What do Architects do?
A. Architects are responsible for the design of new individual buildings and
groups of buildings, their surrounding landscape and interior design and are
usually responsible for the supervision of their construction. They are also
responsible for the refurbishment of old buildings and the extension of existing
At the beginning of a project, the Architect produces a series of initial
'sketch designs' in consultation with the client, based on the client's needs
and wishes and taking into account where the building is to be located. When
an outline design is approved the design is developed and completed in collaboration
with other consultants such as Engineers and Quantity Surveyors. Then, working
with a group of construction specialists, the Architect will supervise the
construction work and make regular visits to the building site to inspect
and approve the work in progress.
The range of skills an architect must possess is wide and includes the ability
to be able to conceive and 'visualize' a complex three-dimensional design
(design skills), produce drawings for the client, planning authorities and
building contractors (artistic and computer-aided-design (CAD) skills), administer
the construction contract for the client (legal skills), authorize payments
(financial skills) and solve problems (negotiating skills). This is a daunting
list but the architectural education you receive in University and practical
training prepares you for these tasks.
Why should I consider a career in Architecture?
A. The practice of Architecture
combines a unique blend of art, technology and people skills. It is a worthwhile
and rewarding career because the product of the architect's work makes a significant
contribution to the appearance and quality of the day-to-day life of a local community.
Well-designed spaces and buildings create enormous pleasure, often subconscious,
in the people that use them.
Where will I work?
A. Many Architects are self-employed or work together
in partnership, sharing the income that is derived from the fees that are charged
for the projects they undertake. Larger architectural practices can also be Limited
Companies and many of these employ Architects on a fixed salary basis. A number
of government authorities, larger private companies and public corporations also
have their own 'in house' architect's departments that employ salaried Architects.
When you first qualify as an Architect you will probably work as a salaried architect
for the first few years of your career and may then progress to being an 'associate',
junior partner or full partner of an existing practice - or set up your practice
as a 'sole practitioner' or in partnership with other colleagues.
How much will I earn?
A. There is no national salary scale for architects but for guidance,
typical earnings after Part 1 graduation (before final qualification and Registration
as an Architect - see below) are around £15,000 to £17,500. The average salary
for a qualified architect with three years experience is approximately £33,000.
Architects who are self-employed or partners have an income that is dependent
on the fees earned by the practice (that are charged as a percentage of the
cost of the buildings that the practice designs). Typical earnings for partners
are £36,500 and upwards. Visit the Hays
Architecture web site for the most up to date salary survey.
What kind of work will I do?
A. Architects can work on a very broad range
of projects ranging from small domestic extensions and conversions to multi-million
pound shopping centres, concert halls and government buildings. Some architectural
practices 'specialize' in the design of certain types of building but most practices
will undertake a wide variety of commissions.
As a junior Architect you
will probably begin by working as a member of a 'design team' with responsibility
for certain aspects of a design, under the direction of a more senior Architect
or partner. As you gain experience you will become responsible for the design
and supervision of your own small projects and will eventually become a 'team
leader' responsible for the overall design of more complex commissions.
A proportion of the working week will be spent in an office or 'studio' interspersed
with regular meetings with clients, other design consultants, suppliers of construction
materials/services and visits to buildings under construction. The combination
of indoor and outdoor work gives variety to the working day and is one of the
benefits of working as an architect.
How do I become an Architect?
A. It takes seven years to become a professional
architect. The professional practice of architecture is regulated in most countries
throughout the world so that only those persons who are properly qualified and
experienced may legally use the title 'Architect' and/or practice professionally
as an architect. The structure of professional architectural education and qualification
in the UK is divided into three Parts:
You must undertake a three year undergraduate degree programme leading to the
award of a Bachelor's degree with Honours (BA, BSc or B.Arch). This stage is known
as 'Part 1'.
this a further two year's of 'advanced undergraduate' study is required known
as 'Part 2', normally leading to the award of a Diploma and/or Master's degree
after a period of not less than 12 months in professional training, you must complete
an examination in Professional Practice and Management in Architecture - known
as 'Part 3' - this may also carry the award of a Diploma, Certificate or Master's
gained these qualifications, candidates can register as an architect with the
Architects Registration Board (ARB) and become a chartered member of Royal Institute
of British Architects (RIBA), RIAS, the Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW)
or the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA).
What A-levels should I study?
A. Students interested
in taking a degree in architecture should contact schools of architecture
to find out the exact entry requirements. Generally speaking the minimum requirement
is two A levels (or equivalent). Some schools may ask for two A level subjects
including maths, art or physics however, it is not always necessary for A
levels to be in 'academic' subjects. GCSE subjects should include maths and
English language and, if possible, a science or technical subject. Do not
be put off studying Architecture because you are exclusively studying art
based A-levels. Contact the admissions tutors in the departments you are interested
in to discuss their requirements.
of architecture may also accept applicants who have GCSEs(A-C) and a BTEC vocational
qualification in a building related subject.
spare time activities would help my application to a school of Architecture?
A. You should generally practice your drawing skills, especially sketching the
interior and exterior of buildings. Take an interest in TV programmes about buildings.
We also suggest that you should acquaint yourself with current trends in Architecture
and Design by looking at recent editions of such publications as Blueprint, Wallpaper,
Frame, The Architectural Review, Architectural Design, The Architects' Journal
and The RIBA Journal, and the Design pages of The Guardian, The Independent, The
Times & Sunday Times, The Observer and The Telegraph.
Students studying Architecture often need to make models, so skill in model
making is an advantage. Take an interest in local buildings - try and identify
things about them that you like/dislike. Finally try to find out about well-known
architects (living ones as well as dead ones!) and the buildings they have
designed; the above list of publications - many of which you should be able
to find in your local public library - will provide a good starting point.
There are also a number of websites with information on famous
architects and building
How else can I prepare for an interview?
A. There is a substantial 'artistic'
element in all courses in architecture. When you are invited for an interview
you will be asked to bring with you (or submit in advance) a 'portfolio' of artwork
you have done at school or completed in your own time. For many Schools of Architecture
the portfolio is the most important factor in determining the offer of a place.
Your portfolio does not need to contain work that is specifically 'architectural',
but should show evidence of imagination, creativity and technical skill. Any and
all media of expression are appropriate and the portfolio should include sketchbooks
and preliminary designs as well as finished work.
How do I get more information?
A. Try the following links
Search for courses at
the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service www.ucas.ac.uk
or use the links to individual schools on the left hand side of this page.
Learn about the role of
an architect and get more information from the Royal Institute of British
Architects (RIBA) www.architecture.com | carrersinarchitecture.net
The Quality Assurance
Agency (QAA) has been set up to safeguard standards in higher education. Their
for standards in schools of Architecture give a further insight into the teaching
of the subject and its requisite skills.
The Commission for Architecture
and the Built Environment (CABE)offers
advice on a range of built environment careers including architecture, engineering,
horticulture, landscape, planning, surveying and urban design.
Any advice for a mature student?
A. There is no age limit for entry into architecture, but the seven-year length
of education and training should be born in mind. Some students finish training
after part 1 and become architectural technicians. Applicants over the age
of 21 do not usually need the A-level entry requirements described above,
particularly if they have worked in a construction/design related environment.
I am an overseas student - what about me?
A. Please read this document. its about architectural
education in the UK as related to overseas students. You may need to download
the adobe acrobat
reader to read it.
Bush - Admissions Tutor, Huddersfield School of Architecture