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An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that have human occupancy or use as their principal purpose. Etymologically, the term ''architect'' derives from the Latin ''architectus'', which derives from the Greek (''arkhi-'', chief + ''tekton'', builder), i.e., chief builder. The
professional requirements for architects Professional requirements for architects vary from place to place, but usually consist of three elements: a university degree or advanced education, a period of internship or training in an office, and examination for registration with a jurisdictio ...
vary from place to place. An architect's decisions affect public safety, and thus the architect must undergo specialized training consisting of advanced education and a ''practicum'' (or internship) for practical experience to earn a
license A license (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American English ...
to practice
architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Architecture (Latin ''archi ...

architecture
. Practical, technical, and academic requirements for becoming an architect vary by jurisdiction, though the formal study of architecture in
academic institutions Academic institution is an educational institution An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education, including preschools, childcare, primary-elementary schools, secondary-high schools, and universities. They p ...
has played a pivotal role in the development of the profession as a whole.


Origins

Throughout ancient and medieval history, most of the architectural design and construction was carried out by
artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand. These objects may be functional or strictly decorative, for example fur ...

artisan
s—such as stone
mason Mason may refer to: Occupations * Mason, brick mason, or bricklayer, a craftsman who lays bricks to construct brickwork, or who lays any combination of stones, bricks, cinder blocks, or similar pieces * Stone mason, a craftsman in the stone-cutti ...

mason
s and
carpenter Carpenters in an Indian village Carpentry is a skilled trade A tradesman, skilled tradesman, or tradie refers to a skilled worker who specializes in a particular occupation that requires work experience, on-the-job training, and often fo ...

carpenter
s, rising to the role of master builder. Until modern times, there was no clear distinction between architect and
engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of enginee ...
. In Europe, the titles ''architect'' and ''engineer'' were primarily geographical variations that referred to the same person, often used interchangeably. It is suggested that various developments in technology and mathematics allowed the development of the professional 'gentleman' architect, separate from the hands-on craftsman. Paper was not used in Europe for drawing until the 15th century but became increasingly available after 1500. Pencils were used more often for drawing by 1600. The availability of both allowed pre-construction drawings to be made by professionals. Concurrently, the introduction of linear perspective and innovations such as the use of different projections to describe a three-dimensional building in two dimensions, together with an increased understanding of dimensional accuracy, helped building designers communicate their ideas. However, the development was gradual. Until the 18th-century, buildings continued to be designed and set out by craftsmen with the exception of high-status projects.


Architecture

In most developed countries, only those qualified with an appropriate license, certification, or registration with a relevant body (often governmental) may legally practice architecture. Such licensure usually requires a university degree, successful completion of exams, as well as a training period. Representation of oneself as an architect through the use of terms and titles is restricted to licensed individuals by law, although in general, derivatives such as
architectural designer The term architectural designer may refer to a building designer who is not a registered architect, architectural technologist or any other person that is involved in the design process of buildings or Urban design, urban landscapes. Uct, archite ...
are often not legally protected. To practice architecture implies the ability to practice independently of supervision. The term ''
building design Building design refers to the broadly based architectural upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel ...
professional'' (or ''design professional)'', by contrast, is a much broader term that includes professionals who practice independently under an alternate profession, such as
engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more speciali ...

engineering
professionals, or those who assist in the practice of architecture under the supervision of a licensed architect such as
intern architectAn intern architect or architectural intern is a person who is working professionally in the field of architecture File:Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted).jpg, upright=1. ...
s. In many places, independent, non-licensed individuals may perform design services outside the professional restrictions, such design houses and other smaller structures.


Practice

In the architectural profession, technical and environmental knowledge, design and construction management, and an understanding of business are as important as design. However, the design is the driving force throughout the project and beyond. An architect accepts a commission from a client. The commission might involve preparing feasibility reports, building audits, the design of a building or of several buildings, structures, and the spaces among them. The architect participates in developing the requirements the client wants in the building. Throughout the project (planning to occupancy), the architect coordinates a design team.
Structural A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A sy ...
,
mechanical Mechanical may refer to: Machine * Mechanical system A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine A molecular machine, nan ...
, and
electrical engineer Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. It emerged as an identifiable occupation in the l ...

electrical engineer
s and other specialists are hired by the client or the architect, who must ensure that the work is coordinated to construct the design.


