Architecture is the design of buildings, structures and environments, using a blend of art and science.
Architects design houses, doorways, bridges, skyscrapers, university campuses and everything in between. Having been given a brief, they will come up with design concepts for a project, before drawing plans that will be aiming to meet the client’s requirements regarding design, functionality and budget, as well as making it aesthetically pleasing, and structurally safe.
Working with a client to modify their proposed designs until they are satisfied with the final design, the architect usually continues to stay involved with the project throughout construction, working with the building team to ensure that the plans are followed correctly.
Architecture is a highly demanding yet rewarding profession that can allow you to shape skylines and landscapes through your work.
Creativity is important, as are an understanding of the sciences, an eye for detail, good organisation and problem-solving skills.
How to get into architecture
The road to becoming an architect is a rather long one – it takes a minimum of seven years from start to finish, with a combination of education and professional experience.
A three-year undergraduate degree in Architecture (BArch), sometimes known as Part 1, is then followed by a salaried year in industry working for an Architect’s firm, although some students choose to work for longer than twelve months.
The next step is Part 2 (Graduate Diploma), another two years of study, with students usually still counted as undergraduates during this.
Upon completion of Part 2, students embark on another bout of paid employment with an architecture firm for at least another twelve months.
Candidates are then able to embark upon the final step to qualification, Part 3 (PgDip), which is a case study based around a project that they work on for a firm, complemented with further study and exams. Part 3 is a part-time course that is carried out while candidates are in employment.
Qualifications and experience
The A-Levels required to get onto a course to study Part 1 varies from university to university, although a mix of art and science is best. Art, Design Technology, History and Maths are especially beneficial subjects to study. Try to avoid taking two arts-based subjects, such as Art and DT, together as this could be viewed in a negative light.
Architects, like many other industries relating to the building industry, have been hit by the current economic climate, resulting in the numbers of jobs available, and sometime the salary levels, being reduced.
Candidates who’ve completed their Part 1 can earn £17,000 - £20,000. By the time they reach Part 3, this will most likely have reached £25,000-£30,000. Following ten or more years in the industry, Architects can earn anything from £36,000 to £80,000.