need questions answered by an architect


im a student and been stuck on an assignment for months cause no one wants to take 5 mins to answer 9 simple questions lol



Im studying interior decorating with open colleges and working on a current assignment, if you could help me out i would love that. and any tips to getting into the industry

1. The educational background of your profession and duration of study or the experience
required if no qualifications exist.

2. The role in general and how it relates to designing, decorating, or construction of a

3. Your opinions of the roles of other professionals on the building site (be it a designer,
architect or decorator).

4. What do you do as a professional to keep abreast of the technological changes in the

5. Do you attend any conferences, exhibitions, and workshops?

6. Do you liaise with other professionals in the industry for support?

7. What professional journals do you read?

8. Which reference manual do you find most helpful?

9. How often do you update materials?

Mar 3, 13 10:32 am

This is not a 5 minute survey lol

Mar 3, 13 12:46 pm

First, I assume you are talking ARCHITECTURE, or you wouldn't be on this forum.  I'll try to give this a whack. I will qualify that these are my experiences, opinions, and perceptions, and others are encouraged to add to and/or challenge them.

1.  Education - generally speaking, most states require an accredited degree in architecture, meaning a 5 year B.Arch, a 4+2 M.Arch.(all architecture), or a 3 to 3.5 M.Arch. (non architecture background).  An internship called IDP is also required in most states.  After that, comes passage of the Architectural Registration Exam.  Only after this, and completion of any supplementary paperwork and/or an interview, can one call themselves an architect.  One exception:  some states may license architects without a degree, or with a 4 year arch. degree, but require a longer internship to even things out.

2. Role -  the architect is wholly responsible for the spatial and enclosure system, and responsible for the inclusion of other engineers' and consultants' work into a building design.  They are not responsible for the construction of a building, since that falls on the constructor, who must also determine those "means and methods," which is sometimes not an easy job.  However, this does not exonerate an architect from producing a design that is NOT constructable, meaning something that makes it unduly difficult for the constructor, and fabricators who furnish the constructor.  Don't kid yourself, the spatial and enclosure system of a building are a big deal.  The spatial system is the layout of spaces - they have to meet the client's building program (needs), they have to be usable spaces, and they have to meet code, such as the cumulative loads of people exiting a multistory building through fire exits.  The enclosure system is also a big deal.  It involves cloaking and buttoning up the building with a skin, and also different ways to button up the building inside.  Outside, we might be talking about a skin that is of masonry, concrete ... or it could be a glazed system ... or it could be a combination of both.  Inside, what happens is that different parts of the building need different fire ratings and acoustical provisions, so the configuration of different walls may differ - in the layers and type of gypsum board for interior walls, and the properties of the insulation.

3.  Other professionals (on the site) -  First, the site is not the theater here.  It is most likely to be the conference room.  The architect and the designer are moot, really, since they are the "known quantities" here and may be one and the same, or at the same firm.  Interior design is one of the collaborating disciplines.  They can be very peripheral or very involved.  Sometimes, they get drawings and produce their own set of drawings very independently.  At other times, the interior environment is so critical to the success of the building, that collaboration is a constant.  Actually, the consultants who are the most critical to the architect are the engineers - the structural, the mechanical (HVAC, plumbing, etc.), the electrical, and the civil (site and infrastructure concerns) - and the landscape architect on occasions.  From my experience, the structural engineer is the most critical collaborator on the job, with whom the most bargaining goes on, as to depth of structural elements (beams) or spacing frequency, as you're moving walls, stairs, and whatnot.  The structural engineer generally produces the second largest volume of drawings and has their hands full.  Note, that for these engineers and the landscape architect, the architect has MINIMAL training in these fields, because the architects needs to be conversant in these topics to integrate the work but not have the depth to perform it.  The constructor, or contractor, is also a critical player in the process.  They provide the "means and methods" to make the building happen.  The architect must be on site to observe the critical points in the process (site work, foundation, framing, systems installation, finishes, etc.) and fill out a lot of paperwork related to these processes, to protect the client and themselves - the architect.  Typically, the architectural fee and billings account for 15% to 25% to provide for the construction phase.

