Architects investigate, design, and oversee the construction and development of buildings, urban spaces, infrastructure projects, and social spaces. They design per the surroundings and regulations applicable in specific geographic areas, considering factors that include function, aesthetics, costs, and public health and safety. They are aware of social contexts and environmental factors, including the relationships between people, buildings, and the environment. They engage in multidisciplinary projects aimed at developing the social fabric of a geographic area and advancing in social urbanism projects. 

Some of the typical duties of architects are to:

  • Work closely with clients to understand their needs, preferences, and project requirements.
  • Conduct thorough analysis of project sites, considering environmental factors, topography, and existing structures.
  • Develop initial design concepts, incorporating creativity, functionality, and adherence to relevant building codes.
  • Create detailed technical drawings, blueprints, and specifications for construction, ensuring accuracy and compliance with regulations.
  • Utilize CAD software and other digital tools to enhance the design and visualization process.
  • Choose appropriate materials, considering durability, sustainability, and aesthetic qualities.
  • Develop and manage project budgets, providing cost estimates and ensuring cost-effectiveness.
  • Oversee the entire construction process, coordinating with contractors, engineers, and other professionals to ensure project success.
  • Monitor construction progress, address issues, and ensure compliance with design specifications.
  • Stay updated on building codes, zoning regulations, and other legal requirements to ensure projects meet all necessary standards.
  • Integrate sustainable design principles, considering energy efficiency, environmental impact, and long-term resilience.
  • Present design concepts and plans to clients, stakeholders, or regulatory bodies, addressing feedback and ensuring alignment with project goals.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to architect:

building designer
architectural planner
architectural designer
commercial architect
urban architect
residential architect

Working conditions

Architects may work in architectural firms, design studios, construction companies, or as independent consultants. The role involves a combination of office work, site visits, and collaboration with diverse professionals, including engineers, builders, and clients. Architects may work on multiple projects simultaneously, and deadlines can vary depending on project complexity.

Minimum qualifications

A professional degree in architecture from an accredited institution is typically required to become an architect. Many architects also pursue licensure, which involves completing a mandatory internship (architectural apprenticeship) and passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Advanced degrees or specialized certifications in areas like sustainable design or historic preservation can enhance career opportunities. Practical experience gained through internships and entry-level positions contributes to the development of architects. Continuous learning, staying updated on design trends and technological advancements, and fulfilling ongoing professional development requirements are crucial for success in the field.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Architect is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Architect career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to architect.

construction engineer
interior architect
urban planner
landscape architect
construction manager

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of architect.

  • Building codes: The set of guidelines determining the minimum standards for buildings and other constructions to protect public health and safety.
  • Zoning codes: The division of land into zones where various uses and activities are allowed, such as residential, agricultural, and industrial activities. These zones are regulated by legislative procedures and local authorities.
  • Urban planning: Political and technical process that seeks to design the urban environment and optimize land use by considering various aspects such as infrastructure, water, and green and social spaces.
  • Architectural design: The branch of architecture that strives for balance and harmony in the elements of a construction or architectural project.
  • Architecture regulations: The regulations, statutes, and legal agreements existing in the European Union in the field of architecture.
  • Architectural theory: The principles underlying the various theories about architecture. The relationship between buildings and society, and the relationship between art and architecture. The theories surrounding the architect’s position in culture and society.
  • Relationship between buildings, people and the environment: Understand the relationships and the interactions between people, buildings, and the environment in order to adapt architectural works to human needs.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of architect.

