Career Story: Commercial Architect

Commercial Architect

Job Title: Architect

Type of Company: My company is an architectural design and planning business.

Education: B.Arch, Syracuse University School of Architecture

Previous Experience: I worked at an architectural firm for four years prior to working at my present one.

Job Tasks: My primary job is designing buildings and creating schematics for contractors to build from. I work closely with many consultants and incorporate their work in our designs.

On any given day I'll be working on the details of a part of a building or helping refine the overall design of the project. Depending what phase the design is in, I'll be generating actual design drawings or reviewing shop drawings for parts of the building to be fabricated.

Many studies need to be completed and reviewed when we're coming up with a design and which will best support the project designer's "intent." We spend long hours drawing on computers and building small-scale models. Some of these are 3-dimensional and help us visualize the edifice and see where the its design problems are. Once these have been rectified, the design can move forward into the next phase and be developed in detail.

Developing the details of a building takes a lot of time and patience. You have to consult with many different trades to make sure nothing interferes with their work. Dimensions have to be figured out, devices located, furniture layouts tested and mechanical equipment spec'ed out. Lots of little parts go into making up the building as a whole.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is seeing all the diverse and creative designs that are created. Every project is unique and it is great to see and go to different parts of the country and world.

The worst part of the job is the long hours that are required to produce the design and stick to schedules.

Job Tips:
1. If you are serious about getting into this field I suggest you start working in an office right away. School can teach you the basics of drawing and design, but there is nothing like real-world experience.

2. Ask questions. There are no bad questions. Ask how things are done and why.

3. Talk to someone who has been in the business for a while and find out what they know. The more you get from others the better you will be.

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