Becoming successful in any profession is never a very smooth ride. Similarly, the profession of architecture does involve plenty of struggles.
Hence, to make a name for yourself in this field, you need to know about the challenges you will face and prepare yourself accordingly.
And that’s where we come to your rescue – by listing all possible challenges that architects might face. We have tried to provide a comprehensive explanation of what each challenge is like and how you can overcome the same.
Without further ado, read on to know the deets.
Architecture Challenges Every Architect Faces
Good Design Rather Than Cheap Construction
Unfortunately, the majority of the construction industry values low prices and high speed more than the quality of design. As such, an architect might want to suggest a great design but may not be heard by the developer.
The primary reason for this trend is the desire of most developers to accelerate profit-making, which leads to quality being compromised. Thus, carrying out their vision for any project becomes a challenge for architects.
To overcome this challenge, architects should devise ways to illustrate how a great design can add real value to a fully constructed building. The value is attained both in terms of the quality of life for the occupants as well as the monetary terms for the developers.
An added advantage is the huge variety of communication mediums available today, using which architects can convey their thoughts clearly and convincingly.
Getting The Materials to Match Superb Designs
An area in which architects have struggled through the ages is the process of specification. Though technological advancements have made several parts of the job easier, this area is still a matter of concern.
Searching for the perfect construction materials and finishes for transforming a design into reality often involves endless scanning of catalogs. Surprisingly, even Google is not much of a help, as architects tend to get lost in the search for hours.
However, some platforms have lately been introduced to serve the specifications for building products. These platforms work by linking architects with just the manufacturers that they require.
Thereby, it is also ensured that the specifications catch up with the construction process and design in terms of tech-based intelligence, convenience, and speed. Ultimately, it helps to better the chances of realizing a great design on the ground.
Keeping Up With The Software Evolution
In the ambit of architectural design, the software is the one and only thing developing at a faster pace than hardware.
Besides new updates to certain applications such as Revit, ArchiCAD, and Vectorworks, there are many more mobile apps for architects. These include tools for project management, measurement, drawing, and triggering inspiration. As such, an architect must be conversant with accomplishing tasks through such improved and updated software.
For developing a sound grip on the technology of the future, architects must adopt Building Information Management (BIM) software in their work. This software is now universally regarded as a standard part of the building industry. It can be greatly useful for improving your work efficiency as well as sparking creativity.
Architects who have experienced the transition from CAD to BIM have offered valuable advice to the architect community from time to time.
Managing The Time For Hand-Sketching
Since 2016, several new applications have been introduced to help in improving the efficiency of drawings in architecture. Nevertheless, continuing to practice old-fashioned pencil-on-paper sketching is essential.
Through hand sketching, architects pay greater attention to detail. Though time-consuming, it gives you the chance to think about your designs much more carefully. After all, the time taken to draw every line reflects positively on the quality of the work.
Most experts in the architecture industry opine that coming up with good design requires practicing hand sketching regularly. Bob Borson, the man behind Life of An Architect says he has never met a good architect who doesn’t practice sketching.
Incorporating Changes in Hardware
With the amazing pace of advancements, updating the gadgets that you work on is important. Otherwise, you might be at risk of being left behind when the latest software for designing is released.
Interestingly, the most current hardware release has been that of a superb HP ZBook 17 G5, which can assist you in making some spectacular designs. Even the Surface Book from Microsoft is very efficient, allowing you to comfortably store your large model files.
Also, the Microsoft Surface Studio, a sleek monitor with a touchscreen that functions as a digital drawing board, is greatly useful for architects. Other than this, there are amazing tools for fabrication, such as robotics and 3D printing machines.
Sustaining An Income and Getting New Work
The recession of 2008 may be long gone, but it is still a big challenge for architects to get new clients and sustain their firms financially.
As for experienced architects, the situation is slightly better as it is easier to get work with the reputation they have made for themselves in society. But for those at the entry level, maintaining financial stability does involve a lot of struggle.
For most architects, at the root of this problem lies the use of an outdated model of business, whereby dollars are traded for hours. Thus, adopting newer models that consider the value to be more important than the cost would help them attract a greater number of clients.
In addition to this, architects can also go for ways of earning a passive income to make the firm survive through leaner times of the year. One such method is to stress on improving marketing skills through organizing podcasts or by blogging.
The Battle Against Stereotypes
For the profession of architecture, stereotypes are both a curse and a blessing. And surprisingly, they also provide much-needed comic relief for all hardworking professionals. Thus, for a field that many complain to be too serious, it is a boon in this way as well!
