what is an architect?


Architecture isn't simply about building physical surroundings. Architects shape us. They tell our stories. Their work identifies a region and distinguishes the values of the society building our structures. Architects design cultural nuances that identify how we choose to present ourselves. They use science and art while drawing on sociology, psychology and economics. Architects spend their time understanding our communities and, with an emotional, technological and intellectual understanding, create spaces that connect and unify people.

An architect is a trained and licensed professional qualified to design and advise on the unique aesthetic planning and execution of structures. But there is far more to an architect than just designing buildings.

role of the architect

Where would we be without Architects? Architects are essentially ground zero for every home, office building, restaurant, park, school, castle and lots more, read more on what does an architect do for more insights. In addition to designing, generally as part of a team, they often help supervise the construction process. The architect must blend diverse disciplines to create functional designs. And they must do so while addressing safety and health protocols.

architect roles

average salary of an architect

In 2020, an architect's average annual wage was £67,500. Statistics show that an architect's average salary has steadily increased at the national level for years. Architects make around £15-40 per hour.

market position

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of these design professionals will grow only 1% before 2029. This is the lowest percentage of all occupations. One factor the Bureau attributes to this trend is software for building information modeling significantly increasing productivity. That, in turn, will limit employment growth. However, architects will always be in great demand because good architects are often hard to find.


types of architect

There are unique fields of architecture. Furthermore, architects can enter alternative occupations. In any of these professions, an architect can be self-employed or work with an architectural entity. Before going into the specifics it's worth understanding the types of jobs in architecture and deisgn and what job descriptions potential employers are looking for.

residential architects

Residential architects use functionality and art to create, design and remodel homes. These include apartment buildings, condominiums and houses. They design, draw out plans and may even be responsible for developing a budget for the build.

commercial architects

Commercial architects design office buildings and other structures for business. These professionals may work on:

  • Government buildings
  • Schools
  • Hotels
  • Bridges
  • Multi-unit residential buildings
  • Museums
  • Office buildings/skyscrapers
  • Public buildings

landscape architects

If you're ever sitting in a park, playground or on a tennis court, you can trace its existence to a landscape architect. They're trained in the development of outdoor spaces. The landscape architect's scope goes from college campuses to gardens. They must use their creativity to implement safe spaces for their communities. This is a big responsibility as an outdoor project can require a lot more design than even the tallest skyscraper. Architects need to have an understanding of plants, pathways, trees and more. Every feature of the layout is their responsibility, from where to place entrances and restrooms to where benches go.

interior design architects

In this role, professionals are responsible for ensuring that interior elements of a building not just look good, but are also comfortable and safe. Interior architects (and designers) handle everything from ensuring a new building's individual floors are safe to remodelling kitchens in a private home. Take into account that not all interior designers are architects. Some professionals use their eye for detail to manage colours and fabrics with an artistic sensibility. They research and compare varying elements to form cohesive wholes.

urban design architects

Like the landscape architect, the urban design architect is tasked with creating large-scale designs. The difference is the urban design architect uses their training to build neighbourhoods. They lay out an entire block or blocks of landscape to achieve a desired aesthetic. Depending on the project, they may have to consider specific structures and where to place shrubbery and trees.

green design architects

This is a growing field that will likely continue to expand alongside eco-friendly concerns. Green design architects develop plans while focusing on the impact their designs will have on the ecosystem. These architects understand the complexity of environmentally sound implementations. Whether it's energy conservation or management of clean water, green design architects have to apply the best practices and materials to achieve results desirable to the client and safe for our environments. This is the architectural field most likely to grow as eco-friendly solutions grow.

industrial architects

An architect approaching an industrial build will be expected to develop a facility capable of smoothly running operations. And they must consider the unique properties of all varying business needs. An automobile manufacturer does not need the facilities of a dairy producer. Even companies in the same industry may require different processes. Overall, an industrial architect has to have a deep level of understanding of these facilities to create designs that meet exacting specifications.

  • alternative options for the architect

architectural technologist

An architectural technologist uses their technical skill to help architects design buildings. Their talent is usually deployed in alteration and refurbishment.

building surveyor

A building surveyor is a professional advisor on property and construction projects. This can be modest repairs or a complete redesign of a megastructure.

development surveyor

Development surveyors plan and advise on projects, helping clients make smart decisions related to their investments.

construction manager

Construction managers are on building project sites leading production from beginning to end. Working closely with site supervisors and other builders, architects and surveyors, they see that projects finish safely and within budget.

structural engineer

Structural engineers use environmental conditions and human use to design structures exposed to potential stress. This includes structures at risk of rotation, collapse or vibration.

town planner

This specialised field, town planner, is instrumental in the management of cities, villages, towns and country-sides. This can include economic, societal and environmental matters as well as the construction of buildings, parks and utilities.


working as an architect

architect job description

In general, an architect will be engaging in the following activities and procedures on a regular basis:

