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7 Different Types of Architects

Photo collage of different Architects at work.

My first exposure to the architect profession is the dad on the Brady Bunch. He was an architect. I asked my parents what that job entailed.

It sounded cool. What kid who is into Lego and building forts wouldn’t think being an architect is cool? Many people aspire to being an architect.

It’s one of those sexy jobs… it’s reasonably well paid and has a glamor factor because you get to be creative and build cool structures.

In order to become an architect, you need to complete of a 5-year bachelor’s program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). You must apply and be accepted. As you can imagine, like law school, there’s competition for those seats.

Following formal education, most jurisdictions require you complete an internship before getting licensed. After that, you’re free to design and build away.

However, at some point you’ll probably choose an architecture specialty or if that doesn’t appeal to you, opt for a job related to being an architect (i.e. alternative architect job options).

Different Types of Architects

How many types of architects are there? There are several main types of architects who focus on different types of structures and designs. The following is a list of your options.

Residential Architects

Modern house designed by residential architect

Residential architects design homes. They work with homeowners designing custom homes or adjusting existing home plans. They also work with developers and home builders.

For example, if a developer is building a large subdivision, the architect will design a variety of homes that will be built. Most residential architects will be dealing with their clients directly and will also handle many tasks.

The architect will be designing the home, drawing out plans with proper measurements, and even coming up with estimates for the cost of the materials and labor.

You will have a smooth experience if you hire a renowned residential architect to assist you with your new home. You’ll be able to get something designed that truly matches up with your personal sensibilities, making it well worth the effort. Architecture is a very important career path that many choose to walk.

It is a challenging career that can become very lucrative once you have built up a reputation. You should know that there are many different types of architects, though. Residential architects are among the most common type, and these are the professionals who will be helping to design average homes.

Sometimes, people want to be able to have homes that are customized to their liking. In the modern era, it is very common to see neighborhoods with houses that are all the same. Not everyone is a fan of this trend, and this causes many to reach out to professional residential architects.

A residential architect is going to be able to design a home to meet your specifications.

Designing intriguing homes is something that many architects are passionate about. You will find that many of the most sought-after residential architects have created some stunning house designs during their time.

The challenge is to create a home that is truly beautiful, while also being functional for the individual or family. Some house designs will truly allow an architect to push boundaries, and others will be a bit more typical with a few neat features thrown in.

Commercial Architects

Skyscrapears designed by commercial architect

Commercial architects design buildings with a commercial purpose. The include:

  • Office buildings / skyscrapers
  • Hotels
  • Bridges
  • Schools
  • Museums
  • Government buildings
  • Multi-unit residential buildings
  • Pretty much any type of building that’s not a residential home.

Often commercial architects specialize for specific types of projects such as skyscrapers or multi-unit residential buildings. Commercial architects are also a very important branch of this career path.

As you can probably guess, these types of architects are going to be helping to design larger commercial properties.

They will work to design storefronts and other types of commercial buildings for their clients. Architects like this will mostly work with businesses rather than individuals.

It should also be noted that commercial architects will also create different types of public buildings from time to time.

They are going to be very adept at creating beautiful buildings that will be pleasing for a large number of different people.

This can be a very difficult task, as the building needs to be very eye-catching, while also working well for the client’s needs. The best commercial architects understand how to make a building flow, and they will design it in such a way to promote good traffic in retail spaces.

In many ways, being a commercial architect is going to be more complicated than working as a residential architect.

Those who choose this branch of architecture are going to need to understand building codes to a higher degree, and they will also need to possess a certain amount of engineering knowledge. It can be a difficult task to have to create a building that is so important to so many people.

Even so, the best commercial architects are going to thrive in this environment and will relish in the challenges presented by a new job. This is going to be a challenging job to have, but it can be very satisfying. Many of the best architects love taking on these types of jobs.

It allows architects to create buildings that can potentially become important parts of the cities that they occupy for a long time to come. It is a good career path, and commercial architects are always going to be in demand.

