Become an Architect

As an architect you have the opportunity to make a significant difference to the quality of all peoples lives as architecture materially affects every aspect of daily activity. Architecture can positively impact the environment from the scale of individual buildings, to the scale of cities and affect the way people live, work and study, their health and well-being and that of their communities.

Architects take into account the specific context of a project including considerations such as cultural, social, and economic circumstances, as well as physical considerations like location, landscape, climate, and materials.

It is a fascinating, challenging, invigorating and rewarding career that allows you to work with a diverse range of people under different circumstances and on very varied aspects of and types of projects.

It is also a career that promotes life long learning and allows for career development encompassing the widest range of fields imaginable. Architecture practice can be sustained well past conventional retirement ages; many architects continue to enjoy a rewarding career well into their eighties and beyond.

Architecture suits those with creative and enquiring minds. There is as much requirement for artistic talent as technical skills, and there are administrative, leadership and communication elements to the job as well. Often architects tend to be stronger in a particular part of the job, and work together in teams where the members’ strengths complement each other’s skills.

Architects are involved in a range of scales in the built environment, from the domestic scale of furniture and fine detailing to the scale of the city. Work frequently involves collaboration and interaction with many people and groups; the client, project managers, other consultants, contractors, tenants, community groups, local authorities and other statutory bodies.

There are many ways in which you can be involved in architecture as a career. Several options can be pursued after the foundation Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) under-graduate degree, a foundation programme in the design of buildings and the environments around them. This can lead on to a graduate programme in Architecture, (the design of buildings), Landscape Architecture, (environmental planning and design), Urban Design, (the design of whole city precincts), and City and Regional Planning.

Possible career paths in the field include:

Architectural technologist
Draughtsperson
3d Visualisation
Architecture
Interior Architecture
Landscape architecture
Urban Design
City & Regional Planning
Conservation
Master Planning
Project Management
Mediation and Arbitration

If you are interested in pursuing a career in architecture, try to learn as much about it as possible and think about how it affects your everyday life and that of the people around you. Attend open days at universities and look out for lectures by prominent architects. Take the opportunity of events organised by the Institute like the Open Studios programme to visit practices to see how architects work. Speak to people in the industry, and go to design and creative events such as Design Indaba, Open Design Cape Town, and Creative Week Cape Town where you will see all sorts of ways in which architecture plays a role in the city.

Studying Architecture

In the Western Cape, you can study architecture at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Architecture courses are frequently studio and project based, with students working individually or in groups, encouraged to develop solutions to design problems, often presented for discussion as models and drawings, as a way of bringing together theory and practice.

Courses include architectural theory, design, technical aspects and theory of structures, art and architecture history, social sciences, and a wide range of related subjects.

At UCT you can pursue several options after the foundation Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) under-graduate degree, a foundation programme in the design of buildings and the environments around them. This can lead on to a graduate programme in Architecture, (the design of buildings), Landscape Architecture, (environmental planning and design), Urban Design, (the design of whole city precincts), and City and Regional Planning.

CPUT offers a National Diploma, Bachelor of Technology (BTech) Degree and Masters of Technology (MTech) Degree in Architectural Technology within its faculty of Informatics and Design.

It is worth contacting these institutions to find out what the admission requirements are for your preferred course as soon as possible.

For more information visit:

http://www.cput.ac.za/academic/faculties/informaticsdesign
http://www.ebe.uct.ac.za/departments/apg/