Brains Behind the Design: Architects

October is an exciting month! The leaves begin changing colors, cider mills open their doors, and trick-or-treaters start planning their Halloween costumes. While all this fun is occurring, the construction industry is also staying busy. With summer coming to an end, projects are beginning to ramp up their pace as the daylight time shortens and the weather cools down. October is also recognized as Careers in Construction Month, along with the 3rd being World Architecture Day! Therefore, we will be dedicating the blog posts this month to diving into a career in this industry! This week we will be exploring what the responsibilities and outcomes of being an architect is like in honor of both holidays!

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, Died 15BC
“The architect should be equipped with knowledge of many branches of study and varied kinds of learning, for it is by his judgement that all work be done by the other arts is put to test.”

World Architecture Day was created in 1985 by the International Union of Architects to ‘remind the world of its responsibility for the future of the human habitat’. However, the architecture industry has been around MUCH longer. It has been claimed that the first true architect was Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman builder from the 1st century. Although much of his life is undocumented, it’s been found that his book De architectura was used throughout time by architects after him on what truly defines the industry and building standards. It provides insight on city planning, building materials, clock placements, and even military uses. As centuries passed, the world’s style of buildings began to change depending on the regions. Sir Christopher Wren was the architect and designer behind many of London’s famous structures after the Great Fire in 1666. His work includes St. Paul’s Cathedral, many projects for the University of Oxford, and the Emmanuel College Chapel.

Sir Christopher Wren, 1632 – 1723
“The secret of architectural excellence is to translate the proportions of a dachshund into bricks, mortar and marble.”

Architecture has also found its way into a large variety of professions. The 3rd President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, was considered an architect prior to his inauguration. In 1768, Jefferson’s family home, Monticello, was constructed by slaves and local carpenters and masons. Monticello was designed by Jefferson all throughout his adulthood, as designing buildings was a major hobby of his saying “Architecture is my delight, and putting up, and pulling down, one of my favorite amusements.” Jefferson also aided in growing the popularity of the Neo-Palladian style. This style is prominent at the University of Virginia, which Jefferson founded and had built from his personal designs he made. Other buildings he designed includes the Virginia State Capitol Building and the University of Alabama’s quad from 1859. As the construction industry grew with the Industrial Revolution and immigration from Europe, the occupation possibilities for architecture grew as well.

Originally, being an architect just consisted of creating plans for potential buildings and structures. It was normal to build your home yourself, so architects were mainly focused for commercial and governmental structures. Now, there are many different routes to take the occupation as well as industries.

Residential Architects are focused more on creating custom family homes. They need to be knowledgeable about local laws and HOA’s, geography of the site, and accessing the property.

Housing Architects are similar to Residential Architects, however, they are dealing with homes in a group setting, such as apartments, townhomes, etc. They need to understand utilities, circulation throughout the entire building, and public health.

Commercial, or Business, Architects work with buildings meant for earning profit. This includes any small business, malls, and other public locations. They must think about how to create a space that makes people want to be there, have functionality for all space, and be efficient in moving from one spot to another.

Also known as Conservation Architects, they are in charge of repairing and restoring historic buildings, such as the Colosseum in Rome. They must have a deep understanding of the buildings original building methods and the history of the region itself.

Research Architects are those that continue to make advancements for this industry. They love to study, analyze, and continuously create new ideas and pathways for other architects to advance their methods and ideas.

Interior Designers are typically forgotten as it’s become an idea that they just deal with furniture and deciding on art pieces. However, the way the inside of a building looks can make or break it. Typically, architects will double as the interior designer for their project as they have a specific style or vision they want to accomplish.

Commonly known as Sustainable Architects, are in charge of creating buildings that focus on sustainability, energy efficiency, and eco-friendliness all throughout the construction process, and even afterwards.

Landscape Architects are those that create amazing landscapes and scenery such as Central Park in New York City, or your own backyard! They are also the minds behind golf courses, resorts, and other luxury spaces.

Urban Architects incorporate a mix of residential, housing, commercial, and landscape. They are the brains behind design our cities and must be knowledgeable in many different areas to be successful.

Developer Architects are not only handling designing buildings, but also managing them. They are often doubled as a Project Manager for a site, and help handle the meetings and finances, as well as ensuring the building is being built to the set plans.

Lighting Architects oversee decorating buildings and spaces with lights to bring attention and likeness to them. They must be aware of everything electrical, as well as some sustainability features with the amount of power is pulled to run everything.

Political Architects are in charge of creating standards for housing and designating communities. They don’t always just design buildings but design the spaces where buildings may already be located for municipal and political purposes.

Industrial Architects deal with more structural and intense builds, such as power plants and highways. To be in this position, you must be knowledgeable in various fields.

Municipal Architects help cities manage their building and infrastructure departments. They will aid in building permits, setting guidelines for projects, prep estimates for upcoming projects, and settle budgets.

Extreme Architects are rarely heard of because their work is located in the most untraveled places. These architects create buildings that are used in extreme conditions, such as Antarctica!

On average, today’s architects make almost $90,000 annually compared to $1,200 in 1900. To be any type of architect, you need to not only think creatively but analytically. Architects take into consideration varying factors such as the surrounding environments, local laws and regulations, and even the owners budget. They must be very good at math as drawing scaled down buildings is tedious and requires extreme detail. Architects are just as important as the team on site every day, as they’re the brains behind the building.  Let us know in the comments what other jobs you’d like to hear more about for this month! If you enjoyed this blog, share it with your family and friends via the icons below!

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