Landscape Architects

Landscape architects are a bit different from the other two types of architects that have been discussed so far. A landscape architect is going to be focusing on creating outdoor spaces for people to enjoy.

They will be tasked with creating outdoor structures in spaces such as parks, college campuses, garden areas, and much more.

This isn’t always about designing buildings, either, as creating walking paths and generally designing the layout of the outdoor area is a huge part of the process.

Sometimes landscape architects will have even more on their plate than many other architects due to the sheer size of the area that they are designing. For instance, landscape architects that are designing the layout of a college campus will often have much to consider.

There will usually be a lot of ground to cover, and the architect will need to make things as aesthetically pleasing as possible, while ensuring that traffic flows well.

To be a successful landscape architect, you will need to have a lot of knowledge about plants and what is going to work well in the environment where you are working. This adds a different layer of complexity to this type of architecture when compared to the others that have been mentioned so far.

It isn’t necessarily harder, but it is going to require a different set of skills. The location of every feature in the landscape will be planned out meticulously. It is meant to be an engaging space that piques the interests of visitors while functioning optimally in all other ways.

The balance of unique and desirable features with important sensibilities requires a lot of forethought. The next time you are walking through a park or campus somewhere, you just might think about all of the work that went into planning the space.

Interior Design Architects

Interior design architects are just as important as the architects that design entire buildings. These types of architects have the important job of ensuring that the interior elements of a building look as good as possible. Sometimes people will turn to an interior design specialist to spruce up their existing home.

These experts understand how to get the most out of your living space and will be able to make changes to add to the overall aesthetic appeal of your home.

Of course, those who are working as interior design architects will need to have a deep understanding of design elements. They will need to know everything about the different fabrics that are available and will need real artistic sensibilities.

Many people consider interior design architecture to be something of an art form rather than a task that is carried out with cold logic. It is about understanding how to pair colors up inside of a living space and matching up different elements to form a cohesive whole.

These interior design architects will be working on more than just people’s homes, too.

Professionals such as this will be capable of helping people with the interior design of any building. The design of commercial spaces is also very important, and businesses certainly want everything to be as eye-catching as possible.

The most respected interior design architects will stay in high demand and will be very busy indeed.

It should also be said that not all interior design specialists have a background in architecture.

There are those who just have an eye for details who get into the interior design business without any architectural training. You can certainly hire architects who will be able to take care of your interior design needs, though.

Some architects offer both building design and interior design services in one clean package.

Urban Design Architects

Urban architect designing urban landscape and buildings

Urban design architects have the interesting challenge of making an entire area as beautiful as possible. This is architecture on an even larger scale than just one building. An urban designer is going to be tasked with something such as designing an entire neighborhood.

They will need to consider the layout of the entire block and will have to plan ahead to achieve the desired results. It can be very difficult to design everything in a small section of a city so meticulously. Most urban designers will plan everything out down to very fine details.

Features such as trees and shrubbery will be placed at particular points in the neighborhood. A park area may be included for the purposes of adding some beauty to the area. There is definitely a lot to consider when working on this type of project.

Architects who work in this field wind up having to think about complex particulars, such as street layouts and the skyline. It requires that a person is able to think about things from many perspectives at once. For this reason, it is thought of as one of the more complex types of architecture jobs.

Even so, it is something that can be immensely satisfying for an architect to work on. A large project like this provides a chance for an architect to show off his or her artistic sensibilities and overall skills.

Being able to work with such a large canvas is a great opportunity, and it is something that many architects would love to be able to do.

These architects are going to be serving the entire community of people who will be living in and around the area that is being created. It is a great responsibility that will certainly prove to be challenging and fulfilling.

Green Design Architects

Green design architects have been becoming more prevalent in recent years. With environmental concerns at an all-time high, people are really thinking about the impact that they are having on the environment.

People want to be able to lower their carbon footprints and have as little impact on the environment as possible.

You can hire a green design architect to design a home or another type of building with the most environmentally-friendly techniques out there.

