What skills do I need to be an architect?

Architecture has always been a popular career choice for the creatively minded. In the role you will be able to create a lasting impact on society and see your hard work and design skills manifest in physical form.

Fundamentally, the architectural process is the planning, design and construction of buildings and other structures. However, the architect needs to have a number of key skills and qualities to excel in the role. Find out some of these below.

Creativity and Imagination

It goes without saying, but if you’re going to be designing new and unique buildings from scratch then you’ll almost certainly need creativity and imagination in abundance. Architects will usually receive a brief from the client outlining their requirements and aims. This means that while an architect needs to be creative, the real skill is being creative within the parameters set out in the design brief.

Design Skills

Once the initial idea has been generated, strong design skills are essential to be able to visualise and present your vision back to the client. You may need to have fundamental drawing abilities using rulers, pencils and paper to bring your vision to life, or be proficient in using design software on a computer. Either way, being able to effectively design your vision is the key to moving forward with the project.

Numerical Skills

A strong understanding of numerical principles is needed to plan and design structures that are physically viable. Geometry, trigonometry and algebra are the fundamental areas that an architect should have a working understanding of.


Architecture involves a number of significant stakeholders, including the client, regulatory bodies, contractors, suppliers and financial investors. Communication with all these parties is an essential role of an architect because the design is in the interest of all these groups for practical, financial and legal reasons. Effective communication will help to ensure a smooth project from start to finish.

Construction and Engineering Knowledge

Without a fundamental understanding of construction and engineering methods, an architect wouldn’t be able to design a structure that was actually possible to build. Knowledge of materials, processes and tools are important to provide a realistic design to contractors who are tasked with building it.

Problem Solving

Inevitably, problems will arise as in any project. Strong problem-solving skills and analytical thinking will allow for projects to run on time from the design stage to the construction stage, even when faced with challenges. As the chief architect on a project, liaising with other parties to overcome issues is key for the success of the project.

Project Management

An architect’s role will almost always overlap into project management. Once the design stage is completed, a competent project manager will oversee the transition to implementation and be able to address concerns or issues that arise in the construction phase. Project management also requires you to manage and satisfy the agenda of each stakeholder – for example, sticking to project budgets, timelines and regulations.

Do you think you have what it takes to be an architect? Aside from these core skills and qualities, you will need the associated qualifications needed for professional job roles. However, with those qualifications you can work yourself into a potentially rewarding and lucrative career.


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