So you want to be an Architect
Duties of Architects
An Architect is a professional who designs building plans. These plans are called schematic or conceptual drawings
He will further go to seek the approval from the local authorities. By doing this, he will seek to comply with the Local By-laws
or the Building Codes. He will then produce tender drawings for the building.
Production of Drawing by Architects
The tender drawings are drawing which the tenderer (contractors) are called in to bid for the project. The successful
bidder is awarded the construction of the building. The successful bidders or tenderer is called the contractor.
Architects produce the construction drawings. which may differ from the tender drawing. The construction
drawings are used by the contractor to construct the buildings.
Supervision of Construction by Architects
The Architects (architecht) supervises the construction of the building by the Contractor.He ensures the building
is built to the standard Codes of Practices in the country, In the US the AS(American Standards) are used. In the UK the
BS( British Standards) are used. In Japan , JAS(Japanese Standards) are used. These standards establish the quality
and workmanship standards the contractor is to abide in. These standards are specified by the Architect(archetec)
in the Tender document. The tender documents during the construction are called contract documents. He administers
the contract document during the construction. On completion of the construction. he issues certificates for completion of the
building. The accounts are settled called final accounts. The Final certificate and many other certificates are issued by the
Architect during the construction to the contractor.
During the construction. the Architect (architecs) instructs the Contractor to construct the building and administers
the contract.On completion. he seeks the consent of the Local authorities for issue of the Certificate of Fitness or
Certificate of Completion and compliance.The Architect (archite) is bound by the jurisdictions of the contract.
Responsibility of Construction
The Architect’s responsibility for the building is until his death. If the building collapses or fails, he will be called upon,
is answerable for the collapse or failures.He uses consultants such as a Structural engineer, civil engineer, mechanical
engineer, electrical engineer, Quantity Surveyor, landscape architect,town planner or any specialist consultants to
help him complete the design and construction of the building. Other specialist consultants may be anEcologist
for biodiversity design, an Energy consultant for Net Zero Advice, an Acoustic consultant, a Geotechnical specialist,
Environmental Engineer, Traffic engineer,Surveyor, External lighting consultant, a Facade consultant , Interior designer etc.
Origin of the word “Architect”
The word architect derives from the Latin architectus, a Greek derivative for (arkhi-, chief +tekton, builder),
which means chief builder. The builder and the designer were one and all which were some times referred to the Master
Builder or Master Architect.
Use of the word” Architect” by other professions
The terms architect are used in other disciplines such as Landscape Architects, Naval architects and in
IT network architects or software architects.The uses of the terms “architect” and “landscape architect” are
legally protected for building purposes and not for IT. However the concept of one who organizes the spaces
within the “IT world of spaces” is a derivative from Building Architect.
Challenges of Architects
When Architects says that he is practicing, he is providing the above services in a professional
capacity. He does not mean he is employed by another but rather that he is running his own company which is an
Architectural entity.Architecture or Architect has to be specially trained in many areas that he is usually more
useful only with time and not when he is out from the academic training from his university. A fresh engineer is
rather useful when he graduates, a medical doctor is able to prescribe medication to a patient when he is a fresh
graduate, but not for an Architect. He is in his prime at a late age of his career.
Recent Trends of Architecture
The above duties are rather the rudiments of an Architect but a good architect is one who provides not merely
the design of buildings, but goes one step further to encompass the needs of the building owner and creates
an ambiance which is felt. The ambiance may be a feeling of emotions of the spaces. The feelings and emotions
are created by being in the space. Sounds of running water or falling water created. The natural lighting may be
reflected within the spaces to create a spiritual feeling of reverence. Textures of materials are used to denote
character of the spaces, or cultures. Eg the Rustic Balinese architecture uses materials in it most natural forms,
which is characteristic of the Balinese architecture. In recent years the Efficient use of Energy is a call for
the global weather changes to reduce the CO2 emission in the air. The loss of many hot spots biodiversity is called
for biodiversity in designs to save the heating planet.
Origin of Architects
Much have not been recorded in history about the original use of the word.It is Greek/Roman word for a builder.
But the design concept of building evolved with time.Initially building were built and often copied relentlessly
without much consideration to the environment or locality. But in more recent year much of the repetitive nature of
doing thing have been vigorously questioned . This was in line with the changes that took place in the West. In the
East, building was expensive and the construction was built for a purpose.Passive designs were incorporated in
Forts , water was used to cool and mitigate the hot summers.The first Architects built the Pyramids, the temples
of India,the Great walls of China, ancient cities were planned in Grid lines in Mohen-Daro & Harrapa of the Indus
valley, the sunken Krishna City of India and the Incas of ancients Americas. Someone put together these buildings,
cities and structures .It would be inconceivable that it arose without some plans and designs.
An Architect creates the Architecture,. The character of Architecture of the Roman, Indians,Chinese,Japanese,
Egyptian are different but they all use block work.This was the common materials that were used to create structures
for the purposes of its times. Most building were built as monuments to the deities of worship.The Chinese had during
the Sung Dynasty, volumes written about timber constructions and specifications.The Indus civilization came to an
abrupt end with remains tells the story of a great civilization that perished.