  • Design spatial layout of outdoor areas: Design the spatial layout and functional and architectural appearance of outdoor areas. Integrate green spaces, social spaces, and regulatory aspects in outdoor design.
  • Satisfy aesthetic requirements: Satisfy aesthetic requirements and create a design that is in line with what is expected of you in terms of visuals and artistry.
  • Advise on building matters: Provide advice on building matters to the various parties involved in construction projects. Bring to their awareness important building considerations and consult on construction budgets.
  • Provide cost benefit analysis reports: Prepare, compile and communicate reports with broken-down cost analysis on the proposal and budget plans of the company. Analyse a project or investment’s financial or social costs and benefits in advance over a given period.
  • Meet building regulations: Communicate with construction inspection, e.g. by submitting schemes and plans, to make sure all construction regulations, laws and codes are dealt with correctly.
  • Satisfy technical requirements: Take into consideration technical requirements coming from the clients or from the engineers in order to integrate them into the design.
  • Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to products and services.
  • Analyse problems for opportunities: Identify and anticipate problems in order to choose a course of action, come up with appropriate solutions or even identify opportunities for further development.
  • Design buildings: Design buildings and housing projects in cooperation with communities, clients, and other professionals.
  • Negotiate with stakeholders: Negotiate compromises with stakeholders and strive to reach the most beneficial agreements for the company. May involve building relationships with suppliers and customers, as well as ensuring products are profitable.
  • Integrate measures in architectural designs: Integrate measurements, taken at sites or included in the project, into the design and drafting of architectural projects. Integrate considerations such as fire safety, acoustics, and building physics.
  • Develop architectural plans: Draft a master plan for building sites and landscape plantings. Prepare detailed development plans and specifications in accordance with applicable laws. Analyse private development plans for their accuracy, appropriateness, and compliance with laws.
  • Consider building constraints in architectural designs: Conceive the different types of constraints faced in architecture and building projects, including budgetary, time, labour, material, and natural constraints.
  • Perform field research: Participate in field research and evaluation of state and private lands and waters.
  • Identify necessary human resources: Determine the number of employees needed for the realisation of a project and their allocation in the creation, production, communication or administration team.
  • Use CAD software: Use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimisation of a design.
  • Conduct field work: Conduct field work or research which is the collection of information outside of a laboratory or workplace setting. Visit places in order to collect specific information about the field.
  • Create architectural sketches: Create architectural sketches for the design and detail specifications of interiors and exteriors to scale.
  • Integrate building requirements of clients in the architectural design: Interpret clients’ requirements for building projects and integrate them into the design of the construction while considering feasibility and budget constraints.
  • Interpret technical requirements: Analyse, understand and apply the information provided regarding technical conditions.
  • Draw blueprints: Draw layout specifications for machinery, equipment and building structures. Specify which materials should be used and the size of the components. Show different angles and views of the product.
  • Write an architectural brief: Draft a brief that discusses the client’s requirements. This brief outlines design specifications and instructions as to what is expected of the architect such as costs, technique, aesthetic, social and environmental contexts, and time frame.
  • Execute feasibility study: Perform the evaluation and assessment of the potential of a project, plan, proposition or new idea. Realise a standardised study that is based on extensive investigation and research to support the process of decision-making.
  • Design open spaces: Design social areas and open spaces working in cooperation with communities, clients and other professionals.
  • Integrate engineering principles in architectural design: Integrate engineering principles in architectural design under the guidance of engineers from different fields. Integrate electrical, civil, etc. engineering in architectural drafting.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of architect. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Fine arts: The theory and techniques required to compose, produce and perform works of visual arts as drawing, painting, sculpture and other art forms.
  • Construction legal systems: The different legal systems and regulations governing construction activities across Europe.
  • Engineering principles: The engineering elements like functionality, replicability, and costs in relation to the design and how they are applied in the completion of engineering projects.
  • Furniture trends: The latest trends and manfacturers in the furniture industry.
  • Cartography: The study of interpreting the elements depicted in maps, the measures and technical specifications.
  • Mathematics: Mathematics is the study of topics such as quantity, structure, space, and change. It involves the identification of patterns and formulating new conjectures based on them. Mathematicians strive to prove the truth or falsity of these conjectures. There are many fields of mathematics, some of which are widely used for practical applications.
  • Zero-energy building design: The design and building principle whereby the net amount of energy used by the building equals the amount of renewable energy created by the building itself. The concept refers to self-sustaining constructions.
  • Landscape architecture: The principles and practices used in the architecture and design of outdoor areas.
  • Energy performance of buildings: Factors that contribute to lower energy consumption of buildings. Building and renovation techniques used to achieve this. Legislation and procedures regarding energy performance of buildings.
