Part 1 in a seven part series where we learn how the architect invents by creating something of new utility. He is also a
designer and a translator of the owners intentions.
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Hi! My name is Doug Patt, and this is So You want to be an Architect, a seventh part series exploring the profession of Architect.
This is lesson one. What does an Architect do? An Architect can perform many roles including design, specification writer, construction observation, ombudsman, and even in some cases construction. But for the purposes of this discussion, I would like to focus on design.
According to one definition from my Apple computer dictionary, the Architect is a person who is responsible for inventing or realizing a particular idea or project. Another definition states that an Architect is a person who designs buildings. And in many cases supervises their construction. Finally, Wikipedia’s definition works really well. An Architect is a person who translates a user’s requirements into a built environment. To summarize that, an Architect (1) invents, (2) designs buildings, and (3) translates the user’s requirements into a built environment. In a way all three definitions fall under the category of design.
For the purposes of this discussion, let us talk about all three separately. First, we know an architect invents. An inventor creates something out of necessity that does not exist already. In a way, every building, every house, every skyscraper, everything architects create if it is original is an invention.
A building becomes something of an invention by virtue of the specific requirements of the client. Its utility lies in its unique function for the person or people it is designed for.
Second, we know an Architect designs. To design is to plan with a specific purpose in life. To me, designing applies to kind of thoughtful planning relative to a set of parameters. All kinds of things are designed after they are invented, vacuums, sneakers, printers, headphones, telephones, chairs, tables, silverware and of course buildings.
The architect designs buildings after it is conceived or invented. Thirdly, the Architect is a translator in that they translate a user’s requirements into a built environment. When you first meet with an Architect, one of the first discussions is about the program, the program is essentially a description of everything that will be going into the building.
If it is a home, the program includes the number of powder rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms, how many car garage etcetera. If it is an Industrial building, the program includes machinery, offices, technology etcetera. If it is a skyscraper, it includes use, number of occupants, utility spaces, executive suites, number of floors etcetera. In simple terms, the Architect takes the program and turns it into a building. So, we see that while all three of these items: invention, design and translation fall under the category of big D, design, each is vital to the role of an Architect.
So if someone asks you, what does an Architect do? You know to start with; they are inventors, they are designers and they are translators and that concludes the first part of our video series, so you want to an Architect? I am Doug Patt, see you next time on how to Architect?