Few genuinely understand who an architect is and what their responsibilities are. To this end, an architecture firm in Chennai answers some of the commonly asked questions.
What is architecture?
An art and a science, architecture is the field that designs buildings and places where individuals can work, live, play, and eat.
Who is an architect?
A person trained to plan and design spaces that can be occupied by people is an architect. They are also licensed to create functional areas. Generally, their work encompasses everything, i.e., creating the concept of the building to constructing the design into reality. The principal role of an architect is to bring to life the vision or dream of a client while ensuring the requirements of those who will occupy the space.
On what projects can an architect work?
An architect can design and build anything, including:
- A small room addition to a home
- A massive hospital
- A college campus
- A residential complex
- A commercial building
Do architects have construction knowledge?
One of the obligations of an architect is to keep the well-being and safety of occupants a priority which means a rudimentary knowledge of construction is vital. Because an architect participates in all phases of building, i.e., from conception to opening, they require practical information on construction. Though it should be noted that architects are not meant to be experts on building, it is why complex projects necessitate collaborations between architects and engineers.
A quick method to finding out if a person is an architect or not is to find out if they have construction knowledge – those who don’t are most often designers and artists.
What are the roles of an architect?
As stated above, the job of an architect is all-encompassing. They play a crucial role in each period of the project’s construction. From the time pen is put to paper to draw the building till the time the ribbon is cut, architects oversee the project. Sometimes, even after completion architects continue to work on the project. This is usually to develop the area surrounding the building or to keep it in good repair.
The key responsibilities of an architect can be divided into three legs:
This phase initiates when a client hires an architect to create drawings of an idea they have and want to turn into reality. Designing requires:
- Creativity on the part of the architect
- Immense technical knowledge
- Responsibility to achieve both
While designing, the architect has to keep in mind:
- Compliance with building regulations and safety rules
- Local planning and construction restrictions
- Laws connected to preserving historical buildings or local environment
Continuous meetings with the client occur during this stage and the architect calls on board engineers, designers and financiers for further planning.
There are three subdivisions of this stage:
- Capture the design of the building on paper
- Create detailed drawings of the project that showcase every inch of the building
- Test the feasibility and practicality of the model utilising software such as CAD
This step of the job requires constant revisions and redrawing because:
- The client might ask for changes
- The first design is beyond the budget
- Regulations require tweaks to the design
- The proposal shows practical problems
After the design documentations have been finalised, a second set is created. These are known as construction documents and are used by builders and contractors during the construction. Construction documents include:
- Instructions to workers
- Technical specifications
This leg of the project is the actual building part. The role of the architect, at this point, entails:
- Site visits to oversee the construction
- Signing off tasks and works
- Negotiating with contractors for best deals
- Finding a solution to any issues that come up
Differentiating between civil engineer, architectural engineer and an architect
- A Civil Engineer & Architect
A civil engineer is also included in the planning and designing of a building, but their work is to concentrate on majorly:
- Ensuring that the structure is safe for people
- Guarantee that the building can weather extreme conditions
- Make certain that it can endure every-day wear and tear
In comparison, the architect focuses on:
- The aesthetics of the structural work
- How the building looks
- How it feels
- How it functions.
Once the architect has produced the structure of the building, it is the job of the civil engineer to analyse the integrity of it. If there are issues, the civil engineer advised on modifications that make the design more plausible and practical.
- An Architectural Designer & Architect
An architect has to pass a registration exam to be licensed to work. It is similar to a bar exam that lawyers need to clear. An architectural designer doesn’t need to pass the same registration test. Therefore, an architectural designer is not licensed and deals with just the design end and not the construction side of the project.