what does an architect do?

A lot of people don’t understand what an architect does. And the general public thinks that architects are engineers or that the same thing. And they’re not. 


what does an architect does, and what their role is? and if you want to be one what that looks like.  there are a few different kinds of architects, there are design architects, there are technical architects who are good at understanding how things go together,  like building details, all the systems that go into a building, and the technical aspects of a building, and then business architects – people who are good at understanding how a business is operated, but may not be that that well-tuned when it comes to designing or the technical aspects. So if you’re thinking about hiring an architect or you want to become an architect just keep in your mind, that there’s not just one track that you have to be on. 


So the primary role of an architect is a  “conductor of buildings”, like in music, the conductor knows what all of the instruments should be playing, but may not know how to play every single instrument in the symphony or whatever the band or whatever it is. And that’s really what an architect does: they focus on how they can assemble all these instruments to make something that makes a lot of sense.


Now an architect is a  jack-of-all-trades in a lot of ways. An architect needs to know a lot about the HVAC, the plumbing, the electrical, the details,  like how the Assembly’s carpentry, tilework.  All of the trades jacks-of-all-trades is the architect’s job on top of understanding code, understanding how a project is going through, coordinating with a client, making sure that they understand the process and what is happening, and serving as a middleman between the client and the contractor. To sort of, like break things down, so that everybody is on the same page.


There are parts of engineering that an architect does, but the architect doesn’t necessarily do structural engineering for the building.  Architects can do that, but most architects unless they’re more towards that technical side, don’t do that because it’s a liability. They’ll hire someone else and they do that with pretty much everything that they do. They hire sub-consultants that then advise them on what they should do. And that so a structural engineer, a civil engineer,  mechanical engineer – those type of engineers and architects will we’ll hire  to be a part of their team and then the architect becomes the  conductor, making sure that all of those parts of the team makes sense,


The architects have to understand everything that is going into a building and make it work essentially. And make it beautiful. That’s, what the architect does, it’s the architect’s job to make sure that all of these things coming together, make sense for what the client wants in terms of an aesthetic appearance. And then when construction starts make sure that the contractor whoever’s building the project is adhering to what the architect is drawn. The “design intent” is what it’s called.  So the drawings communicate the design intent to the contractor and then the contractor is supposed to build to that design intent, but lots of things get missed in drawings or maybe can get overlooked, is maybe a better way to put it and it’s the architect’s job to be on-site, to be able to point out different things maybe the architect is looking at.


When a contractor takes it on a job. It’s their job to understand all that stuff, but sometimes things get missed so the architect is there to say  “hey, this is important, we need to make sure this gets hit”. So, or this certain requirement gets met. So, that’s the best way to describe what an architect does, is do the design, make sure that everything makes sense from a functional and programmatic point of view, and then coordinate all the sub-consultants that are putting their stuff inside the building, all the things that make the building work, make sure that that can be incorporated and doesn’t detract from the beauty of the architecture and make sure that it works.

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