Architecture is practiced by the invisible professionals, the rare architect. A lot of people have no idea what architects do. Think about all of those dramas on television. They all revolve around overly attractive doctors and lawyers. The only shows about architecture generally completely skip over the architect and feature interior designers. Sometimes it’s even just the clients and the builder. The only mainstream TV architects are Ted Mosby (failed at architecture and started teaching), Marshal Darling (a ridiculous caricature), and Mike Brady who didn’t really bring his work home. This lack of exposure in mainstream television is probably partially a reflection the rarity of these professionals in reality.
I have some numbers to back up our rarity. As a profession, there is approximately one registered architect per 2,881 people in this country. Lawyers have a ratio of 1 per 244 and doctors a ratio of 1 per 297. Odds are, you probably don’t know any architects. Making matters worse, the majority of architects work on larger commercial projects which most people will never be involved with. This rarity and lax licensing requirements in many areas have led for the gap to be filled by unlicensed designers. Some designers are actually quite good at what they do, but the amount of training and experience can vary wildly.
An architect has been through at least 5 years of schooling and a 3 year internship program. Before they can even sit for the licensing exam, they’ve put over 10,000 hours into the field. By some theories, this makes them experts out the door. This is comparable to lawyers and not too far behind doctors. Believe it or not, there are actually lower bars for entry for engineers, although they are generally extremely specialized comparatively. Designers can be anyone who has gone through the process but never taken the test at the best. The other end is someone who really enjoys HGTV and decides to make a go of it as a business.
Advantages of Architects
If you’re lucky enough to know an architect, you can avail yourself of our experience and qualifications. Since you’re reading this on an architect’s website, we really feel you should be able to find one to talk to now. Architects can help with a wide variety of building services. The obvious ones are the design and detailing of your structure. Less obvious are things like site selection, site planning, feasibility studies, permit applications, zoning approvals, project management, sometimes even design/build services. Think about how many people you know, most of us have a circle of a few hundred at most. That does not make great odds that you know an architect personally or what we can do to help. I’ve always give the same advice. Contact a rare architect anytime you are interested in constructing and they will be happy to let you know how they can help.