Architects design buildings. If you’re an architect you already know this. But if you haven’t practiced architecture, there are a few things that you may not know about the profession.
Architects don’t all perform the same job. Some architects draft, some design and others manage projects. I was lucky enough to do a bit of both drafting and designing. Drafting didn’t require much thinking, since it’s more of a repetitive job. Designing can be frustrating at times. Only when you haven’t got the final say that is.
Project managers are quite at the top of all of this. You’re not designing, but you need to know everything about the project. Assign tasks, manage contractors and designers … and of course set deadlines and milestones.
The job of an architect can vary from one place to another. In some countries architects perform the job of the structural, electrical and the civil engineer. In others, they’re more focused on the social and design aspects of the job. Whereas the engineers are responsible for the technical issues.
Interns always complain about how they never get the chance to do actual design work. How their job is just about drafting the work of other architects. The boring stuff if you like to say. Which is why we call them “cad-monkeys”. I like to think that it’s not as bad as it sounds. When you’ve just graduated you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the do’s and the don’ts in the job. Building codes, materials, structural details and all the other things you couldn’t have possible studied at school. Drafting the work of other architects gives you an insight on how things are done. Observation is key to understanding.
I haven’t reached there yet, but I once heard my supervisor -who happens to be a design manager- talk about the 7 years he spent designing as an architect before he became a Design Manager. He didn’t sound so happy, not sure if that had anything to do with his self esteem. But design managers have a cool position in the office. They meet clients (every architects dream) and choose who does what in the team.
A senior architect is the man who sees the project from A to Z. They design, plan and oversee the construction of buildings. Firms looking for senior architects often look for people with 10+ years of experience.
I guess that sums up all what matters in this topic. I hope this helped in giving you a better understanding of what Architects really do.