Architect Career Information
What an Architect does
As an architect you'll be in the business of dreaming up new structures. You will shape human aspirations and design their houses, theatre halls, railways stations, multiplexes and commercial complexes. But design is only part of architecture. Once a design has been selected, you'll draft the final construction documents and oversee the actual construction.
Architects must understand the science behind the design, down to the strengths of various materials and the benefits and limitations of competing design. It will be your duty to make the buildings and constructions functionally useful and aesthetically wonderful.
This is not a cushy 9-5 job. Here you'll have to keep in touch with your clients on a day-to-day daily on a strict deadline. That's not all. You'll also have to handle the legal formalities. Simply put, architecture is both the art and science of constructing buildings. To deliver projects on time and under budget, architects must grasp the big picture and sweat the details.
Within architecture you can branch out into:
Landscape Architecture: This is basically creating a green spot amidst a concrete jungle. You'll study topics like fundamentals of environmental awareness, small-scale site planning and principles of ecology, mainly abstract design and elementary graphic techniques.
Structural Architecture: You could be building bridges and the likes. It mainly involves the development of local infrastructures, residential and commercial sites, utility designs, transportation engineering, geographic information system and mapping.
Feng Shui: It's the current passion among the rich and the famous. An environmental science that describes the observations and formulas developed by Chinese scholars over 4,000 years ago, Feng Shui is about the design of an environment and the placement of objects within that environment.
You'll pass from a design school with towering dreams but wait till you touch base. The ground realities are something else. You will have to start your career by assisting a renowned architect or work in an architectural firm as an Assistant Architect. Don't be shy of approaching architect firms for an apprenticeship. That's exactly the way to go about it. A portfolio of your designs with a good resume will help.
You can also find opportunities in construction companies, Real estate firms, Municipal and urban development corporations, and even some large-scale companies involved in real estate development. With a few years of experience in your kitty you can branch out on your own.
Though the construction industry is in a slump right now, the point is that people will always need a roof over their heads. And you will provide them with that.
Moreover new cities are springing up and there is a demand for construction to keep up with the increase in population in these areas. New areas in architecture like Landscape architecture, urban design are coming up.
And what about human aspirations for aesthetics? It's always there. So, there will never be a dearth of opportunities.
Abilities & Traits Required
Don't bother to read any further if you don't have a good hand at sketching. As an architect you'll make realms and realms of drawings for approval. You also have to have a very good imagination (and we aren't talking of your ability to day dream). You should be able to think in 3 dimensional figures.
You should have a keen sense for aesthetics and lots of creativity in your grey matter. Good mathematical and analytical abilities will also help. You need to be detail oriented. You need to be excellent at project management, too, because in the process of designing and constructing a building, you'll need to work with a wide variety of consultants.
Last but not the least, you got to have a good tongue. You'll be breaking your head with clients, contractors and other architects. And no matter how hard you believe in your drawing unless and until you argue your point out to your client it's of no use. Your designs might just end up in the circular file (dustbin, if you didn't know that already).
Well-established architects confirm that though a degree is an added advantage there is no escaping the practical knowledge gained from working with at an architect firm. Renowned architect Hafeez Contractor started as an apprentice at the young age of 14 with Khareghat Associates. His first design was for Cawasji High School in Khandala.
Colleges merely teach you the theory part, which can be learnt while on the job feels Hafeez. What they don't teach are the nitty gritties, which are more important."
You could pursue a degree in Architecture directly after clearing your HSC with Mathematics. You'll be trained in environmental awareness, human behaviour, problem solving and visual language skills, mainly drawing, painting, photography and the ability to explore and communicate ideas graphically.
One can also have a diploma in Architecture to begin with. But a Diploma will not get you lucrative jobs. You can only work as assistants to Architects and architectural firms.
The moolah actually depends on how complicated the design and project is and also how long it would take for the project to be completed. But as a fresher you could start off with Rs 13000 –15000 a month. With a little experience, you would be comfortably earning between Rs 25000 – 30000 or more per month depending on the firm.
Once you have established yourself, you can look forward to earning in lakhs. But if you can manifest you talent, you should expect a meteoric rise in your career, both in terms of position and remuneration. An established architect may earn more than Rs 50000 a month. Once you have earned a name for yourself you can even earn several lakhs in a year.