What is architecture all about?
Architecture is the art, science,
and business of building. An architect is trained and experienced in the design
and construction of the built environment. Today's architects are engaged not
only in the challenging historic task of creating the buildings society requires,
but in participating broadly in the concerns and affairs of society. The professional
concern may range from furniture design to city form and from community involvement
and social change to development economics or technical research. Today's architect
may practise as an individual, or in a small or large firm; the architect may
be salaried or self-employed. The client may be a family, school board, corporation,
housing authority, or government. Special interest may lead to computer programming
or to contract management. Many architects develop their skills in traditional
roles, but some are motivated to work in social service areas such as community
development in poor neighbourhoods.
Architectural practices or individual architects may choose to specialize in one of a number of areas of endeavour such as housing, hospital, or educational facilities. To be an architect requires a special range of qualifications - design talent, engineering ability, social awareness, business aptitude, and legal knowledge, among other things.
What do architects do?
In practice, an architect accepts
a comission from a client - a person, a board of directors, a government agency
- to solve a problem. The problem may involve the design of a single building
or a group of buildings and the spaces between them. Increasingly the architect
is participating in the development of the requirements the clients wishes to
have met in the building. Throughout the project from start to finish, the architect
usually acts as the coordinator of a team of highly qualified specialists. Structural,
mechanical, and electrical engineers and other specialists are generally retained
as subcontractors by the architect. The architect must ensure that the work
of all these different disciplines is coordinated and fits together in the overall
design. In addition, close attention must be paid to the economics and budget
for a particular commission.
Architects must also deal with various government agencies on civic, provincial, and federal levels, regarding numerous codes and bylaws. There are many factors which dictate the eventual design of a building. The architect does not work in a vacuum, and the final built form results from the input of many specialists and the client. Architecture is a business, of which the creative design part is only one aspect. Technical knowledge, administrative skills, and an understanding of good business practice are also important.
Do I need an architect?
Laws vary by region, but generally an architect is required to perform the design and review of construction for new buildings, renovations or additions with a floor area of over 6,000 square feet, or 557.42 square meters. The exception to this rule is the building type known as Assembly Buildings (mostly public use buildings), such as schools, community centres, theatres, libraries, churches, swimming pools, etc., where the services of an architect are required regardless of the floor area of the proposed construction.
Questions not answered??
OAA - Ontario Association of Architects
RAIC - Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
Remember, this information is of a general nature only, and may be different in your situation or location.