How to Become an Architect


If you’ve got a passion for project design and architecture, you may be considering a fulfilling career in the field. It can be hard to get started in a desired career and even harder to change career-path without knowing exactly how to go about it.
For some inspiration to whet your appetite, KSR Architects display an impressive portfolio showcasing their unbelievably stunning projects from all over the world, and of all kinds from houses to hotels. Take a look at their portfolio (example image above) – perfection with KSR is clearly not negotiable! This architectural company are a picture-perfect example of exactly what luxury architects aim to emulate, and should give you something to aspire to as a budding architect!


What Does an Architect Do? 

Let’s start with the basics before delving into how to become an architect, and potentially learning it is not for you. In short, an architect’s main role is to design buildings, create plans and oversee the project for his or her clients. Architects design a variety of types of buildings; for example, houses, schools and tower blocks. However, some choose to specialise concerning the projects they take on – luxury buildings, skyscrapers etc. An architect’s involvement with a project is from start to finish, which can obviously be extremely rewarding!


Types of Architects

  • Commercial architect:

As a commercial architect, you will take on ‘public’ properties; schools, government buildings, shopping centres etc.

  • Industrial architect:

This type of architect deals with projects like bridges and dams, sometimes alongside engineers.

  • Residential architect:

Your clients will mainly be homeowners who will work with you to achieve their dream property, and trust you to make your plans reality. For this, you will need to be aware of local regulations as they can vary depending on location e.g you may be hired to design and build a home in an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ (AONB) which may cause complications.


What Skills Do You Need?

A passion for design and architecture, in general, is step one and clearly very important.
Other than the obvious, and probably why you are reading this, here is a list of other skills required to be successful as an Architect:

  • Mathematical skills
  • Sketching to draw up plans
  • Design Software skills
  • Communication skills (to deal with clients)
  • Time management


Qualifications to Be an Architect

In terms of qualifications, the road is rather long as you are required to be highly trained over several years of specialist and specific higher-education. You must complete around 7 years of demanding education at a university before you can legally assign the term ‘architect’ to yourself. The years may vary depending on where you are in the world, but 7 years is the minimum expectation in the UK.

It is possible to do a course part-time, perfect for those wanting to earn a wage alongside qualifying. However, this will prolong the process of becoming an architect – but it may work better for you and your personal circumstances.

Generally, universities ask applicants to have obtained 5 GCSE’s (A*-C) including maths and English, but some places may ask for at least a B in maths for the purposes of an architectural course. In addition, at least 3 A-Levels are required in any subject. Without these qualifications, some universities may grant entry based on an impressive and promising portfolio.

Once you are in, there are various stages to completion:

Stage one: This will basically be undertaking an undergraduate degree as validated by the Royal institute of Architects (RIBA). This stage, like other undergrad courses, will take 3 to 4 years. By the end of it you will have a background in basic design, software drawing, professional sketching and knowledge of historical, material and technical issues.

Stage two: Once you have completed your degree, you will be required to do a year of practical work experience. Your work will be monitored by your university and your employer to build up a portfolio. If successful, you will progress to the next stage.

Stage three: Back to university for a 2 year post-graduate degree. Here you may be able to specialise, depending on what your university offers; for example, green architecture.

Stage four: After your post-grad, you will need to complete another year’s practical work experience.

Stage five: If successful in your year of work experience, you will be able to take the final exam – the Advanced Diploma in Professional Practice in Architecture (ADPPA) which runs over three days! The exam consists of an open book office-based exam, submission of your CV, a case-study, a self-evaluation and exam-style questions.

Once you have passed the ADPPA, you are a legally qualified architect!
Becoming an Architect is a long and demanding process, but it is a rewarding, well-paid and highly respected profession – all the years of hard work will pay off if you are serious about pursuing architecture.