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Debunked: Six myths about Architects

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Every industry carries their own myths and misconceptions, architecture is no different. It’s one of the most creative career paths, but many people are misinformed about this line of work. We’re here to set the record straight about architects.

Myth #1: Architects are the same as architectural designers

Many companies offer “architectural design” services, but that doesn’t always mean the firm is made up of architects. To call yourself an architect, you must be registered with the New Zealand Institute of Architects. It’s the official body for architects and protects their interests as professionals. Typically, it takes seven years for an architect to qualify and to register with the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB). They must have also done a five-year architecture degree. Architectural designers, however, are not protected by the regulatory body and do not require any specific qualifications.

Myth #2: Architects cost too much

An architect’s fee is only a small part of the cost of a construction project. When we think of architects, we often think of grand structures, skyscrapers, etc. - however, it pays to remember that every structure originated from an architect, even low-budget projects – that multi storey car park in town didn’t design itself. Quality architects will always be transparent about budgets and will be willing to explain how any quoted figures add up. Remember: Architects solve problems in the planning stage to avoid construction issues, that may be expensive to rectify.

Myth #3: Architects just design new buildings

Architecture isn’t just about designing buildings. They also spend a lot of their careers adapting, expanding, re-imagining existing buildings. Alterations to houses and making buildings more sustainable is common practice in New Zealand. The ability to make changes and re-think structures is an integral part of an architect’s job.

Myth #4: Architects only do drawings

While drawing does make up a lot of an architect’s work, they are also responsible for a range of other tasks. This includes doing things like energy and costs analysis, specifying materials, hiring subcontractors and supervising construction. The architect has to make sure the design is being constructed in the right way, and that it meets the client’s budget and brief.

Myth #5: Architects just care about how buildings look

Architects are concerned about more than just a building’s appearance. It’s their jobs to make sure their design is accessible, comfortable and enjoyable for the people using it. A building is, in this sense, the solution to a complicated sum of sizes, scales and weights. Architects are trained to combine this practical information with creative and imaginative designs, producing buildings that will stand the test of time.

Myth #6: Architects only work for rich people

A huge misconception about architects is they only design structures for the rich. However, architects work with a wide range of clients with various budgets. In New Zealand, architects have designed thousands of projects for city councils and charities. They also design apartments and affordable houses for agencies such as Housing New Zealand.

There are a lot of myths about architects, but it’s a role that requires a high level of design and technical skills. Architects must be excellent problem solvers whilst having the ability to collaborate and share their knowledge with clients. Despite all the challenges in this profession, it remains a rewarding job for this interested in expressing their creative vision to the world.

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