they also need to be solid team workers who can communicate with everyone involved in the design, planning and construction phases, because they’ll find themselves collaborating with quantity surveyors, structural engineers, builders and clients.

This is why, while a passion for design principles and an ability to let their imaginations run wild are prerequisites for a role in this profession, architects also need to be team players, articulate and socially-aware. After all you’re designing buildings for people to use...

Shape people’s worlds

Architects play a massive role in literally shaping the urban landscape and impacting how cities will develop and grow years from now.

As populations increase and strain is piled on our outdated infrastructure, the need to have an idea of future changes while creating spaces where people can live and work comfortably is becoming ever more pressing.

“If you do the legwork and research and stay current with changes and developments, you can enjoy a lengthy, satisfying career built on solid foundations”

This stretches beyond just residential and office spaces – top architects will even become involved in planning new universities and schools, hospitals, transport hubs, leisure venues and commercial property, influencing every aspect of our daily lives and wellbeing.

Changing lives every day

This need to take a far-reaching and overarching standpoint filters down into architects’ everyday jobs, influencing tasks like producing construction drawings and blueprints, keeping watch over the construction process, ensuring everything’s running according to plan and picking out the most economical, sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials.

Why work as an architect?

There are many reasons why you might suit a career in architecture. Firstly, if you have an instinctive interest in the worlds of design, engineering, social science and technology – so much so that it fills up your thoughts and dreams – then it’s likely you’d do well in this sector.

If you crave a career full of variety and new challenges, this is certainly where you’ll find it. Life doesn’t stop, so neither will the need for new, increasingly efficient and optimised buildings and environments, which architecture experts are most qualified to conceptualise.

It’s also a sector which, if you do the legwork and research and stay current with changes and developments, you can enjoy a lengthy, satisfying career built on solid foundations.

Architecture degrees

To reach the Holy Grail of becoming a qualified architect you’ll need to register with the Architects Registration Board, the UK industry’s statutory regulatory body, while eventually becoming a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects can help you reach chartered status.

Career Focus: Work as an Architect

The road to becoming an architect begins with a recognised university degree in architectural technology, architectural design, architectural engineering or something similar, where you’ll learn about the basics of CAD, technical drawing and using floor plan software.

What work experience is relevant?

The nature of becoming an architect requires you to become involved in work experience, but if you want to gain an idea of what it’s like to be part of a working environment beforehand it would be worth your while undertaking a placement, internship or shorter insight scheme in a related field like graphic design, engineering or IT.

For example, you could work as a design engineer, graphic design intern or web design intern with multinationals like Nissan, General Electric and HP.

How do you become an architect?

Graduation is just the start. Following that, budding architects will need to gain exposure to working in the sector with a professional practice for a year, before engaging in two further years of study to qualify with a postgraduate or master’s degree.

Once that’s done and dusted, you’ll have to undertake another year’s experience of working in the industry before sitting a professional exam that draws on all the knowledge you’ve acquired during your studies. Passing that will allow you to kick-start your career as an architect. Phew!

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Ron Ellis

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