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Here’s What Different Types of Architects Actually Do

Architecture, as a reflection of cultural, social, and technological advancements, encompasses a diverse spectrum of styles and forms that have evolved over centuries across the globe. From the towering Gothic cathedrals of medieval Europe to the minimalist Bauhaus buildings of the early 20th century, each architectural style tells a unique story of its time and place. However, different types of architects build different buildings. Hence, one cannot expect a residential architect to delve into the projects of a historic preservation architect. Let’s discuss their myriad nature.

1. Landscape Architect

The profession of landscape architects has seen a boom, as the need for green areas (parks & walkways) becomes common. These are experts in designing outdoor areas, such as golf courses, orchards, playgrounds, college campuses, water features, street furniture, gazebos, and public gardens. Landscape architects are aware of urban horticulture (trees, flowers, & foliage) as they decide what plants and shrubs are used and where based on the project’s climate, and their care routine. Landscape architects collaborate with sustainable architects to create seamless indoor and outdoor space integration that is both aesthetically beautiful and useful. Landscape designers work in stormwater management and environmental restoration with a solid grasp of ecology, and environmental science. They frequently work in conjunction with architects, urban planners, and civil engineers.

Courtesy – Unity Environmental University

2. Interior Architect

Many people believe that architects and interior designers work in similar capacities, but in actuality, their roles are very different. Interior architects ensure that a space is utilized to its maximum potential, albeit based on the occupant’s behaviour. The placement of walls, windows, and doors within a building is planned by interior architects. They also choose the locations for furniture. Based on the needs of the client and the intended use of the space, they create colour schemes and specify different interior finishes to enhance the room’s aesthetic. Interior architects have a thorough understanding of furniture design fundamentals, materials, textiles, and colours. Interior architects collaborate with contractors, clients, and other architects to produce intricate drawings and renderings that effectively convey their ideas for interior design. They take lighting, acoustics, environmental considerations, and more into account by utilizing your understanding of products, materials, zoning and building codes, and construction techniques. Interior architects design residential interiors, commercial interiors (such as offices, retail stores, or restaurants), healthcare facilities, or hospitality establishments.

Courtesy – IIAD

3. Urban Designer/ Urban Architect

Compared to other architects, urban designers or urban architects work on projects related to city planning. An urban designer will primarily concentrate on the city’s zoning to make sure that residential, commercial, and industrial spaces are arranged sustainably and with sufficient infrastructure for both the present plans and future growth. Urban architects plan and oversee the construction of street designs, skylines, transportation, bridges, commercial buildings, public utility buildings, residential homes, trees, and shrubs. It encompasses building architecture, landscape design, and green design. Thus, urban designers give the city its structure and organization. Urban architects provide solutions for political, cultural, and economic challenges that support social progress, economic expansion, and environmental responsibility. Architects Le Corbusier and Charles Correa, for instance, contributed to the founding and growth of Chandigarh and Navi Mumbai, respectively. Urban designers work with stakeholders, community organizations, legislators, engineers, and architects.

Courtesy – Design Atelier

4. Industrial Architect

Industrial architect specializes in the design and construction of practical and effective warehouses, factories, storage facilities, distribution & logistics centres, manufacturing and processing plants, power plants, transportation hubs, and industrial parks. They need to be extremely knowledgeable about industrial workflow requirements, machinery, and processes. They integrate necessary machinery and equipment to maximize a building’s overall efficiency and facilitate operations. Industrial architects frequently enlist the help of industry specialists or clients to help them create the optimal layout. They take into account the building’s materials, and the client’s industry when creating a design. Specialized elements like heavy-duty flooring, high-clearance areas, and cutting-edge lighting and ventilation systems are frequently incorporated into their designs. Industrial architects collaborate closely with engineers, product managers of production, and safety experts.

Courtesy – The Spruce

5. Project Architect

A project architect supervises a project’s architectural components during its design and development taking ownership and accountability from start to finish. They oversee the creation of specifications, plans, and blueprints. Project architects guide diverse teams through different project work stages while taking the environment, context, and cultural factors into account. 