However, harmful stereotypes such as those relating to ego, creative martyrdom and elitism can damage the reputation of efficient professionals in the field. Such professionals don’t usually suffer from such disorders and hence find it challenging to face those cliched narratives.
A perfect way of fighting against such clichés is speaking out, which is all the more needed for architects from small firms. The good news is that in the last few years, more professionals are openly condemning such opinions.
The Generational Gap
The divide between millennials and baby boomers in the field of architecture equals an entire generation. Most of the time, bridging this gap is easier said than done. However, it is also true that the gap has widened as a result of the 2008 recession.
Often, the lessons learned by the older generations are not passed on to the millennials. Unsurprisingly, there exists great curiosity in aspiring architects and interns at the time when they join a new firm.
Such young professionals are energetic and have a sound knowledge of modern technology. These qualities can complement the expertise of the baby boomer generation quite well.
Hence, efforts should be made to improve communication between the two generations. Once successful, the collaboration would lead to an excellent team.
Managing Time for Rest and Relaxation
This challenge is not at all new to the profession, contrary to the popular belief that it is a contemporary issue. However, it is essential to reinforce the idea of relaxation for an efficient workforce.
By striving for perfection and engaging in competition constantly, this generation is walking on a path that leads to mental exhaustion. For an architect, it is not at all a desirable attribute, as a fresh mind is needed for good design ideas.
Thus, being physically and mentally healthy is of foremost importance for delivering good work. Taking measured breaks in between work, exercising regularly and getting quality sleep are some ways to fuel your body and brain. Making some time to indulge in your hobbies can also increase your work efficiency.
Early Involvement of Contractors
Usually, the lead design role in any construction project is given to architects. They need to ensure that the quality of the design is maintained. Added to this, architects generate an initial outline of the structure through virtual modeling. Thereafter, changes are made as per the ideas and designs of the sub-contractors.
In recent times, different types of procurement packages such as Design and Construct (D&C) and Public-Private Partnerships have emerged. As per such packages, contractors are involved much early in the process. Hence, architects have to establish their role in the project from the beginning.
They also need to communicate the details of the project with perfect clarity to the sub-contractors. When practiced successfully, this mode of work helps to flourish a common idea throughout the process. Also, the client is able to work with the team quite closely.
Writing a Lot of Documents
Besides sketching and coming up with new designs, architects also require to make presentations for their clients. They should ideally take care of the business correspondence and prepare the administrative paperwork simultaneously.
Added to this, the design projects involve preparing written documents and presenting their recommendations on feasibility. During the entire process, architects interact with professionals from different fields. Hence, through their writing, they must be able to communicate their ideas with the correct analysis of their designs.
Also, architects should learn to write in an appealing yet lucid manner so that it is accessible to those from a non-architectural background. Focusing on the techniques, process, and value of architectural writing is needed.
Trust is important in building any relationship and keeps society together, allowing people to continue working as a team. For architects, maintaining a client’s trust requires putting in an equal amount of time and energy as that needed for design and construction.
An effort towards gaining the trust of clients eventually gives great results such as cooperation of the client and referral to new people. You can even have repeat clients as a result of a great track record.
While creating schedules and budgets for work, having the trust of the entire team is an advantage. This makes the group follow the whole process smoothly, which is crucial to maintaining the workflow.
Battling with Politics
Architects may try to distance themselves from the world of politics, but no one can deny that it is intertwined with political issues. As such, all professionals of this field must recognize this fact.
Evidence of this fact is the backlash the AIA received when it published a statement about the US election on behalf of all its members. Especially, when the profession is brought to the public domain, it requires engaging itself in political discussions.
Significant projects in the field that we find in every city have been often discussed from a political point of view.
Also, a new building project requires a certain amount of funding. Even laying the foundation of any building is not possible without adequate funds. Hence, it is beyond any doubt that the profession relies to some extent on the vision of a few patrons.
With this, we come to the end of this article. We hope you have a better idea about the challenges you might have to face at work.
For architects in today’s world, dealing with challenges carefully is essential for allowing them to achieve success.
Often, finding a solution that would suit all parameters becomes a challenge in itself. In such situations, you must use your knowledge and creativity and combine them with modern technological resources.
Thus, if approached in the right manner, the world of architecture presents a vast ocean of opportunities.
So, go on and make your mark in the field. Till next time!