Design role

The architect, once hired by a client, is responsible for creating a design concept that both meets the requirements of that client and provides a facility suitable to the required use. The architect must meet with, and question, the client in order to ascertain all the requirements (and nuances) of the planned project. Often the full brief is not entirely clear at the beginning: entailing a degree of risk in the design undertaking. The architect may make early proposals to the client, which may rework the very terms of the brief. The "program" (or brief) is essential to producing a project that meets all the needs of the owner. This then is a guide for the architect in creating the design concept. Design proposal(s) are generally expected to be both imaginative and pragmatic. Depending on the place, time, finance, culture, and available crafts and technology in which the design takes place, the precise extent and nature of these expectations will vary. Foresight is a prerequisite as designing buildings is a very complex and demanding undertaking. Any design concept must at a very early stage in its generation take into account a great number of issues and variables which include qualities of space(s), the end-use and life-cycle of these proposed spaces, connections, relations, and aspects between spaces including how they are put together as well as the impact of proposals on the immediate and wider locality. Selection of appropriate materials and technology must be considered, tested and reviewed at an early stage in the design to ensure there are no setbacks (such as higher-than-expected costs) which may occur later. The site and its environs, as well as the culture and history of the place, will also influence the design. The design must also countenance increasing concerns with environmental sustainability. The architect may introduce (intentionally or not), to greater or lesser degrees, aspects of
mathematics and architecture Mathematics and architecture are related, since, mathematics and art, as with other arts, architects use mathematics for several reasons. Apart from the mathematics needed when engineering buildings, architects use geometry: to define the spat ...
, new or current
architectural theory Architectural theory is the act of thinking, discussing, and writing about architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor ...
, or references to
architectural history The history of architecture traces the changes in architecture File:Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted).jpg, upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de ...
. A key part of the design is that the architect often consults with engineers, surveyors and other specialists throughout the design, ensuring that aspects such as the structural supports and air conditioning elements are coordinated in the scheme as a whole. The control and planning of construction costs are also a part of these consultations. Coordination of the different aspects involves a high degree of specialized communication, including advanced computer technology such as BIM (
Building Information Modeling Building information modeling (BIM) is a process supported by various tools, technologies and contracts involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places. Building information ...
), CAD, and cloud-based technologies. At all times in the design, the architect reports back to the client who may have reservations or recommendations, introducing a further variable into the design. Architects deal with local and federal jurisdictions about regulations and
building code A building code (also building control or building regulations) is a set of rules that specify the standards for constructed objects such as buildings and nonbuilding structures. Buildings must conform to the code to obtain planning permission, u ...
s. The architect might need to comply with local
planning Planning is the process A process is a series or set of Action (philosophy), activities that interact to produce a result; it may occur once-only or be recurrent or periodic. Things called a process include: Business and management *Business pro ...
and
zoning Zoning is a method of urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use and the bu ...
laws, such as required setbacks, height limitations, parking requirements, transparency requirements (windows), and
land use Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment The natural environment or natural world encompasses all life, living and non-living things occurring nature, naturally, meaning in this case not Artificiality, artifi ...
. Some established jurisdictions require adherence to design and historic preservation guidelines. Health and safety risks form a vital part of the current design, and in many jurisdictions, design reports and records are required which include ongoing considerations such as materials and contaminants, waste management and recycling, traffic control and fire safety.


Means of design

Previously, architects employed drawings to illustrate and generate design proposals. While conceptual sketches are still widely used by architects, computer technology has now become the industry standard. However, design may include the use of photos, collages, prints, linocuts,
3D scanning 3D scanning is the process of analyzing a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape and possibly its appearance (e.g. colour). The collected data can then be used to construct digital 3D models. A 3D scanner can be based on m ...
technology and other media in design production. Increasingly, computer software such as
BIM ''Bim'' is a 1974 Trinidad and Tobago film written by Raoul Pantin and directed by Hugh A. Robertson. It was described by Bruce Paddington as "one of the most important films to be produced in Trinidad and Tobago and ... one of the classics of C ...
is shaping how architects work. BIM technology allows for the creation of a virtual building that serves as an information database for the sharing of design and building information throughout the life-cycle of the building's design, construction and maintenance.


Environmental role

As current buildings are now known to be high emitters of carbon into the atmosphere, increasing controls are being placed on buildings and associated technology to reduce emissions, increase energy efficiency, and make use of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources may be developed within the proposed building or via local or national renewable energy providers. As a result, the architect is required to remain abreast of current regulations that are continually tightening. Some new developments exhibit extremely low energy use. However, the architect is also increasingly required to provide initiatives in a wider environmental sense, such as making provision for low-energy transport, natural daylighting instead of artificial lighting, natural ventilation instead of air conditioning, pollution, and waste management, use of recycled materials and employment of materials which can be easily recycled in the future.