4. Technological changes - they creep in slowly, actually.  For design and drafting software, that ramp-up can be quicker.  For building technology, knowledge can come through training, or it can come through judicious adaptation of technological changes.  Once a firm has a preferred and tested way to detail something (walls, roofs), they cautiously veer into new systems because the performance of the new system is not yet known.  One example is the performance of stucco and EIFS (synthetic looking stucco equivalent +/-), in harsh moist climates, which has seen some "battles" in the past.  When there is a failure in such a system, the manufacturer and builder is often considered blameworthy, but the architect may also be involved.  One way to ameliorate this situation is for the architect to employ a specialized enclosure consultant to collaborate on the project.  So, for situations like the above, you can understand why an architect would move slowly into new building technologies, until their performance over the long-haul becomes more proven and good detailing becomes widely diffused.

5.  Conferences, exhibitions, etc. - yes, some architects go to conferences, especially on relevant topics - these could be for building code updates, sustainability, technological changes, or specific to the building type one specializes in (health care, courthouses, senior housing, prisons, etc.).  As to who gets to go, it depends on one's position in the firm.  Generally, more junior people don't go, except to code or technological courses.

6.  Liaise with others - this is a mixed bag.  There should theoretically be collegiality within the profession.  Sometimes there is, and sometimes there isn't.  I've been in markets where the profession supported each other and in one market where the professionals seemed to engage in a lot of "perceived" infighting.  It depends on the market, its sophistication, its legacy/culture, the amount of work, and the number of practitioners.  Also, keep in mind that the architects who do houses out of their houses and the architects who do office parks out of a corporate office have less than more in common.  Many architects belong to the AIA, but oftentimes that's to obtain continuing education, weigh in on lobbying efforts, and to keep abreast of (technological) changes in the profession.  Membership is optional.  My personal opinion is that if a person in a firm is a licensed architect, the respectable firm pays for the not-so-steep AIA dues of that employees, so they can put AIA after their name, which everyone knows, and not R.A., or registered architect.  There is not much interface with other professionals.  The types that I can think of are with building officials, niche developers to address evolving changes in the building types designed for them, and some of the engineering disciplines, though this is the order of the day.

7. Professional journals - It depends.  For me, it's always been "Architectural Record." There are others ... many others. There are also workshops and seminars to go to where a live presenter will instruct on changes in architectural practice or software changes.  There is also e-mailed or mailed information which apprises one of new building products.  They are very marketing-driven, so one needs to be weight what they are reading and not be immediately bowled over and specify them for a building.  Oftentimes, the latest alternative in "faux" shake or slate roofs, for example, which may perform well, may not applicable because the bulk of the work is office parks which tend to have flat (minimally sloped) roofs behind a parapet (the part of the facade that sticks up and which the roof is hidden behind).

8. Reference manuals - Many architects use Sweets, which used to be a series of green bound books.  They're nice to have around, because you can go right to a building component and flip the pages.  However, it is on-line and subscribers are provided updates.  There are other services, too.  One is an outfit that provides cost information and trends, for those who want or need that, for clients where square foot and building costs dominate the design effort.  Another thing is that most firms have a self-created detail library, on their server.  That is, the small drafted vignettes which show a preferred way to design certain things (a seismic brace for a suspended ceiling, material floor transitions, elevator pits, etc.) are kept in an on-server library to be pulled into a set of construction drawings and, if the firm's way of detailing typical things changes, this library is amended or expanded to reflect these changes.

9.  Updating materials -  Generally, a person or a few people are charged with this task.  They load software updates as soon as they become available.  The guardian of the detail library may be looked at as a menial, "green eyeshade" task, but it is extremely important.  For some reason, the people who do the updating are always a firm's technical architects, and rarely those for whom all their billings are in the design area.  That's just the way that shakes out.  Also, the ratio of technical/PM architects:design architects is, by necessity, skewed toward the former in most firms.  For the solo practitioner, he or she does everything.

