Architecture is arguably one of the most ancient professions. It combines several principles and concepts of Engineering, with the creativity of artistic expression. The main job of an Architect is to create, plan, and design buildings for several purposes, including residential, commercial, industrial, or urban landscaping.
Where Engineers are in charge of creating solutions to problems and coordinating the technical side of a construction process, Architects are the ones that provide a clear guide; they give instructions to Engineers on how they envision the building they’re in the process of creating. In other words, Architects are the professionals in charge of giving personality and artistic value to buildings.
These individuals are most commonly employed by Architectural Firms, which are basically agencies dedicated to the design of new buildings, as well as the renovation of old ones. They offer their services to construction companies, investment groups, and governments. When a new building is proposed, or renovation is necessary for an old one, several Architectural Firms submit their ideas and designs in a process in which the client will choose the one they like the best, usually based on creativity, viability, and costs. Architects may also be employed in private companies, industries, and government offices as structure consultants and evaluators or they may also work independently.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Architects are required to complete.
- Creating, planning, and designing buildings and structures:
- Conceptualizing and organizing ideas, materials, and styles of design before starting to work on a proposal;
- drafting scale imagery of buildings and structures using specialized software (e.g. AutoCAD, Revit, or SketchUp) and other tools;
- including Engineering principles and elements into the design (e.g. structure support, water and electrical systems, and materials and their properties);
- integrating environmental aspects into the design in order to provide natural lighting, green areas, naturally occurring drafts and ventilation systems, and rainwater collection drains;
- drafting a report including information regarding costs of materials, workforce, permits and other necessary paperwork, along with the estimated time of construction;
- taking into consideration environmental factors (e.g. temperature, altitude, wind force, and meteorological phenomena) that may affect the building’s integrity;
- adhering to governmental regulations and statutes regarding building construction, renovation, and demolition (e.g. emergency systems, evacuation routes, and anti-seismic foundations and structures); and
- submitting design projects to employers and prospective clients.
- Contacting and liaising with prospective clients:
- Promoting the work of their firm by handing and presenting a portfolio to prospective clients;
- being on the lookout for new construction or renovation projects in the market;
- submitting a project design proposal for consideration in construction or renovation projects specifying materials, costs, and expected time of construction;
- negotiating terms of construction and fees with prospective employers; and
- drafting and preparing a legal contract if the client chooses their design.
- Supervising the construction and renovation of buildings:
- Conducting regular in situ visitations and evaluations;
- collaborating with Engineers and construction workforce regarding the structural aspects of the building;
- liaising with decorators and Interior Designers in matters of landscaping and styling;
- contacting materials suppliers and contractors when necessary;
- liaising with the firm’s legal team and with the construction company regarding permits; and
- wearing the mandatory protective gear when visiting construction sites.
- Visiting and examining the structural integrity of old buildings and structures:
- Inspecting the foundations and the state of the building;
- evaluating the state of water, electrical, and emergency systems; and
- deciding whether the building is suited for habitation, renovation, or demolition.
- Creating and designing buildings and structures.
- Designing renovation plans for existing buildings and structures.
- Evaluating the conditions of old buildings in order to deem them habitable or not.
- Conducting in situ inspections of constructions.
- Submitting design projects for new buildings to prospective clients.
- Maintaining old clients and contacting possible new ones.
The average Architect salary in Canada is $87,011 per year or $45 per hour. This is around 2.7 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $61,000 while most experienced workers make up to $122,000. These results are based on 900 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Excellent interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills:
- Communicating clearly, both verbally and in writing, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with coworkers, colleagues, and clients;
- being able to lead a multidisciplinary team in achieving their established objectives;
- being able to read and write technical reports; and
- being capable of explaining complex concepts to clients in a non-technical manner.
- Creativity and a strong artistic sense, always willing to try out new ideas:
- Applying an artistic sense into designs in order to create innovative buildings and structures with personality and that could be considered works of art.
- Engineering and mathematical skills:
- Applying basic engineering concepts, complex mathematical theories, and other processes to their designs and projects in order to make them viable.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills:
- Identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner using critical thinking and good judgment; and
- being capable of working in intricate projects that require the incorporation of many variables, great attention to details, and quick problem solving abilities.
- Outstanding decision-making skills in order to determine a project’s viability, taking into account all financial costs and safety concerns.
- Organizational and time management skills, great attention to detail:
- Avoiding disorganization in the workplace and construction sites that can lead to legal problems, damage to equipment, and potential accidents;
- being able to work independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced environment;
- being precise and accurate in their calculations and designs; and
- being able to prioritize tasks and responsibilities accordingly.
The minimum educational requirement to work as an Architect is having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, university, or Architecture School that follows the study plan of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). The RAIC is an institution dedicated to standardizing the education and quality of work of all Architects in Canada. Many schools and institutes require students to participate in internship programs under the supervision of an accredited Architect in order to graduate. This is usually the best way for aspirants to obtain the necessary practice they need for applying to a job since most employers usually require at least 3 years of experience.
For higher ranking jobs, however, Architects are usually required to have taken further studies. A master’s degree in any specialization of Architecture (e.g. Landscaping, Restoration, or Interior Planning) is sure to open up promotion opportunities for Architects looking to climb the career ladder.
It should be noted that once licensed, Architects may only practice in the province or territory where they obtained their licence. They are also required to be registered in their respective Association of Architects. Further certifications required by some employers may include the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), following environmental and ecological approaches taken by many businesses.