At a glance
Architects design buildings. They combine art and science, using creative ways to build buildings that are functional yet aesthetically pleasing. They are involved at every stage of the construction process. They meet with clients so they can design a building that meets the client's particular needs. They prepare sketches and scale-size construction drawings. They work with city officials to ensure construction sites are properly zoned for new buildings. Architects also supervise the construction of the building itself.
Many people and groups hire, or "commission," architects. These include private citizens, construction contractors, urban planners, corporations, government agencies and local authorities.
Architects may work for themselves, or they may work for others in architectural, engineering and planning firms. They may also work for government agencies, for commercial, industrial and institutional organizations or for development and real estate companies. Some architects specialize in a particular aspect of architecture. For instance, an architect may specialize in designing cultural buildings, health care buildings, schools, housing, historic sites (restoration), environmentally friendly buildings or recreational buildings.
Architect Dana Cuff says many movie studios in Los Angeles employ specialized architects to design their sets. Architects working within a company may specialize in particular areas so the firm can operate more efficiently. They may focus on things like marketing, project management, programming, writing specifications and estimating costs.