Architects design anything from houses to small buildings to large-scale developments. To be an architect requires creativity, imagination and an understanding of materials and construction.
Architects and clients go through a series of steps to arrive at the desired space or building. The first phase informs the architect of the goals of the owner and the boundaries of the project. It includes the collecting and organising of the information and ideas that will drive the project. It is important that the client expresses their desires for the project, which in turn enables the architect to learn the functional requirements and the imagery and style desired by the client to start the process moving in the right direction. Architects will then go through a series of steps to bring the project into focus.
The first of these involves the listing of the spaces, their sizes, functions and the type of space that would best suit their use and is used to understand the spatial requirements of owners and users. For example, an owner may wish to have a home office and prefer for this to be centrally located within the home. Diagrams, these are a visual statement of ideas, follow and present a clear and logical order to plan the form of the building. Then, to give the owner a visual idea of what their concepts will become in 3-dimensional form, the architect does sketches and/or constructs models of the proposed buildings. Architects estimate construction costs throughout the design process. The owner can then add or subtract from the design to meet their budget. Reviewing the state and local communities conservation and zoning requirements, so the project will receive a building permit, is next.
Once this stage has been approved, architects can provide the owner with a series of drawings including floor plans, elevations, renderings and, in some circumstances, a model of the proposed building. Final adjustments are made and then, with the client's approval, the architect can complete the construction documents. Construction documents provide builders with a set of directions required to construct the building to the client and architect's specifications. Finally, construction drawings are drawn up for contractors. These are specific instructions for contractors and what is to be built. They indicate all the dimensions and materials of the building.