Architecture

FIND AN ARCHITECT




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What is Architecture?

Architecture is everywhere. Each and every building: home, school, office, hospital and supermarket were designed for their particular purpose. It is of vital importance that these buildings, and in turn the environments they form and the neighbourhoods and cities they are a part of, are designed to be the best possible buildings for their specific context, use and the people who use them.

Architecture has the ability to materially affect outcomes: it can affect the way we relate to each other, increase business productivity, support communities and neighbourhoods, improve health, and even decrease crime.

Architecture also has the power to inspire and delight – it can enhance everyday experiences.

There is no one-size-fits approach in architecture, each building project should respond to its very unique context: site, climate, social, budget and materials.

Buildings also need to be able to age well, to adapt to changing requirements and have flexibility to accommodate various uses. They also should be built sustainably, in both the materials that they use during construction, and the energy resources that they require to function.


What architects do

A registered architect will help you achieve your objectives for a project and guide you through the design and construction process. Working with an architect can add value to your business, by enhancing perception, performance and productivity.

Architects provide a service that includes far more than producing design and construction drawings – they also handle the administration of a project, oversee the construction process, ensure that you get the best value for your money, and approach the project in an imaginative and creative way, while ensuring that it is delivered on time and on budget.

Architects will examine the requirements of the project to arrive at a detailed brief that responds to the specific requirements and context, including such considerations as cultural, social, and economic circumstances, as well as physical considerations like location, landscape, climate, and materials, and work with the client towards a creative solution achieved within the identified opportunities and constraints.

The role of an architect also includes overseeing and coordinating the team of consultants, managing the programme, costs and construction process.

Architects undergo up to seven years of training, more than any other professional in the construction industry.

Only architects registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) may practice or provide architectural services directly to the public. This also includes Architectural Technologists and Draughtsperson.

Architecture has the ability to materially affect outcomes: it can affect the way we relate to each other, increase business productivity, support communities and neighbourhoods, improve health, and even decrease crime.

Architecture also has the power to inspire and delight – it can enhance everyday experiences.

There is no one-size-fits approach in architecture, each building project should respond to its very unique context: site, climate, social, budget and materials.

Buildings also need to be able to age well, to adapt to changing requirements and have flexibility to accommodate various uses. They also should be built sustainably, in both the materials that they use during construction, and the energy resources that they require to function.




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Working with an architect

There is no one-size-fits approach in architecture, all building projects are unique, with each client’s differing requirements, each site’s specific conditions, and so every brief is distinctive. Selecting an architect to work on your project is an important decision, as you will have a long term working relationship, working towards the right design solution for your project.

If you are thinking of hiring an architect for your project, it is worth contacting a few architectural practices, and arranging an initial meeting where you can learn about their approach and work. The CIfA offers an online directory of its members find an architect

It is important to have thought about your own aspirations for your project, your budget, and any specialist requirements that you may have so that you can discuss your brief. Architects will generally want to work from first principles and not only from a schedule of spaces required.

Another way to select an architect for larger projects is to hold a design competition. This is particularly suited to unusual or prestigious projects where additional time and expense can be justified.

Working with an architect usually includes the following processes:

  • Research into the brief, client’s objectives, nature of the site and its surroundings, building programme, town planning and legal issues and any other constraints.
  • Preparation of a creative solution to the brief as a design concept taking into account all the above factors.
  • Development of this design.
  • Preparation of technical documentation for the planning application to the local authority and any other bodies required to vet the proposal,.
  • Preparation of technical documentation for pricing and construction.
  • Administer the construction phase of the project and the building contract, from selecting contractors, costings, and coordinate the project team.
  • Carry out inspections, certify the various completion stages and administer the close out phases of the project.

Working with an architect is a long-standing relationship over the course of (usually) a couple of years at least for a residential project, and even longer for a commercial building. It is a collaborative process between client and architect, and the project team, and it can be a very rewarding process to see your aspirations for your project realised in a physical construction.

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) , School of Explorative architecture (SEA) 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/