Careers in Architecture
A career in architecture offers the opportunity to shape the built environment for generations to come. Do you have what it takes? Find out more about qualifications and career opportunities.
Careers in Architecture
This information has been prepared to give you some practical
information about what architecture involves, what qualities you
need to become an architect and the variety of career opportunities
available after completion of a degree in architecture.
What does Architecture encompass?
Architecture brings together the arts, sciences, technology and
environmental awareness. The profession of architecture encompasses
everything that influences the way in which the built environment
is planned, designed, made, used, and maintained.
What does an Architect do?
Architects are professionally trained designers who draw on
creative design skills and broad technical knowledge to provide
integrated forms for the built and natural environments. These
include everything from small buildings, to large or complex
buildings, or even groups of buildings, as well as the spaces
in and around them.
The decisions architects make can have far-reaching
effects. Buildings designed today will not only impact
on today's communities, but also on generations to come.
Therefore, each architect has a social responsibility to design
buildings that consider the needs and enjoyment of the client, but
also take into account the specifics of the site and
surrounding environment and community.
During the four typical phases of a project the architect has a
variety of roles including:
The architect establishes the client's needs, expectations,
project requirements and budget. This information is collated to
prepare a written document called the design brief.
The architect analyses the design brief, site conditions,
features and constraints and determines the best location and
orientation. The architect begins to develop ideas through rough
plans, sketches and models. These ideas are brought together into
concept design drawings that satisfy all planning, aesthetic and
resource management requirements.
Design Development, Documentation and Building Consent
The architect develops the technical detail for the project with
the project team. Detailed drawings and specifications are prepared
to enable builders to tender for the project and accurate material
costings to be prepared. Drawings are lodged to obtain local
authority building consent.
The architect works with the builder and other project team
members to ensure the project is constructed in accordance with the
drawings and specifications.
Are you suited to Architecture?
The role of an architect is quite diverse, and so are the skills
and personal qualities required. These include:
- An ability to analyse and critically assess problems
- An ability to see the big picture as well as to give attention
to the smallest detail
- An ability to communicate effectively
- Imaginative and creative thinking skills
- An understanding of human behaviours
- An understanding of history, culture and environmental
What skills will you develop?
Through their professional education and work experience,
architects will develop:
- A practical and technical understanding of building materials
and elements, structures, construction and services
- Co-ordination and interpersonal skills to manage a complex
project team of consultants
- Negotiation skills to resolve complex building issues
- Lateral thinking skills to solve complex problems
- An ability to mediate and administer a building contract
- Students interested in a career in architecture are encouraged
to develop broad interests in many areas
How to become an Architect
The first step is the completion of Year 12, to enable entry
into a degree program in architecture. While entry to most tertiary
architecture programs has no pre requisites, we suggest that you
contact individual architecture schools to check if there are any
pre requisites before selecting your year 11 subjects and before
applying to a program.
There are a number of secondary school subject areas that can give
a good background to the study of architecture. These include: art,
design, graphics, computer studies, environmental studies, history,
geography, physics, mathematics, communications and technology.
The next step is to enrol in an accredited architecture program.
Your school Careers Advisor can help you with information on how to
enrol. There are currently three accredited architecture
programs offered in New Zealand Schools of Architecture. These
courses vary in duration, flexibility and content. You can obtain
up-to-date information directly from the Schools of Architecture
about their programs and admission requirements and procedures.
Shop around and find the program which best suits your interests
Post-tertiary Training and Registration
Graduates of architecture programs must complete 2-3 years of
on-the-job practical work experience before they can apply to
become a registered architect. Prior to registration, it is
expected that graduates will learn how to competently take an
architectural project through all its phases and to have a
sound knowledge of legal and contractual issues related to the
practice of architecture.
Architecture offers huge scope and can lead to a wide variety of
career choices. While some architects focus on residential or
commercial architecture, there are many other interesting career
paths available to architects. For example, architects involved in
Urban Planning and Urban Design play a pivotal role in
shaping our cities and helping to develop communities. Other
opportunities include specialised architectural projects such
as schools and hospitals, or becoming involved with preservation of
Opportunities include careers in;
- Urban Planning/Urban Design
- Property Development
- Asset Management
- Project Management
- Interior Design
- Environmental Design
- Construction Management
- Facilities Management
- Furniture Design
- Industrial Design
- Construction Law
- Building Conservation
- International Aid
Contacts for the Schools of Architecture
UNITEC New Zealand
Ph: 09 815 4321 Fax: 09 815 4343
University of Auckland
Ph: 09 373 7599 Fax: 09 373 7410
Victoria University of Wellington
Ph: 04 463 6200 Fax: 04 463 6204