Who decides how buildings should look? How they should be planned? How they should be maintained? A building is a responsive creation, and it needs certain systems – entry, exit, electricity, water, air conditioning, security, refreshments, restrooms – and a whole lot of other things depending on specific functions.
A library may need well-planned aisles, while a supermarket may need a completely different style of planning.
Modern concerns of safety, fire hazards, and environmental self-sustainability are slowly becoming more and more important to the needs buildings need to fill.
Architects are responsible for all of this and more. Any time anything from a single room to an entire building complex, a small roadside tea house to a magnificent five-star hotel has to be designed, an architect’s expertise comes into play.
Being an architect is an excellent profession for someone with good mathematical and visualization skills, a good sense of aesthetics, a lot of creativity, the ability to coordinate with different kinds of workers, as well as the drive to bring ideas into existence.
Eligibility Criteria to Become an Architect
+2: No restrictions. Students from either stream (Science, Commerce, Arts) are eligible.
Bachelor’s Degree: To be an architect, one must usually complete the five year Bachelor of Architecture course. There are, however, intersections between the skill sets of construction or civil engineers.
Master’s Degree: Following this, a Master’s in Architecture is often pursued, which may take between one and five years depending on previous education and experience in Architecture and various other factors.
The typical architecture degree includes courses in the history and theories of architecture, the design of structures and buildings, the use of computers in drafting and design (computer aided design or CAD), solid mechanics, construction methods, mathematics, physical science as well as art appreciation and analysis.
Working as an Architect
Besides designing and supervising buildings and their construction, architects are responsible for keeping lots of paperwork running and following the regulations of the day.
Buildings may have to follow certain space constraints, budgets, stylistic elements, safety and utility features. An architect may have to follow specific guidelines while designing an exit route, or deciding where to place maintenance rooms or restrooms.
Architects may also be asked to collaborate while designing huge projects like malls and office complexes.
While architects often begin to freelance later in their careers once they have established names, they often start out at established architecture firms, much like how doctors usually start out with established hospitals.
Architects do have on-field work. They are often required to supervise the construction to make sure the end result will be as planned on paper.
They may have to make modifications to the plan or the construction itself due to real-time concerns. They may also have to work with civil engineers, electricians, carpenters and other utility services.
A Day in the Life of an Architect
Hi, I’m Neerja. I completed my B.Arch three years ago, and am working with a mid-sized architectural firm in Mumbai. I plan to use this work experience to capitalize on my Master’s in Architecture which I will begin next year. Here’s what my day is like.
7:30 AM: Wake up and whip up a quick breakfast in the kitchen of my apartment. Leave to catch the 8:00 AM bus to work.
9:00 AM: Grab a coffee and get to my table. I set up my computer and workstation, waiting for the heavy software used for CAD to initialize fully. Once my computer is booted (which takes a while!), I open my email and go through the correspondence for the day.
There is a slideshow to be designed for a presentation due next week, a report that needs to be summarized for my supervisor by tomorrow, and a review meeting today of the latest field visit to the project I’m working on. Clarifying timelines is important when projects go on for different but parallel lengths of time.
10:00 AM: I develop the CAD model of the structure that had been assigned to me by my supervisor. This was intended to check the integrity of an archway that is being constructed.
Our current project is a residential complex, and the arch may have to be scrapped if it continues to sag as it appears to be doing.
My job is to study whether or not a support structure added behind it will solve the problem.
12:00 PM: It appears that I have hit on the solution. I have designed the structure to do the job. The solution will be run by my supervisor, as well as by the aesthetic experts at our firm, to see if it can be improved. I email the document to the concerned parties and leave for lunch.
1:00 PM: I’m back. It’s now time to go through the report that requires a summary. That will take a while, but it’s best not to let such things pile up. Working as an architect requires frequent reference to history to find the right balance between aesthetics and practicality.
2:00 PM: As planned, a few representatives of our team head out to a meeting with the building contractor. As a stakeholder in the success of his real-estate venture, he is concerned about the recent problems with the archway.
It’s our job to explain to him the results of the recent field review with photographs of the construction site.
4:00 PM: Having managed to convince the contractor that the project was underway without issue, we return to the office. It’s time to finish the odd jobs of the day.
Drafting a reply to an important letter, following up on a few permission slips still due from various governmental utility bodies (like the NOCs for forest land usage).
6:00 PM: It’s time to leave. The evenings are usually free. I spend time with friends in the city, or in my apartment relaxing, exercising, or sometimes, planning funds and educational plans for the future.
Do you fascinate about how buildings around us should look? Do you think you are creative enough to be called as an architect? We hope this article has added something to your search for architect career. Have your say in the comment box below. Enjoy Reading!