Architecture or Architerror | 13 Challenges Every Architect Faces Today

Challenges are plenty when you dip your toes in the field of architecture with a vast ocean of opportunities. But, you have to prove yourself at every level to learn its ins and outs continually.

 Isn’t this common with all jobs?

It surely is! But an architect wants to be recognized with the Pritzker Prize to the A+ Awards. It’s the platform for architects to showcase their designs. By the way, who doesn’t want to be recognized for all the hard they put in? Well! Most architects are waiting to celebrate their success on the global stage.

When we keep our long-term goals at the forefront of building our careers, challenges will not remain unknown. And, the journey is neither going to be easy nor simple.

But, it’s all about perseverance and hard work through blood, sweat, and tears. You should find your niche in the field of architecture by giving due importance to certain factors- location, economics, and preparation.

However, in the following read, we’ve compiled a list of challenges that every architect faces today. It should help in putting a few of the difficulties into perspective.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Architecture Challenges Every Architect Faces

  1. Combatting the stereotypes

In the field of architecture, stereotypes can be a double-edged sword. You might be praised for being high-and-mighty, or they might loathe you if you’re a self-professed creative genius.

The positive stereotypes will help you to end things on a happy note, as you can share a laugh by listening to silly jokes. On the flip side, your entrepreneurial spirit shouldn’t be crushed by the creative martyrdom, lordliness, and elitism that surrounds this profession. For a hardworking architect, it can get challenging to idealize the cliched personality behind the screen.

However, the caricature of architects being a bunch suffering from pretentious afflictions is not valid in all cases. And, so is the image of all of them being underpaid and overworked professionals. With more architects speaking out about such stereotypes, the bad names surrounding this noble artistic profession are eventually being put to an end.

  1. Finding the right materials to suit the great designs

With technological innovation, many aspects of the architect’s job have become way simpler. They can use the best of technology to design ideas that would otherwise be challenging to draw on paper. However, the process of collecting some excellent materials, for giving shape to the designs has been a struggle for decades altogether.

It gets complicated when architects have to go through piles of catalogs for finding the right materials and building products. Moreover, even google starts to test your patience when you aren’t able to bring your designs to reality.

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With such challenges, some platforms are booming to serve your specifications by getting you connected to the right manufacturers. These initiatives will complement your design with a focus on detail and the construction process. Overall, it should help to ensure the architect with better convenience, speed, and tech-based intelligence for getting the work done.

  1. Sustaining an income and finding new projects

The economic disaster or financial crisis of 2008 has almost declined, but an architectural firm continues to withstand such challenges. For experienced architects, it will be way easier to get work, as they could establish their name in society. But, for the ones at the entry-level, it’s challenging to keep the firm financially stable without winning any new clients.

Architects are generally found to be following an outdated business model, in which they trade dollars for hours. However, as per the new business models, value is considered to be more important than cost. This will help architects to attract more clients by using modern software for improving their efficiency.

Plus, they can opt for other methods to earn a passive income during the poor business season. Architects can focus on improving their marketing skills by blogging or organizing different podcasts and webinars. If this is not enough for additional revenue, they can also publish architecture e-books.

Practicing the craft of architecture apart from its prescribed norm takes the right amount of courage, time, and workflow. But, this informal, playful side of architecture will help your architectural business to stay afloat.

  1. Making time for some hand sketching

The market is flooded with several software and apps which are designed to help an architect increase their drawing efficiency. But, hand sketching is equally vital as it helps to pay closer attention to detail. And, even though the process is quite time-consuming, you get the chance to slow down to think about your designs carefully.

Almost every renowned architect has eventually developed the right talent in sketching. So, keep practicing your work by using a traditional pencil and paper.

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Sketch by Francis Kéré

The time that we take to draw every single line in the analog approach is known to help enhance the quality of your work. Especially, when you try to emulate the design done using the traditional medium to your digital forum, the design gets more precise and simple.

  1. The debate for good design over poor construction

In the construction industry, there has been a constant preference for lower-cost materials and higher speed over design quality. With the increase in the number of developers working to yield higher profits somehow, the design industry is starting to lose its value. The amount of work and engineering that an architect has to put into an excellent design is crushed down by poor construction.

When the developers don’t pay heed to the design quality, it gets challenging to transform the vision of the architect into reality. The architect needs to find ways to ensure that clients understand the value of good design. This is also beneficial for different facets like- aesthetics of the building, quality of life, and even in monetary terms.

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However, an architect has the liberty to use several mediums to communicate their designs to clients, which includes- social media, presentations, visualizations, diagrams, and models. If these methods are incorporated, then there will be better marketing of the designs made by an architect.

  1. Bridging the generational gap

You’ll get to see an entire generational divide between the millennials and the baby boomers. It’s often easier said than done when you try to bridge this gap. However, this generational gap has also been a result of the grand recession of 2008. The current firm owners and architects with expertise have worked diligently to understand the principles and practices of architecture.

Moreover, the lessons that the older generation has learned are often not shared or passed on to the millennials. There is an unsurprising amount of curiosity in interns and aspiring architects when they join a new architectural firm. The millennials are budding with energy and knowledge of modern technology, which can complement the expertise of the baby boomers perfectly well.

Therefore the focus should be on improving the communication skills between these two generations, as it can collaborate an excellent design team. This will be better than selecting one group over the other. Overall, the focus lies on sharing knowledge and working within the limitations and potentials of both these groups of architects.

  1. Staying updated with the software development

In the field of architecture, the requirement for software has been evolving at an extraordinary rate. Especially when compared to the evolution of hardware, which is much slower.

