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Architecture is the art and science of designing and constructing the built environment in ways that support all the different kinds of human activity and interaction. This Creative Careers Guide introduces some of the key roles in the architectural industry, and the skills required to do them. Note: The bigger the firm, the more these positions are fragmented and the smaller the firm, the more one person will carry out many different jobs.

 

DESIGN

Architect

An architect is someone who plans, designs, and reviews the construction of buildings. An architect designs the look, shape and function of a building and has a responsibility for ensuring that buildings are safe and legally compliant.

Skills required: Design, engineering and technical knowledge, social and cultural awareness and research, ability to communicate ideas and listen to clients, understanding of materials, legal knowledge, project and time management and teamwork.

 

Interior Architect

Interior architects are responsible for designing the function of the interior spaces of buildings to meet the needs of the intended users. Interior architects consider all aspects from the placement of walls to the positioning of doors, windows and light fittings walls. Interior architects also have a responsibility for ensuring that interiors are safe and legally compliant.

Skills required: Design, engineering and technical knowledge, social and cultural awareness, UX-user experience and human behaviour research, ability to communicate ideas and listen to clients, understanding of materials, legal knowledge, project and time management and teamwork.

 

Interior Designer

Interior designers plan and supervise the design and decoration of the inside of buildings focusing on the aesthetics and functions of interior spaces. Interior designers are responsible for colour schemes and selecting decorative items such as furniture, soft furnishing, lighting and art work lighting.

Skills required: Creativity, imagination, ability to communicate ideas and listen to clients, understanding of user needs, eye for detail and colour sense, illustration and technical drawing, project and time management and teamwork.

 

Interior Stylist

Interior stylists plan and stage the look and feel of interior spaces for specific projects such as magazine photoshoots, advertisements, lookbooks for brands, designers and companies, and other lifestyle shoots.

Skills required: Creativity, imagination, ability to communicate ideas and listen to clients, understanding of user needs, eye for detail and colour sense, illustration and technical drawing, teamwork.

 

Landscape Architect/Designer

Landscape architects plan, design, create and manage attractive and functional spaces landscapes within the environments we live and work in. Responsibilities include planning the locations of buildings, roads, walkways, trees and flowers beds, and creating public parks, gardens, playgrounds and residential areas and more.

Skills required: Creativity, design and drawing, technical, observation and an eye for detail, understanding of user needs, ability to communicate ideas and listen to clients, teamwork, project and time management and knowledge of horticulture.

 

Exhibition Designer

Exhibition designers are responsible for designing the spaces and presenting the work of cultural institutions such as museums and galleries; or commercial focused institutions trade in the form of trade shows, conferences and showcases.

Skills required: Creativity, design and drawing, technical, observation and an eye for detail, understanding of user needs, ability to communicate ideas and listen to clients, teamwork, and project management.

 

  

PLANNING

Project Manager

A project manager is responsible for seeing that all projects run smoothly, and include areas such as budgeting and scheduling client contracts. Project managers are responsible for ensuring that the project is completed as per the client’s instructions and specifications.

Skills required: Leadership, team management, negotiation, ability to communicate and listen, financial skills, time management and critical thinking.

 

Planners

Planners are responsible for the management and development of towns, cities and rural areas. Other titles include Town Planner and Urban Planner depending on the area of focus. Their work helps to create communities, accommodate population growth and revitalise physical facilities among other things.

Skills required: Leadership, negotiation, presentation, ability to communicate and listen, project and time management, research and writing and understanding of environments and communities.

 

Model Makers

Model Makers visualise the ideas of architects, landscape architects and planners by creating 3D models. Model Makers are also known as Visualisation / Architectural Renderers.

Skills required: Craft and artistic, drawing and IT, practical thinking and a methodical approach to construction, ability to read plans and technical drawings, mathematics, and patience.

 

Architectural Drafter/CAD Technician

Architectural drafters produce the technical drawings needed to construct the designed buildings and spaces.

Skills required: IT, Computer Aided Design [CAD], mathematics, practical thinking.

 

 

 

CONSTRUCTION

Architectural Engineer

Architectural engineers bridge the gap between architects and engineers. Architectural engineers explore the ways in which to combine the construction, design and operation of a building by creating efficient buildings and building systems, such as structural, electrical, mechanical, lighting, acoustics, ventilation, sustainability and fire protection to ensure that designs meet the intended function and safety requirements.

Skills required: Mechanical aptitude, science, mathematics, engineering, practical thinking, attention to detail, analytical mind, creative problem solving and good communication.

 

Surveyor

Surveyors provide professional advice on property and construction. Their role includes completing detailed reports called building surveys. Surveyors also value the worth of properties by identifying defects and advising on repair and maintenance.

Skills required: Science, maths and engineering skills, the ability to analyse and interpret graphical data, communication, negotiating and presentation skills.

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On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

To say that it is an exciting time for African design and creativity would be a gross understatement! We are in a time of rapid advancement and unbridled creative expression, that is setting the foundations and standards for future generations to build on. And like many other emerging industries in Africa, creativity is opening up opportunities to those who are willing to seize them. And seizing them designers are!

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I invite you to visit our website to discover more. [Link in bio]

Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
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