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Art & Design careers

Design: Architecture

Why are architects needed?

If you’ve had the pleasure of watching Christopher Nolan’s Inception, not only will you have seen that it’s a cracking film, but you’ll also know that architects have a very particular way of thinking. It’s a little bit ‘out there’, a little bit odd and at times very genius. From the tiniest design detail to the largest possible construction feature, architects have to consider it all when laying out the plans for construction workers.

From the unique Gherkin building in London, to Burj, the world’s tallest building in Dubai, buildings will have all had the magic touch of an architect. In fact, apart from a few barns and sheds out in the middle of nowhere, virtually every building you will see in your lifetime will have been designed and planned by an architect.  You could work on some of the most futuristic or historical buildings absolutely anywhere in the world.

A lot of architects eventually become self-employed, but to begin with the majority choose to work in private practices or for larger companies. Some even seek employment by the government. These guys get involved in restoring a lot of public structures and planning the construction of others. Architects are also needed to give planning permission for extensions, the restoration of buildings, and so on. 

What qualifications and skills do I need to get into architecture?

To be an architect, you will need a degree in architecture. You must also apply to the Architects Registration Board, which will enable you to get out and about and practise as an architect. The whole process can take up to around seven years, including gaining a minimum of two years professional experience.

Architecture university courses are very competitive to get onto and a lot of establishments require an interview before students can be accepted. It’s also important to try and build up a portfolio of your work, models, designs and sketches as soon as you realise you want to pursue a career in architecture. This will display your drawing style and be the easiest way to showcase your talent.

On top of a university degree, you’d also need to have superb I.T. and maths skills and, more than anything, be able to work well in a large team.

Your communication skills will also need to be up to scratch, as you’ll spend a lot of time conversing with clients, construction workers, builders, colleagues and your bosses.

What does an architect do?

When it comes to working on a new building, an architect’s role begins by assisting the contractors in choosing the best location for the building. You’ll then be involved in the process of overseeing the construction of a new building or structure. Initially, it’s all about producing sketches and models and working out measurements and other guidelines for the builders and construction teams.

Your time will then be spent working alongside clients, builders and surveyors to ensure that every detailed feature of the building or structure is safe, efficient and functioning as perfectly as possible.

The general rule of thumb is that if it works on a small scale, or in a model, it will work perfectly no matter what the size. That’s why you’ll often see small scale models of football stadiums, buildings or museums before the real thing is constructed. They’re not just mucking around with toys there; it’s all important stuff!

If buildings make you buzz, from the homely house to the super-sized skyscraper, you might want to ask yourself whether you should apply for a role in architecture. After all, a career in this industry could be the foundation for your future…

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