From the outside looking in, the world of real estate can look a little bit bland, seemingly devoid of color and artistic originality. It can seem like a soulless realm of numbers, sales and dry analyses, populated exclusively by dull worker bees scurrying around on the orders of the men and women calling the shots from the top.
Despite this outward appearance, there’s a lot more to the world of real estate than you might think. There’s a lot more color to this world than what’s on the surface! The world of real estate is full of art, you just need to know where to look! Whether it’s an enterprising realtor making the most of an unappealing listing or a wealthy investor skillfully choosing how to best spend their capital, real estate is an art and those who work in the sphere are artists, in a sense.
Despite the skill that many of these rolls within the world of real estate require, they aren’t technically art in the strictest sense of the word. One exception to this rule, however are architects. These skilled minds combine the empirical knowledge required to build a structurally sound building and the artistic vision needed to make a home beautiful. Want to learn more? Keep reading!
What are architects?
If you’ve ever been inside of a high rise building, a residential home or a shopping center, you’ve benefited from the work of an architect. While the most famous architects are generally known for their ambitious, artistically unique designs, each and every building that goes up in the United States is designed and engineered by an architect.
In the world of real estate, architects have a very important role. They serve to design and realize the buildings that we live in, work in and play in. In a business that revolves around the aesthetic and functional appeal of these buildings, having architects that do good work is of the utmost importance. This job is a unique one, in that it requires those who work within the field to have both an artistic vision and a practical one. So what does an architect do, exactly?
What do architects do?
So now you have a better understanding of what architects are, but you may still be a bit unclear on what exactly it is that they do. Yes, it’s obvious that they “design buildings” but what does this process look like, on a more granular level? What does the process of designing a home look like from start to finish? Let’s find out the answers to these questions!
Establishing a vision
Let’s say you’re an architect who’s just been hired to design a small commercial building. The first step of turning an idea for a building into a reality is finding out what the client wants their building to look like in a general sense, and then turning that into a creative, unique vision. The task of turning the client’s requests into a unique, artistically unique building will be a challenge indeed.
When trying to devise this vision, you’ll have some leeway to decide how you want the building to look and feel as a coherent artistic statement. You’ll need to stay within the guidelines provided by the clients, but inside of these general directives you’ve got a lot of wiggle room. Find an aesthetic that’s appealing and start planning for the next stage of development: working out the functional aspects of the project.
Drawing up a first draft
Now that you know what your project is going to look like, you’ll need to start working on the empirical, concrete aspects of the project. In all likelihood, the clients will detail exactly what the building will be used for and what requirements it absolutely must meet; your job is to incorporate these functional features into a design that still looks and feels good.
When drawing up this first draft, you’ll probably face quite a few obstacles. Incorporating functionality into a design while still managing to also keep the aesthetic consistent and appealing will be a challenge, but with any luck you’ll manage to pull it off. This is where the exceptional architects will be separated from the mediocre, as you do your best to make the new construction a good investment for your clients.
Running the plans by the engineer
Before your gradually forming building can make it past this embryonic stage, you’re going to need approval from a structural engineer. The skillset of these calculating, knowledgeable professionals may not have the same artistic flair that the skillset of the architect does, but it’s every bit as essential when you’re trying to create a well designed structure.
While your blueprints are at the engineers, they’ll work out the math surrounding the boring but necessary details of material choices, load bearing frameworks and a wide variety of other structure-related concerns. Don’t worry; this won’t take too long, and once the engineers are finished with the blueprints, you can move on to the next step: getting the permits.
Doing the paperwork
Now that you’re done waiting on the structural engineers, buckle and get ready to… do paperwork? There are no two ways about it: more often than not, paperwork is a tedious but unavoidable part of the architectural design process. The good news is that, once all the paperwork is done, you’ll be one big step closer to seeing your vision made a reality.
The paperwork you’re required to do will vary depending on your local laws and regulations, but generally the process is fairly straightforward, if a bit time consuming. You’ll have to work with the clients to make sure everything goes smoothly, giving your input whenever it’s necessary. Before you know it, this step of the process will be over and done!
Drawing up the final draft
Now that you’re done with the paperwork and the structural engineers, it’s time to draw up a final draft. After the engineers and the government functionaries have looked over your previous drafts, they’ll likely come to you with a list of changes that need to be made before the building can start to go up. This is ok; no architectural project is perfect from the beginning, and changes are always made between the first draft and the final one.
With your final draft, you’ll work out any remaining changes that need to be made to the original blueprints and put the finishing touches on your design. This will give you a chance to make the aesthetic appearance of the building as coherent and uniform as possible, so as to ensure that everything in the building works to serve the theme you’re intending to evoke.
Watching the project begin
Once you’re done with all the preliminary steps, it’s time to step back and watch the contractors begin construction on the project that you’ve shed blood, sweat and tears to bring to its current state. The feeling you get when watching your project go from a set of blueprints on paper to a brick and mortar structure is like no other.
While you probably won’t have an active role in the construction process, you may still be needed if the blueprints are unclear at any point or if small details need to be adjusted on short notice. If all goes to plan, the city will have one more exquisite structural art piece, and you’ll have one more project in your portfolio!
Becoming an architect
If this sounds like something you’d enjoy doing, you might be wondering “can I become an architect?” The answer to this question is a resounding yes! While it will take you years of diligent study and disciplined motivation to acquire your certification, the goal of becoming an architect is very attainable. So how might you go about pursuing this goal? Let’s find out!
Enroll in an undergraduate architectural program
The first step towards becoming an architect is getting the proper education. For those living in the United States, this will mean enrolling in an undergraduate architectural studies program. Typically, these last four years. Once you finish, you’ll have earned a Bachelor of Architecture, and you’ll be free to pursue further specialization.
Once you’ve completed your bachelors program, you can continue on to earn a Master of Architecture. This will allow you to explore other specialized niches in the architecture business, such as historic building preservation, design theory or other related subjects. Regardless whether or not you choose to pursue further specialization, it’s time to move on to the next step: getting your license.
Now that you’ve got a few years of college and a diploma or two under your belt, it’s time to get certified. Unlike in some other fields where you can become certified immediately after graduation, you’ll have to spend three years working under a licensed architect before you can get your own license.
Once you’ve completed this paid internship, you’ll be able to take the Architect Registration Exam and become legally licensed to work in the field of architecture. Throughout the course of your career, you’ll also need to undergo continuing education as well. That notwithstanding, once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll officially be an architect!
Well, there you have it; a look into the fascinating lives of the artists of real estate. Where other art is made with easels, brushes, instruments and cameras, the art of architecture is more heavily reliant on computers, rulers, pencils and good old fashioned hard work. It’s a happy marriage of science and art, and the buildings we live, work and play in are proof of just how incredibly important the art of architecture really is!