You can always find new updates in the software for architects, including mobile apps and tools for drawing, measuring, playing, and project managing. Apart from this, you also have ever-present applications like Vectorworks, ArchiCAD, and Revit.  

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It isn’t unknown that every architect must gain knowledge of Building Information Modeling (BIM), which has become a standard in the construction industry.

Even though there was a slow transition from CAD to BIM, architects should get a grip on BIM for creative professional work. These architectural apps are great for sparking your creativity and improving efficiency.

  1. Staying updated with changes in design hardware

Finding the right hardware is essential for an owner of an architectural firm to an aspiring architect living on a budget. But why? Proper hardware is vital for improving the overall productivity of an architect. For using the most recent design software, you might also need to upgrade your tablet and computer.

The most recent standout hardware release has been the powerful HP ZBook 17 known for its incredible quality, which should help you make some jaw-dropping designs. Even Microsoft’s Surface Book is excellent for architects to store their large model files. The sleek touchscreen tablet in this model can also be used as a drawing board.

Best laptop for architects

Even if a professional isn’t incorporating this hardware on a large scale, they should be aware of such tools and developments for construction site and studio purposes.

  1. Giving prime importance to rest

This challenge isn’t new to this profession; no wonder it’s often known as a timeless issue. But, it’s vital to reinforce the concept of relaxation for a productive workforce. The constant competition and striving for perfectionism are driving this generation into a state of mental exhaustion.

This isn’t good for an architect, because, for good design ideas, you need a fresh and well-functioning mindset. A few professionals have been able to maintain a work-life balance effectively. However, the rest of them are caught up in the business jargon.

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This profession can get extremely demanding. But, when you’re mentally and physically healthy, you’ll be able to deliver great work. If you work continuously without giving yourself a break, the creative process is hampered because your brain starts getting fried.

Ensure to take good care of yourself, make time for your hobbies, exercise regularly, and give the right fuel to your brain and body. This should help an architect to jumpstart their intellect to follow their passion with a clear mind.

  1. Writing documents

In addition to sketching and making a new design, architects also need to make presentations for clients. An architect should prepare their administrative paperwork and look after the business correspondence at the same time.

For a secondary revenue source, you’ll find many architects writing articles for different publications and professional magazines.

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Even for their design projects architects should prepare written documents and present programmatic analysis. Sounds like a lot of work? It doesn’t end there, because they also need to write materials for reports and blogs, paper writing services can of course help but very detailed briefings that encapsulate your expertise are key!

An architect must have the ability to communicate ideas with an accurate analysis of their architectural design.

But, what’s more, important is learning to write in a way that is appealing and accessible to non-architectural folks. They need to focus on the value, process, and techniques of writing about architecture. It’s essential to bear clarity in your thinking process to be able to express yourself through your writing. 

  1. Battling with politics

It’s essential to understand the fact that architecture has been tightly knit with contemporary politics. For instance, you can refer to the backlash the American Institute for Architects (AIA) had previously faced for supporting Donald Trump during the elections. However, some architects are continually trying to distance themselves from politics.

In truth, irrespective of whether we prefer it or not, architecture is inherently intertwined with regional politics. Especially when it’s brought to the public domain, this profession has to engage itself in political discussions quite often.

The significant architectural projects that we see around every city have always been political at some level or other.

This profession depends highly on factors like technology and resources, but without the right amount of funds, you can’t even lay the foundation of a building. Therefore, right from the start of human civilization, this profession has been relying on the vision of its patrons.

Architecture in every city emerges due to the collective will of its people. But, the strings are pulled by those in place of power and representing the people of the country. Overall, public architecture is mostly dependent on politics from building memorials to housing societies.

  1. Earlier contractor involvement

In any building project, the lead design role is usually given to the architect. They need to ensure the proper maintenance of the quality of design by keeping a close watch on the client’s case. Moreover, with virtual modeling, the architects can generate the initial outline of the building. And steadily they can incorporate the ideas and designs of the sub-contractor.

With different procurement packages like Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Design and Construct (D&C) subcontractors and contractors are involved quite early in the construction process. Therefore, the architect needs to influence the project and establish their role from the very beginning of the case.

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At the same time, the architect needs to communicate the client’s case very clearly to the sub-contractors from the get-go of the design project. This not only helps in flourishing a common idea throughout the building process, but it also allows the client to work closely with the team.

Thus the architects need to first work hard with every client to produce a design that is sturdy and flexible. After which, they can go about with the procurement process.

  1. Trust is imperative

Trust helps to cement relationships by gluing society together, which allows people to feel safe as they continue to live and work as a team. You’ll require the same amount of time and energy that is put in for the design and construction of a building and also for establishing and maintaining the trust of the client.

The effort that you invest in gaining trust, eventually yields a sound output, such as- patience with the rise of challenges, referral to new clients, and repeat clients.

When you create budgets and work schedules, it’s an added advantage to have the trust of your team. This helps the group to smoothly follow the process, which is crucial for the workflow.

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Similarly, the lack of trust can cost you the future of your business, it can harm your reputation, and even issues with litigation may arise. Every project comes with a fixed budget, and the client should be able to trust the architect that each penny will be utilized efficiently. 

Therefore, you must communicate well to build a productive architect-client relationship to complete complex architect projects with ease.

Final words

In the world of architecture, you’ll find several challenges that are dodging around. The challenges faced by architects today should be dealt with with caution, to prevent them from rising even further. Finding a solution that will suit all the parameters ideally can be a challenge on its own. But, by blending technology with expertise, you can find a solution to many of these issues.

And why not?

When architects have solutions for the most intricate of designs, eventually with a little brainstorming, they can change this entire scenario.

Till next time!

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