These architects are specifically trained to be able to design homes to be as environmentally-friendly as they can be. There is much that needs to be considered when trying to design homes in this fashion.

You need to be able to design the homes to use as many renewable energy sources as possible while also considering the materials that the home is using.

It isn’t as simple as installing some solar panels on the roof, although that is a common design feature. Architects who are trying to make homes as green as possible will need to have a lot of knowledge in specific areas.

Understanding how to get the most out of materials is important, and knowing how to use the natural properties of the sun and shade will be essential.

Also, aerodynamics often play a key role in designing these types of properties. It can be a large task to take on, but the best green design architects will understand how to achieve the desired results for their clients.

These types of architects are likely to become even more common in the future. As fossil fuels continue to drift away and become less viable, people are going to be turning to renewable energy sources and environmentally-friendly techniques in droves. In some ways, these architects are slightly ahead of the curve.

Techniques that these architects are using today will be even more important in the decades to come.

Industrial Architects

Industrial facilities are also going to need to be designed by professional architects.

When you want an industrial facility to operate as smoothly as possible, it is important to consider everything about the building. An expert architect is going to be able to design the facility in such a way that it will operate as efficiently as possible.

These professionals can get the most out of a space and can take steps to ensure that everything looks great, too.

Any business that needs to use industrial facilities will want to have the building or buildings designed to meet their specific needs. The needs of your business may not be the same as the needs of your competitors.

It is essential to have facilities that can make things go smoothly for all of the workers involved in the process.

Architects understand the needs of industrial facilities on a deep level, and they can design things in such a way that things work perfectly. The buildings will need to be the right size, and certain features will need to be spaced out just right.

You want to make sure that you have access to everything that you need and that nothing is placed inconveniently.

Planning everything out ahead of time is the best way to go about building a new industrial facility. When a business wants their new facility to be successful, they will hire a renowned industrial architect to get things set up.

Architects like this are usually in high demand, too. There are many businesses across North America that rely on industrial facilities to keep their business operating. Making sure that everything works right and that the space is perfect makes a lot of sense.

Doing this job right will require a deep understanding of the needs of the industry that the facility is being designed for. For this reason, any architect who wants to get into industrial architecture will need a broad knowledge base and should have a willingness to continually learn and adapt.


Do architects make blueprints?

An architect designs and plans a building project. They will translate their ideas into detailed drawings that not only show the design but also what materials should be used and the position of all features in the building.

These are the blueprints for the project. The name was given to the plans that were printed as white lines on blue paper. Nowadays, an architect will produce blueprints on a computer.

Do I need an architect to remodel my house?

If you want to make sure the remodel of your house is aesthetically pleasing, practical, and in line with your vision, it is advisable to use an architect for the design.

An architect offers an understanding of buildings and what construction needs. They also keep up with building trends, which is important if you are looking at a remodel as an investment in your house.

Do architects use AutoCAD?

Architects use different architectural drawing software options to create plans for a building project. The programs allow architects to show their clients’ 3d models of their houses.

One of the most popular software programs that are used is Autocad. It was specifically designed to produce images of every type of structure, object, and other element of a building.

How long do architects work?

An architect can be involved in a building project for a few months, during which time they design and then produce the final blueprints.

Once the project has been awarded to a builder, they will usually remain as part of the project for most of the building process. Especially during the design phase, architects may work for more than a normal 40-hour week.

Do architects work alone?

Essentially, architects are responsible alone for the design and details of the construction of a building project.

However, in order to cover every aspect of any project, an architect needs to work with various professionals, who will execute their part of the building.

Do I need an architect for a garage conversion?

Converting your garage is usually to add living space to your home. You don’t necessarily need to employ an architect to do this.

However, an architect will ensure that the space is used efficiently. They will also make sure you keep the aesthetics of your house.

Do I need a designer or an architect?

Both designer and architect will help you create the design for what you want to build. A designer has a limited scope, though.

An architect has more experience and more contacts for producing a design that includes every aspect of the building project. The investment is worth more in the long run.