What are the Different Types of Architectural Careers?

Sonal Panse

Architecture is concerned with the designing, planning and construction of structures and spaces in an aesthetic, economical and environmentally friendly manner. In addition, architects can work in different types of related architectural careers. According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), there are over 600 types of architectural careers.

A building with elements of classical architecture.
A building with elements of classical architecture.

In the traditional architectural job, an architect works with a client and designs according to either given specifications or the architect's own vision. The architect designs a host of structures like houses, residential buildings, commercial complexes, schools, hospitals, railway stations, airport terminals, hotels, etc. The architect will draw the plan, prepare scale models and supervise the construction.

Architects plan and design the construction of a building.
Architects plan and design the construction of a building.

Apart from creating brand-new construction designs, architects also work on existing structures. They may be called in for alteration and renovation work, or work involving physical face lift. Architects with knowledge of classical architecture are required for historic preservation and conservation of heritage buildings.

The Bauhaus School, in Germany, had a major influence on modern architecture.
The Bauhaus School, in Germany, had a major influence on modern architecture.

With an increasing awareness about global warming, architects with specialized knowledge of environmentally friendly or green architecture are needed. They design on the lines of energy efficiency and energy conservation. They may make use of natural materials for building purposes.

Urban planners work with other architects and government officials to ensure that communities are planned appropriately.
Urban planners work with other architects and government officials to ensure that communities are planned appropriately.

One growing field in modern architecture is landscape architecture. This has to do with both environmental awareness and aesthetic appeal. Architects plan landscapes that will suit an existing structure or one that is about to be built. They also work on improving or upgrading previously designed landscapes. Many architects also work as land and property surveyors. They carry out building evaluations.

Architects also work as consultants. They offer practical advice on technical matters related to designing highways, urban planning and rural architecture. They may work in project planning and management.

Other architectural careers include those of developers, contractors and construction managers. Architects may work as building inspectors, structural engineers and traffic planners. They may also work as geotechnical specialists, acoustical specialists and material testing specialists.

They may work as interior designers, set designers, graphic designers, product designers, photographers and multimedia specialists. Some architects take up writing and journalism, and write or report on architecture-related issues. Another career option is teaching at an architecture college.

All these architectural careers can be in the private, public and governmental sectors. Architects may work as independent contractors, with architectural firms, in private institutions, in public companies or in government organizations. They usually work alongside other professionals like engineers, managers, designers, electricians and so on.

An architect may specialize in so-called "green architecture" to design buildings or plans to renovate them in a way that preserves materials and saves energy.
An architect may specialize in so-called "green architecture" to design buildings or plans to renovate them in a way that preserves materials and saves energy.

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Discussion Comments

jonrss

There is an architectural firm in my city that only builds stadiums. This sounds very specific but when you start to think about it there are a lot of stadiums out there.

Every major sports team has one. Every large and even many small colleges has one. They have them in every country in the world (and FYI, soccer stadiums are huge!). When you count them up there are a lot of stadiums and someone has to design them.

truman12

This is not technically an architecture career, but most architectural firms will have a dedicated copy department that is tasked with creating and archiving all the various blue prints, drawings, engineering specs and communications.

I worked in one when I was just out of college. It was kind of like working at a Kinko's but the work was probably harder and the stakes were higher. We went through mountains of paper making copies and we would ship stuff off to every corner of the globe.

chivebasil

One aspect of the field that often gets overlooked is the model making aspect. Digital imaging has replaced some of this market but there is still a pressing need for talented model makes to makes scale mockups of prospective buildings.

It is a very hard, very specialized skill and there are a handful of individuals and companies who do it very well. It is as much an artistic pursuit as a technical one. The model must be a perfect representation of the building requiring an exacting level of detail on the part of the model maker. But it must also reflect the spirit and the beauty of the architect's vision.

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