Courtesy – Housing

6. Residential Architect

The design of homes for private construction or estate development companies is the area of expertise for residential architects. Working with homeowners, residential architects create custom homes or modify the style or plan of pre-existing ones. They are especially knowledgeable about neighbourhood ordinances and building codes. A residential architect brings a client’s vision to life while maintaining the project’s functionality and financial constraints. They project the supplies & labour costs, and the estimated time. After taking note of their practical and spatial requirements, they start outlining the designs. These architects are masters at maximizing natural light, integrating indoor and outdoor living spaces, and optimizing floor plans. They frequently work closely with contractors, landscape architects, and interior designers.

Courtesy – Spotless Agency

7. Commercial Architect

Commercial architects define a cityscape. They often design retail stores, office buildings, hotels, museums, hospitals, public buildings, government centres, and other non-residential properties that satisfy business needs and guarantee client satisfaction. They design the plan, select the material, and undertake client presentations. They have a thorough comprehension of safety regulations, building codes, and the financial aspects of construction. Commercial architects frequently collaborate closely with clients, developers, and construction teams.

Courtesy – UNI.xyz

8. Lighting Architect

Lighting architects study the different ways that artificial and natural light influence human behaviour. Their design process involves evaluating the necessary quantity, distribution, colour, and intensity of light to establish a comfortable and sustainable space. They are aware of how crucial lighting is to both appeal and ventilation.

Courtesy – Cundall

9. Planning Architect

The planning, design, and construction phases of structural projects are managed by planning architects. They create master building plans for various projects, such as new builds, remodels, and restorations. Planning architects set priorities and define the project’s parameters.

Courtesy – LinkedIn

10. Conservation Architect/ Restoration Architect

Conservation architects or restoration architects are associated with maintenance, preserving a building’s original architectural style. To comprehend the historical significance and value of the building that is being restored, they carry out in-depth investigations and on-site inspections. Conservation architects frequently deal with historically significant residential properties as well as museums, castles, palaces, and ecclesiastical buildings. These architects have a thorough awareness of historical architectural styles. Restoration architects are also well-versed in the laws and rules that apply to listed building renovations and additions. Conservation architects rehabilitate imposing public buildings and landmarks or modernize historic residences or commercial buildings.

Courtesy – Mehrangarh Museum Trust

11. Green Design Architect/ Sustainable Architect

A sustainable architect or Green Design architect has significantly more involvement than other architects in the building’s construction. They create sustainable living environments by incorporating energy-saving techniques into their designs. Green Design architects are skilled in designing buildings that are both energy- and environmentally-efficient. They collaborate closely with the supply chain of the construction industry to guarantee that locally produced materials and components, as well as skilled and unskilled labour resources, are used whenever possible in the building. These architects ought to be educated in material properties, aerodynamics, and sun and shade. A broad range of methods and tools are used by green design architects, including natural ventilation systems, green roofs or living walls, and renewable energy sources (such as solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal systems). They also take into account things like waste management and water conservation.

Courtesy – Novatr

12. Historic Preservation Architect

A historic preservation architect assesses and maintains historically and architecturally significant older buildings. They assess a building’s worth based on its age, material composition, and overall state. They plan and carry out repairs and renovations that prolong the building’s lifespan while maintaining the original architecture.

Courtesy – Architizer

13. Extreme Architect

Extreme architects are experts at creating buildings in harsh environments. As a result of climate change-related increases in the frequency of natural disasters, an increasing amount of land has been classified as an extreme zone, requiring the skills of extreme architects. They create original solutions and building methods that are tailored to the mentioned local environment.

Courtesy – ArchDaily

14. Research Architect

New design and development techniques for technological applications are the main focus of research architects. They investigate fresh and creative approaches to create digital systems, gadgets, technical equipment, and other information technology tools.

Courtesy – University College London

15. Audiovisual Architect

Custom audio and visual entertainment systems are the area of expertise for audiovisual architects. They design, construct, and install audiovisual equipment in commercial, industrial, and residential settings. Audiovisual architects work in tandem with structural designers and building architects. 

Courtesy – The Architectural Exhibition Review

16. Retrofit Architect

A retrofit architect creates plans and plans to use a wider range of energy sources to make pre-existing structures more environmentally friendly. Additionally, they might have eco-friendly features like composting bins and water purifiers. Although they specialize in using eco-friendly materials and renovation techniques, these architects usually have training as commercial or residential architects.

Courtesy – ADP Architecture

Image Courtesy – Barker Associates

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