Architects are professionals who are licensed to create and oversee the overall aesthetics of building structures. But although most people know they are design experts, not many are aware that there are actually different types of architects that specialise in diverse sectors and projects.
The area of specialisation that many architects choose to pursue is often dependent on the architect’s training, interests, and career history. While there are many local architects in the UK, the number of top-notch firms that employ different types of architecture specialists is limited. This is because most firms would often focus on just one or two specialisations.
Knowing the type of architects involved in a construction project is important in order to determine whether they have the right skill set to effectively consult on the build.
The different types of architecture are often characterised by the structure’s design and period of construction. When it comes to the different types of architects, licensed professionals are categorised based on the types of structures they most frequently design.
Here are the eight different types of architects specialising in various sectors.
Many students of architecture will tell you that their dream is to design high-rise buildings that will define a city’s skyline or maybe create the next iconic tourist spot that will be photographed by millions of people. These types of structures are designed by commercial architects.
A commercial architect is a type of architect that specialises in designing building projects such as retail shops, office towers, hotels, museums, hospitals, public buildings, government centres, and other non-residential properties. These architects are experts in designing buildings that are functional and practical for a large number of building users whilst also aspiring to be memorable or even inspirational places.
Aside from having superb design skills, a commercial architect is required to have a full understanding of commercial building codes, safety regulations, and the financials involved in construction.
Designing a beautiful home is probably considered as a basic architectural task. In this generation where cookie cutter homes are more common due to the practicality and affordability they provide to homeowners, many people may not see residential architecture as an exceptional speciality.
But some of the world’s most famous architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier have designed residential homes that became world famous. Even British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, who was better known for her neo-futurist commercial buildings designed at least one private residence, albeit unconventional.
Residential architects typically work with private clients and real estate developers to develop stylish and functional dwellings for homeowners. When designing a customised house for a single client, a residential architect must have the creative skills to turn a client’s dream home into reality while still keeping it functional and within budget. Residential architects also need to be familiar with the local building codes and neighbourhood restrictions, as well as have the ability to adapt to these limitations.
Buildings, both domestic and non-domestic, remain as huge contributors to greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. More people are becoming aware of how structures negatively impact the environment and this is why sustainable architecture is increasingly becoming in-demand.
Sustainable architects possess an expertise in creating environmental-friendly and energy efficient builds. They are knowledgeable in the best sustainable products and green building methods to utilise in order to meet necessary standards. These architects must be proficient when it comes to using innovative construction features and must be imaginative in finding ways to integrate these innovations into a functional and visually appealing space. They also work closely with the construction industry supply chain to ensure that local skilled and unskilled labour resources and locally produced materials and components are used wherever possible for the building.
Specialising in sustainable architecture also means that an architect is also more likely to present designs that fit within the natural environment in a non-obtrusive way.
Industrial architects lend their expertise in designing spaces where functional requirements are topmost priority. The buildings typically designed by industrial architects include warehouses, factories, storage buildings, distribution and logistics facilities, production and processing plants, power plants, transport hubs and terminals, and many more.
An industrial architect is a type of architect who is able to translate and integrate the different processes, machinery, equipment, and other requirements of a specific industry into a functional building design. The main goal of industrial architects is to be able to provide a space that can help streamline the operations of a business while providing an ergonomic space for its users.
The UK is home to many of the world’s most remarkable structures. But just like any other building, these historical properties are vulnerable to normal wear and tear. Conservation architects are experts that specialise in conservation consultancy and in the restoration of these protected and historic properties. They often work with listed buildings such as museums, castles, palaces, ecclesiastical buildings, and even residential properties that hold historical interest.
These architects display an in-depth understanding of period architecture which aids them in effectively preserving the beauty and craftsmanship of historic buildings, while still making sure that the building inhabitants are able to enjoy functionalities expected in modern living. Conservation architects are also knowledgeable when it comes to the legislation and regulations involved when renovating or extending listed buildings.
As the term implies, landscape architects specialise in the design and development of outdoor spaces such as private and public gardens, lawns, parks, squares, orchards, and building walkways. They are also involved in designing projects such as golf courses, resorts, and other recreational spaces.
These architects have an expertise in horticulture because they are the ones who determine what types of trees, plants, flowers, and other greenery should be placed in specific spaces. They base such decisions on factors such as climate, the location of the property, and what types of greenery will thrive in the chosen environment.
Because of the increasing popularity of sustainable design, landscape architects are not only limited to outdoor spaces. Many landscape architects now work with sustainable architects on how to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces in a seamless manner.
Architects who specialise in urban design are involved in city planning and are focused on the design of an area as a whole, rather than of individual buildings. Whether they are working on improving an existing city or a completely new district, urban designers decide where certain building facilities required by the community should be located.
In simple terms, they decide where the residential houses, commercial shops, public utility buildings, street networks, bridges, and other infrastructures will be built within a city or town.
Interior architects should not be confused with interior designers. While the two roles may seem to serve the same purpose, interior architects are licensed and accredited architects focused on the art as well as the science of designing an interior space. This means that aside from just the décor of the space, they are also concerned with the structural components of how that design will take shape. Along with their strong interior design skills, they also possess a technical know-how on building methods and construction.
Many residential and commercial towers only offer unadorned shell spaces to occupants so this is where interior architects come in. They are not only concerned with the styling and furnishings of the property, but they are also responsible for converting a black space into a habitable environment.
When embarking on a construction project, it is important for a client to know the different types of architects in order to understand the professional skills available within a practice. Having the right type of architect with professional experience and training can massively impact the success of the build.