Every building that is erected needs someone to first design it, and with development projects springing up around the Turks and Caicos Islands, this couldn’t be more needed than it is today. Whether through commercial, residential, or green architecture, persons in this field are essential in the safe, aesthetic, intentional and environmentally friendly development of cities and spaces. If this sort of work sparks your interest, then keep reading to learn more about the field of architecture.
What is Architecture?
Architecture is the art and science of designing buildings and other physical structures taking both aesthetic and practical factors into account.
Careers in Architecture
It is easy to think only of architects when considering the field of Architecture, but in truth, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Here is a list of some of the careers in Architecture:
- Architect – in this role you would use technical and creative skill to design structures that suit clients’ requirements.
- Architectural technologist – you would use your creativity and technical knowledge to turn innovative designs into durable and sustainable constructions by focusing on the design of buildings for use and performance.
- CAD Technician – as modern-day draughtsmen, computer-aided design (CAD) technicians use software to design buildings, machinery, goods and components.
- BIM manager – as a building information modelling (BIM) manager, you would be responsible for implementing all the procedures in BIM and digital construction during the design, construction, and handover of a project by leading and supporting the use of digital technology.
- Fire risk assessor – you would identify fire hazards and risks, record your findings and advise on fire prevention. You’ll identify people at risk, as well as evaluate, remove or reduce the risks.
- Interior and spatial designer – this role would require you to use your creative skills and technical knowledge to design and renovate internal spaces and structures including structural alterations, furnishings, fixtures and fittings, lighting and colour schemes.
- Building control surveyor – in this role you would be responsible for making sure that building regulations are followed during construction.
There are also some related careers that would benefit from knowledge in architecture such as: construction management, sustainability consultants, building surveyors, and structural engineers.
In terms of academic requirements for this field, there are multiple routes that you may take but it ultimately depends on your desired career.
As a general path, a Bachelor’s/undergraduate degree in Architecture would be quite sufficient for the majority of careers in this field, particularly, for a career as an architect. Because architecture is a regulated area, it is crucial that your degree is recognised by the regulating body for your area. It is also a requirement that you register with your regulating body in order to legally be referred to as an architect.
In the UK, this would be the Architects Registration Board (ARB) whereas, in the USA, the regulating body is different per state. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) in the USA provides a list of regulators by state here so you can contact the relevant body for your area to become licensed as an architect.
The Caribbean does not have its own accrediting body to oversee this area, but it is still necessary that you study at an accredited institution if you are planning to work in the Caribbean in this field.
While a degree is not a definitive prerequisite for becoming a CAD technician, some degrees that would be useful in this career include engineering, architecture, architectural technology, IT and design. Likewise, there is no single recognised route to becoming a BIM manager but you would usually be required to have a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) in a construction-related discipline like civil engineering (UK).
To pursue a career as an architectural technologist, a degree in Architectural Technology, Architectural Engineering, Computer-aided Engineering, Architecture or Civil and Structural Engineering would be appropriate.
A career as a fire risk assessor may require a degree in fire safety, building surveying or a health and safety-related subject, however, higher education is not always necessary for this role. In a similar vein, you may become an interior and spatial designer without a degree if you have significant experience. If you prefer to take the academic approach, some degree options are Art and Design, Interior Architecture, Interior Design, Spatial Design or even Fine Art.
Lastly, to pursue a career as a building control surveyor, a degree in building control, building surveying, civil or structural engineering, architecture or construction studies would suffice.
Other skills and competencies that would benefit you in this field include:
- Communication skills
- Sound analytical skills, accuracy, and attention to detail
- Good technical and (where relevant) artistic skills
- Reasonable mathematical skills
- Organisation and time management
- Problem solving, creativity and innovation
- Spatial and design skills
- Excellent IT skills, including Microsoft Office and computer-aided design skills
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How to Stand Out
As far as certifications are concerned, there is a fair amount of options available to you depending on your desired area of expertise. For example, you can obtain certifications in CAD, BIM, fire risk assessment, design, interior design, and building regulations. You can obtain certificates in any of these areas as well as others to complement your degree and skills and to help you progress professionally. If your preferred region to start your career in is the UK, then gaining chartered architect status is indisputably one way to stand out. This is available through membership in the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) or the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
Get Hands-On Experience
Work experience is always an excellent way to not only set yourself apart but also to give you a head start in the industry. For this reason, we highly recommend taking advantage of available volunteering and/or internship opportunities wherever possible. This can be at local architecture firms such as RA Shaw, Coast, Cornerstone or RBS Architects. However, there is no shortage of architecture firms in Turks and Caicos so by all means research to find the different firms and decide which would be the best fit for you based on their portfolio and style. It never hurts to put yourself out there and apply to as many places as you are able to.
You also may contact the Turks and Caicos Government’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Planning to enquire on any internship opportunities available. The Ministry currently does not have an active website and so the best way to get in touch might be to pop by their office or call them for contact information. Falling under the Ministry of Infrastructure is the Planning Department which is a great option worth considering for work experience as this department is responsible for managing the development of the TCI which includes analyzing building plans in the processing of applications for any form of building and development – you can find them here.
If you find it difficult to get face to face work experience opportunities at architecture firms, don’t give up. Try also seeking out internships at building sites. This can actually work in your favour as it’s a fantastic way of getting to know the problems surrounding construction, safety issues and how to ground your design ideas in a practical framework.
Alternatively, virtual options can be equally challenging and rewarding. That being said, you can complete this virtual work experience offered by Halliday Fraser Munro, a UK architecture firm, by heading to their website here. The tasks are designed for secondary school students considering a career in the architecture industry and it is open to students from all around the world.
For a career in architecture, drawing is something that you will likely be expected to do on a regular basis. Many course providers will also want to see a portfolio of your drawings and sketches in the admissions process. It is therefore a good idea to get practice drawing – preferably building plans or anything building related.
Stay abreast on the latest in the industry by following architecture and design magazines like Architects Journal, Dezeen and Architectural Digest. You can subscribe to each of these to receive regular articles and updates or simply visit their website and social media pages on a regular basis to read the latest information.
Although it is very informal, you can get practice in this field by playing architecture or design games. This may not be a typically credited form of increasing employability, but it would certainly help you to stay interested and engaged with the industry. In the very least, this could provide interesting, yet relevant, interview conversations.
You may find the links at the bottom of this post useful in getting started in this field. Alternatively, feel free to browse our other career topics if you are still undecided or send us a message if you would like more personalised advice. An excellent way to help you stand out regardless of your industry or career is to have a professional and tailored CV/resume so feel free to contact us to help you make your recipe for success once you are ready to take the next step in your career.
Fun fact – Architecture was once an Olympic sport. – During the first four decades of the modern Olympics (from 1912-1948), art was considered an essential part of the competition and architecture was one of the art categories. Every submission had to be sports related.
Learn how to pursue a career in Architecture within these regions
Resources: Use the links below to sign up for the free courses at Coursera and get a certificate upon completion (NB. there is a small fee to obtain the certificates). You can also watch the video lecture on an introduction to architecture.
Making architecture course at Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/learn/making-architecture
3D CAD Fundamental course at Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/learn/3d-cad-fundamental