Hope this is a start on what you want to know.

Mar 3, 13 12:57 pm

This is not a 5 minute survey lol

No doubt.  Far from five minutes.

Mar 3, 13 12:59 pm
boy in a well


you just fed a marketing bot from bangalore!

Now its gonna follow us around until we adopt it!

Mar 3, 13 1:47 pm


you just fed a marketing bot from bangalore!

Now its gonna follow us around until we adopt it!

I don't understand your vernacular.  Sorry.  If this person can't use it, someone embarking on architectural studies can.  The biggest misconception I had about architecture is that the architect did the structural calcs and engineered the HVAC system.  More people going into architecture should know the true scope of the architect's work.

Mar 3, 13 3:27 pm

observant -- man, you GOTTA get a life outside Archinect.

Mar 3, 13 6:14 pm

@ digger

It's Sunday, I didn't go to church (*awaiting a thunder bolt*), and I think/type super fast.

Mar 3, 13 6:26 pm

@ Observant: You mean to say that I don't have to do the engineering and hvac? I left the hvac on my last project (single family) to the "expert" and he rammed ducts in inappropriate locations and refused to put in and air-air exchanger (i requested an HRV) which we had to address after to get our final inspection passed. Ended up adding a secondary fan switch to the bathroom to solve it. More trouble in changes to design than it was worth. Otherwise nice summary of the points!

Mar 4, 13 11:50 am

Observ....does big projects, DUDE!

Mar 4, 13 11:55 am

Observant, nice summary

Just want to add to #2, “Role”

Beside the spatial and enclosure system, the architect is also responsible for coordination of the other design disciplines (structural, MEP, etc.).  (This is true MOST of the time, exception exists when contracts are set up differently.)  For example, it’s the architect’s responsibility to make sure a plumbing line does not land right on top of a structural beam, a mechanical diffuser does not “overlap” a light fixture, etc. etc.  Every discipline has their individual requirements and various methods to accomplish them (all with consequences that may affect other disciplines), and it is the architects responsibility to select the best methods to satisfy those requirements so all building elements can come together and perform as required (functionally, esthetically, monetarily…).  This is especially critical in complicated project types such as healthcare and laboratories.

Mar 4, 13 12:48 pm

@ Observant: You mean to say that I don't have to do the engineering and hvac?

Not really. With residential, one has to leave in some obvious chase areas to get stuff up to the second floor.  The other provision is to drop a ceiling or a soffit in some transit space, like a hallway, for some ducting.  Some architects/designers do this on their own, or a chat with the mech. eng./HVAC person could tell you if the chases are sufficient.  Yes, it is bad news when the FP or the ceiling heights have to be messed with for ducting in a manner you didn't want for your design.

Mar 4, 13 1:36 pm

Observ....does big projects, DUDE

Haha.  No, no at all.  Lots of those 2 and 3 story garden office parks.  Some slightly a hair above vanilla, and very safe in terms of design, but nothing that will EVER get published.  And that doesn't bother me in the least.

Mar 4, 13 1:38 pm

"nothing that will ever get published" I think you gotta pay to have anything publish now days. So not worth it. 2-3 storey garden office parks sounds bigger than my projects haha

Mar 4, 13 3:00 pm


They sort of have everything, though.  A slightly complicated skin that might feature a curtain wall or a storefront, vertical transportation, planning possible office layouts without knowing what the TIs will be, egress issues, how to drain the flat(ter) roofs and where to hide/box out the downspouts, some ID issues such as lobby designs the architect might do, laying out the parking and site amenities, and an array of shop drawings.

Mar 4, 13 3:11 pm

"ain't no body got time for that!!"

Mar 4, 13 3:33 pm

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