The Roman world of Architecture derived from the Sumerian Architecture,which evolved from the Babylonian
architectures. The Babylonian Architecture influenced the Persian Architectures which influenced the Greek Architectures .
The Greeks civilization influenced the Roman Architectures and Roman cultures.The Roman Architecture was called
the Classical Period.Roman architectural principles are adopted even in today’s world of Architecture. Read about the
Famous Architects Alive.
1)The Roman Classical Period
The first Architect of the Roman emperor was Vitruvius– he contribution was the design principles which influenced
the architectural principles we used today.The Romans discovered concrete and it was the technology of the times,
Much of the Roman building’s pillars and columns were made of concrete.The re-bar was discovered by the American
merely 200 years ago. Therefore the limitation of concrete reduced the majesty of building built as of today.
Read History of Architectures,note the time line with a comparison to other civilizations.
2)The Romanesque Period
3) Gothic Period
The Gothic Architecture bloomed soon after the Roman Classical Periods. The Father of the Gothic Architecture
was Abbot Suger was a principal person to lead the Architectural building of the times.The Gothic structures were
used for church with aspired to the sky resembling worship to the God.
In a nutshell, the following were the Architectural movements that brought us, the Architecture today
4) Baroque Period
5) Classical Revival
6) Gothic Revival
8) Art Nouveau
9) Modern Architecture
11) International Architecture
Practice of Architect
The Architect role is to design, provide estimates of the cost to construct the building, He may provide a Feasibility study,
showing the profitability of the building project. He may employ a QS to provide such information.He works with a team
of consultants to establish his design or specialism teams to complete the building.The client ( building owner)employs
the Architect to complete the task.His office is called the Architectural Patrice. Or he is said to be practicing architecture.
Design Role of Architect
The Architect designs the building from the Inception stage, to the Conceptual stage. These are the design stages that
proceed form here to the following Phases of Design:
1) Schematic Design Phase
2) Design Development Phase
3) Contract Documentation Phase
4) Contract Implementation and Management Phase
At the Schematic Phase, the design and cost is produced and if the client is content with the design and the cost, he would
proceed to the Design Development Phase. Here he may submit the design to the local authorities for approval. On approval
he will week to the Contract Documentation Phases .During the Documentation Phase. all drawing are somewhat finalized
for the tender bidding. Lastly. the Contract Implementation Phase is when the contractor builds the design initially designed
by the Architect.
Architect may provide Supplementary Services in addition to the Basic Design Role. Such services may to in helping
the Client to select a suitable site.For instance. an Airport is large ndertaking and involves much cost. In this instance. the
options of selecting a suitable location shall be done by a team of Airport architects, Airport planners, Airport engineers etc
to complete which location is the best option.
Means of Design
The means of design traditionally were to make a produce drawing in sketches or perspectives and sometimes a scaled model was
made, to produced to illustrate the concepts. The manual approach is replaced by computer-aided tools.The Softwares used to
design are Google Sketch up,Archicad, Revit,Rhinoceros,3-D Max, lumion etc.
The drafting boards, with T squares,Set squares and pens are have replaced with the drafting Softwares such as Autocad etc
Building are emit about 40% of the CO2 in the atmosphere . Architects now play an important role to reduce the CO2 emission in the air.
Building, cities and countries are called upon to reduce CO2 in the air by the UN. This will help to reduce the rapid deterioration of Global
warming.Green and Sustainable design or energy efficient buildings are now the call for Architects in this Environmental role. The
following are the environmental concerns for architects: Loss of Biodiversity,Zero Carbon Emissions,Green and Sustainability designs.
The Architect ensure the building he designed is built as per his plans.He is responsible until the building is built and handed over and
his responsibility remains with him until he dies.
Alternative Practice and Specializations
An architect has many options to work as a Project Manger for the client or contractor, He has options to be an Arbitrator ,adviser for buildings to a council, editor for magazines, write articles for newspaper on architectural matters, be a lecturer as an Architect.He may be employed by banks, City councils,Contractors, Developers or PWD ( Public Works Departments).
He may specialize in areas such as Architect Planner, Architect with Legal experience,Net Zero Energy Architect, Green Architect and Architect cum Interior Designer.
An Architect professional requirement varying from country to country. Generally. a degree in Architecture may not be sufficient,
He may have to complete a post graduate studies till he is proficient in the business of Architecture.The accepted universities are listed by the Board of Architects in the country. He registers as a graduate Architect with the Board and he would be required to sit for an examination after 2-3 years as a graduate architect. On passing the examinations he then would be eligible to practice architecture in that country.With the TPPA is in place soon, a profession architect from one country is allowed to practice in the TPPA nations without inhibitions. For now most nations protect the architect from practicing in another nation.In the US, the architects register with AIA,American Institute of Architects to practice . In Australia they register with the AIA, Australian Institute of Architects and in Malaysia architects register with LAM, Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia to practice as Architects.
Prepared by Architect Perumal Nagapushnam