Construction role

As the design becomes more advanced and detailed, specifications and detail designs are made of all the elements and components of the building. Techniques in the production of a building are continually advancing which places a demand on the architect to ensure that he or she remains up to date with these advances. Depending on the client's needs and the jurisdiction's requirements, the spectrum of the architect's services during construction stages may be extensive (detailed document preparation and construction review) or less involved (such as allowing a contractor to exercise considerable design-build functions). Architects typically put projects to tender on behalf of their clients, advise on the award of the project to a
general contractor A general contractor, main contractor or prime contractor is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"C ...
, facilitate and then administer a contract of agreement which is often between the client and the contractor. This contract is legally binding and covers a very wide range of aspects including the insurances and commitments of all stakeholders, the status of the design documents, provisions for the architect's access, and procedures for the control of the works as they proceed. Depending on the type of contract utilized, provisions for further sub-contract tenders may be required. The architect may require that some elements are covered by a warranty which specifies the expected life and other aspects of the material, product or work. In most jurisdictions, prior notification to the relevant local authority must be given before commencement on site, thus giving the local authority notice to carry out independent inspections. The architect will then review and inspect the progress of the work in coordination with the local authority. The architect will typically review contractor shop drawings and other submittals, prepare and issue site instructions, and provide Certificates for Payment to the contractor (see also Design-bid-build) which is based on the work done to date as well as any materials and other goods purchased or hired. In the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
and other countries, a
quantity surveyor A Quantity Surveyor (QS) is a construction industry professional with expert knowledge on construction costs and contracts. Qualified professional quantity surveyors are known as Chartered Surveyors (Members and Fellows of The Royal Institution o ...
is often part of the team to provide cost consulting. With very large, complex projects, an independent
construction manager Construction management (CM) is a professional service that uses specialized, project management Project management is the process of leading the work of a team to achieve goals and meet success criteria at a specified time. The primary challenge ...
is sometimes hired to assist in the design and to manage construction. In many jurisdictions, mandatory certification or assurance of the completed work or part of works is required. This demand for certification entails a high degree of risk - therefore, regular inspections of the work as it progresses on site is required to ensure that is in compliance with the design itself as well as with all relevant statutes and permissions.


Alternate practice and specializations

Recent decades have seen the rise of specializations within the profession. Many architects and architectural firms focus on certain project types (for example, healthcare, retail, public housing, event management), technological expertise or project delivery methods. Some architects specialize as building code,
building envelope A building envelope is the physical separator between the conditioned and unconditioned environment of a building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or fac ...
,
sustainable design Environmentally sustainable design (also called environmentally conscious design, eco design, etc.) is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of ecology, ecological sustaina ...
,
technical writing Technical writing is writing or drafting technical communication Technical communication is used to convey scientific, engineering, or other technical information. Individuals in a variety of contexts and with varied professional credentials engage ...
, historic preservation(US) or conservation (UK),
accessibility Accessibility in the sense considered here refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments so as to be usable by people with disabilities A disability is any condition that makes it more difficult for a person to d ...

accessibility
and other forms of specialist consultants. Many architects elect to move into real estate (property) development, corporate facilities planning,
project management Project management is the process of leading the work of a team A team is a group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal A goal is an idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (f ...
, construction management,
interior design Interior design is the and of enhancing the interior of a to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the people using the space. An interior designer is someone who plans, researches, coordinates, and manages s ...

interior design
, city planning, or other related fields.


Professional requirements

Although there are variations from place to place, most of the world's architects are required to register with the appropriate jurisdiction. To do so, architects are typically required to meet three common requirements: education, experience, and examination. Educational requirements generally consist of a
university degree A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in various Discipline (academia), academic d ...
in architecture. The experience requirement for degree candidates is usually satisfied by a practicum or internship (usually two to three years, depending on jurisdiction). Finally, a Registration Examination or a series of exams is required prior to licensure. Professionals engaged in the design and supervision of construction projects prior to the late 19th century were not necessarily trained in a separate architecture program in an academic setting. Instead, they often trained under established architects. Prior to modern times, there was no distinction between architects,
engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of enginee ...

engineer
s and often
artist An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipeda ...

artist
s, and the title used varied depending on geographical location. They often carried the title of
master builder A master builder or master mason is a central figure leading construction projects in pre-modern times (a precursor to the modern architect and engineer). Historically, the term has generally referred to "the head of a construction project in the ...
or
surveyor Surveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, art, and science of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional positions of points and the distances and angles between them. A land surveying professional is called a land surveyo ...

surveyor
after serving a number of years as an apprentice (such as Sir
Christopher Wren Sir Christopher Wren PRS FRS FRS may also refer to: Government and politics * Facility Registry System, a centrally managed Environmental Protection Agency database that identifies places of environmental interest in the United States * Fa ...

Christopher Wren
). The formal study of architecture in academic institutions played a pivotal role in the development of the profession as a whole, serving as a focal point for advances in architectural technology and theory.


