Have you ever thought about what kinds of qualities and skills you need to be an architect? Among other characteristics, you should be analytical, creative, and a strong communicator.
As an architect, you should be able to analyze designs and understand their implications. You need to be able to read plans for a building or other structure and interpret their intended context. For instance, you should understand how different structural systems (such as mechanical or communication systems) work and what their effects will be on various building operations. You should also be able to read such plans and make chances if necessary. As an example, if you have designed an office space and later realize that the ventilation system you have planned will not be adequate, you should be able to use drawing skills or a computer design system to adjust internal systems while maintaining the building’s structural integrity and aesthetic value. You should also be able to make these changes while staying within budget and on schedule, which means that you should have some financial know-how as well as flexibility in your thinking. You will have to do all this while facing tight deadlines and the potential to upset your client if you run over the projected deadline or budget.
Whether you are self-employed or work for a design firm, you will probably have to utilize communication skills while marketing your services. It is likely that you will be asked to prepare presentations or speak with potential clients about yours designs or your company’s experience in order to gain more work or snag contracts with people. Even if you aren’t involved in marketing at all, you will still have to share your ideas with other architects and designers. You will probably not be solely responsible for the implementation of a specific plan, so you will have to communicate with others about your designs so that your coworkers can help you. You might also have to communicate with other departments or firms so that engineers, landscape architects, interior designers, and other people you work with are all on the same page. You will likely need both oral and written communication skills in order to be successful in this arena, as you could potentially be asked to both make presentations and write emails, reports, or memos.
Architects often start with nothing, or a general idea given to them by a client about what he or she is interested in, and have to come up with a final product all on their own. An architect’s creativity should allow them to produce something that is both functional and attractive. In other words, the building or home you create should be pleasing to the eye without forgoing the necessary components, such as efficient and appropriately-placed heating and cooling systems or electrical systems. At the beginning of the project you might find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper or empty computer interface, and will have to use your creativity to spark an idea and then turn it into reality in a timely and cost-effective fashion.