  • Develop and lead projects from concept to development.
  • Consult with varying parties to determine the requirements of a project.
  • Put together drawings, and construction documents that manage exacting specifications of a build.
  • Coordinate architectural preparation and alterations for new and existing structure and site development.
  • Manage and organise permit documentation.
  • Collaborate with teams, contractors or subcontractors across business lines.
  • Resolve complicated design issues through practical and innovative answers.
  • Modify plans to fit client and sale needs.

work environment

Most architects operate from offices working on drafts, filing permit applications and developing cost estimates. Much of this is done at a computer desktop; however, architects may also travel to construction sites to negotiate with site agents, clients and contractors. In other architectural roles, they will have to call or meet up with drafters, engineers, utility professionals and other architects.

work schedule

An architect may work uneven hours to meet deadlines, especially if they're juggling projects. Work performance requires accuracy as an architectural error creates hazards for structures and buildings. An architect's decisions impact communities, and it's a big responsibility to bear. However, they do have a certain amount of freedom for managing tasks and goals on their schedule as long as they don't interfere with their clients' projects.

technological advancements

Today, architects use computer programs like AutoCAD and BIM. There are also a ton of cloud-based technologies to create designs. Furthermore, AI and IoT are replacing a lot of traditional processes and maximising architectural processing. Big data is changing how architects gather information to design more efficient and unique buildings. Probably the most incredible advances would be VR and AR. Virtual reality takes concepts and returns a life-like experience where you actually walk through designs in three-dimensional environments. Augmented reality provides 3D touch and sound to 2D plans. Designers will actually be able to feel materials.

advantages of working for randstad as an architect

Architects shape the world. Architect roles give the opportunity to make a difference in how people interact and see the world. You'll get to use your passion for creativity and change, channel it through today's technologies and apply it to the buildings our society uses.

I recently completed my internship and joined the firm as a full-time junior architect. Currently, I'm involved in the upgrade of a bridge that's been badly in need of reconstruction. I've been pushing for this since my interview! It'll probably be four years to get the thing completed, but I intend to see it through to the end. I'm working with a group that's going to take me to the next level in my career and I never thought I'd be so excited about getting up and going to work.

Owen Smith

education & skills

education & qualifications

Students with no previous architectural training are expected to earn a professional degree via a five-year bachelor's program. The fifth year entails an architectural undergraduate degree program.

During the B.A. program, students will study:

  • Architectural history
  • Architectural engineering
  • Design theory
  • Physical sciences
  • Focus on building design
  • Liberal arts
  • Mathematics
  • Graphic design
  • Design studio experience

skills & competencies

It's advised that during higher learning, students focus on developing the traits necessary to become a successful architecture.

analytical aptitude

An architect must possess comprehensive knowledge of mathematics, science and design elements. Architecture work generally requires precision on all these fronts.


Architects must get concepts across utilising a range of communication channels. The collaborative aspect of the profession requires concise articulation and interpersonal transaction.


An artistic flair is critical to design, flow and layout of plans. An architect has to seamlessly blend functionality and form. They put environmental impact into the equation and consider how to best represent a community and its leaders' intent in innovative ways.


Records are an important part of an architect's day-to-day operations. Blueprints, renderings and drawings, contracts, correspondence and more are critical to the management of a project, not to mention material lists, project details, cost analysis and charting progress. An architect needs to realise the importance of tracking all materials regarding their projects in a mannered fashion.

technical expertise

Software and digital technology are changing the game. No architect can afford to not keep track of technological tools and stay competitive. It is imperative architects retain high skill in intermediate, advanced and the latest computer advantages.

visualisation skills

Architects have to look at every part of a structure, relate it to all other parts and keep a spatial recognition of how all the components work together. They must also be exceptionally skilled at technical drawing.



Here are the most asked questions about working as an architect

how do architect fees work?

It depends on the situation. Self-employed professionals will each have their own base fees and payment procedures. They may charge by the hour or based on the scope of the project. There are projects better suited for hourly rates. If you're working with a contractor or a firm that has its own staff of architects, it will pretty much be the same process except the architecture fees will likely be included with other fees for services offered by the company.

what's involved in the design process?

There'll be a consultation where a project gets discussed in detail. The architect will make a visual assessment of the site before developing ideas based on concepts covered in the consultation. That will lead to a design concept. If it's part of the contract, the architect will develop construction timelines and budgets. At this point, the architect puts together a detailed design using reliable software like CAD.

what's the best school for an architect?

Rice University and MIT are often highlighted for having the best architecture programs. However, the term "best" can be misleading. One school's curriculum may lean toward green architecture, another may specialize in skyscraper design. The most important aspect of choosing a school is what the student plans to do with the education. What is promising is online learning has made it possible to attend almost any higher education institute of a student's choosing.

where do I find architecture CV, interview and job advice?

At randstad our aim is to provide you with the best job advice, you can find the following for further reading on how to help you secure your next role:

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