  • Physics: The natural science involving the study of matter, motion, energy, force and related notions.
  • Project management: Understand project management and the activities that comprise this area. Know the variables implied in project management such as time, resources, requirements, deadlines, and responding to unexpected events.
  • Historic architecture: The techniques and styles of various historical periods from an architectural standpoint.
  • Topography: Graphic representation of the surface features of a place or region on a map indicating their relative positions and elevations.
  • Energy efficiency: Field of information concerning the reduction of energy use. It encompasses calculating energy consumption, providing certificates and support measures, saving energy by reducing the demand, encouraging efficient use of fossil fuels, and promoting the use of renewable energy.
  • Furniture wood types: Types of wood used in the manufacturing of wooden furniture and their characteristics.
  • Building materials industry: Supplier, brands and types of products and goods available on the market of building materials.
  • Architectural conservation: The practice of recreating forms, features, shapes, compositions, and architectural techniques of past constructions in order to preserve them.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of architect. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Participate in governmental tenders: Filling out documentation, guarantees for participation in govenmental tenders.
  • Follow work schedule: Manage the sequence of activities in order to deliver completed work on agreed deadlines by following a work schedule.
  • Advise customers on building materials: Provide customers with detailed advice on various building materials; recommend sustainable development and promote the use of green materials such as wood, straw and bamboo; promote recycling and the use of renewable or non-toxic materials.
  • Oversee construction project: Make sure that the construction project is carried out in compliance with the building permit, the execution plans, the performance and design specifications, and the relevant regulations.
  • Prepare lesson content: Prepare content to be taught in class in accordance with curriculum objectives by drafting exercises, researching up-to-date examples etc.
  • Advise legislators: Give advice on various government and legislative duties, such as policy creation and the inner workings of a governmental department, to government officials in legislative positions, such as members of parliament, government ministers, senators, and other legislators.
  • Liaise with local authorities: Maintain the liaison and exchange of information with regional or local authorities.
  • Carry out tendering: Place the request for a quotation to the organisation requesting a tender, then perform the work or supply the goods agreed with them during the tendering process.
  • Communicate with construction crews: Exchange information with the construction crews or supervisors to ensure smooth progress of the construction project. Obtain updates on the progress and any obstacles, and inform the crews of any changes in the schedule or procedures.
  • Strive for harmonious architectural constructions: Design and develop constructions that keep the balance between nature and buildings. Ensure that the incorporation of buildings in a site preserves the harmony of the place.
  • Use specialised design software: Developing new designs by mastering specialised software.
  • Monitor parameters’ compliance in construction projects: Monitors progress in construction sites and the compliance of various parameters outlined in the design phase such as quality, costs, timeline, and contractors’ responsibilities.
  • Communicate with local residents: Explain building and landscaping projects to local residents in order to obtain their approval and co-operation.
  • Ensure compliance with construction project deadline: Plan, schedule and monitor the building processes to ensure project completion by the set deadline.
  • Make architectural mock-ups: Make a scale model that represents the vision and specifications of the construction project to allow the design team to review details such as colour and materials selection, and to show and discuss the project with the customers.
  • Finish project within budget: Make sure to stay within budget. Adapt work and materials to budget.
  • Manage contracts: Negotiate the terms, conditions, costs and other specifications of a contract while making sure they comply with legal requirements and are legally enforceable. Oversee the execution of the contract, agree on and document any changes.
  • Prepare building permit applications: Fill in the forms and prepare any additional documentation needed to file an application to receive the construction permit required for erecting, renovating, and modifying buildings.
  • Develop a specific interior design: Develop a conceptual interior design fitting the global mood the room(s) must convey, according to the agreed-upon quality standards. Adhere to a client’s order for a domestic area or to the concept of an artistic production, such as a movie or a theatre play.
  • Develop professional network: Reach out to and meet up with people in a professional context. Find common ground and use your contacts for mutual benefit. Keep track of the people in your personal professional network and stay up to date on their activities.
  • Adapt existing designs to changed circumstances: Adapt an existing design to changed circumstances and ensure that the artistic quality of the original design is reflected in the final result.
  • Provide technical expertise: Provide expert knowledge in a particular field, especially concerning mechanical or scientific subjects, to decision-makers, engineers, technical staff or journalists.
  • Provide lesson materials: Ensure that the necessary materials for teaching a class, such as visual aids, are prepared, up-to-date, and present in the instruction space.
  • Assess environmental impact: Monitor environmental impacts and carry out assessments in order to identify and to reduce the organisation’s environmental risks while taking costs into account.

ISCO group and title

2161 – Building architects

  1. Architect – ESCO
  2. Architects : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Featured image: Photo by Pedro Miranda on Unsplash
Last updated on January 5, 2024