Fees

Architects' fee structures are typically based on a percentage of construction value, as a rate per unit area of the proposed construction, hourly rates or a fixed lump sum fee. Combinations of these structures are also common. Fixed fees are usually based on a project's allocated construction cost and can range between 4 and 12% of new construction cost, for commercial and institutional projects, depending on a project's size and complexity. Residential projects range from 12 to 20%. Renovation projects typically command higher percentages, as high as 15-20%. Overall billings for
architectural firm In the United States, an architectural firm or architecture firm is a company that employs one or more licensed architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to ...
s range widely, depending on location and economic climate. Billings have traditionally been dependent on the local economic conditions but, with rapid globalization, this is becoming less of a factor for larger international firms. Salaries also vary, depending on experience, position within the firm (staff architect, partner, or shareholder, etc.), and the size and location of the firm.


Professional organizations

A number of national professional organizations exist to promote career and business development in architecture. * The
International Union of Architects The International Union of Architects ( French: ''Union internationale des Architectes'', UIA) is the only international non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Inst ...
(UIA) * The
American Institute of Architects The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is a professional organization for architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection ...
(AIA) USA *
Royal Institute of British Architects The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a professional body Regulatory colleges are legal entities in Canada charged with serving the public interest by regulating the practice of a profession. Most regulatory colleges are establ ...
(RIBA) UK * Architects Registration Board (ARB) UK * The
Australian Institute of Architects (United we advance architecture) , predecessor = , merged = , successor = , formation = , extinction = , status = Professional bodyRegulatory colleges are legal entities charged with serving the public interest by regulating the practic ...
(AIA) Australia * The
South African Institute of Architects South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Germa ...
(SAIA) South Africa * Association of Consultant Architects (ACA) UK * Association of Licensed Architects (ALA) USA * The Consejo Profesional de Arquitectura y Urbanismo (CPAU) Argentina


Prizes, awards

A wide variety of
prizes A prize is an award An award, sometimes called a distinction, is something given to a recipient as a token of recognition of excellence in a certain field. When the token is a medal, ribbon or other item designed for wearing, it is known as ...
is awarded by national professional associations and other bodies, recognizing accomplished architects, their buildings, structures, and professional careers. The most lucrative award an architect can receive is the
Pritzker Prize The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually "to honor a living architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with th ...
, sometimes termed the "
Nobel Prize The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelprisen ) are five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, busines ...
for architecture." Other prestigious architectural awards are the
Royal Gold Medal The Royal Gold Medal for architecture is awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects on behalf of the British monarch, in recognition of an individual's or group's substantial contribution to international architecture. It is give ...
, the
AIA Gold Medal The AIA Gold Medal is awarded by the American Institute of Architects conferred "by the national AIA Board of Directors in recognition of a significant body of work of lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture." It is the Insti ...
(USA), AIA Gold Medal (Australia), and the
Praemium Imperiale file:Takamatsunomiya nobuhito.jpg, Prince Takamatsu The Praemium Imperiale ( ja, 高松宮殿下記念世界文化賞, Takamatsu-no-miya Denka Kinen Sekai Bunka-shō, World Culture Prize in Memory of His Imperial Highness Prince Takamatsu) is an ...
. Architects in the UK, who have made contributions to the profession through design excellence or architectural education, or have in some other way advanced the profession, might until 1971 be elected Fellows of the
Royal Institute of British Architects The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a professional body Regulatory colleges are legal entities in Canada charged with serving the public interest by regulating the practice of a profession. Most regulatory colleges are establ ...
and can write
FRIBA The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a professional body for architects primarily in the United Kingdom, but also internationally, founded for the advancement of architecture under its royal charter granted in 1837, three suppl ...
after their name if they feel so inclined. Those elected to chartered membership of the RIBA after 1971 may use the initials RIBA but cannot use the old ARIBA and FRIBA. An Honorary Fellow may use the initials, Hon. FRIBA. and an International Fellow may use the initials Int. FRIBA. Architects in the US, who have made contributions to the profession through design excellence or architectural education, or have in some other way advanced the profession, are elected Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and can write
FAIA Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) is a postnominal Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after a person's name to indicate that the individual h ...
after their name. Architects in Canada, who have made outstanding contributions to the profession through contribution to research, scholarship, public service, or professional standing to the good of architecture in Canada, or elsewhere, may be recognized as a Fellow of the
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) is a not-for-profit, national organization that has represented architects An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture mean ...
and can write FRAIC after their name. In Hong Kong, those elected to chartered membership may use the initial HKIA, and those who have made a special contribution after nomination and election by The Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA), may be elected as fellow members of HKIA and may use FHKIA after their name. Architects in the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
and Filipino communities overseas (whether they are Filipinos or not), especially those who also profess other jobs at the same time, are addressed and introduced as ''Architect'', rather than ''Sir/Madam'' in speech or ''Mr./Mrs./Ms.'' (''G./Gng./Bb.'' in Filipino) before surnames. That word is used either in itself or before the given name or surname.


See also


References

{{Construction overview Architects Architecture occupations Professional certification in architecture