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Architects are professional people who design, plan and decorate buildings, with a view to utility, durability, convenience, and aesthetic appeal. They use their knowledge of construction materials and methods, and architectural techniques to design and oversee the construction of safe, functional and attractive buildings.

They discuss the purpose, requirements and cost with the client and then prepare drawings. If these are accepted, the final design is prepared together with working plans for the use of contractors. The architect may assist the client in selecting a contractor. They may also help in the selection of building sites, preparation of costs, the carrying out of land-use studies and long-range site development planning.

During construction, the architect visits the site to ensure that the design is being followed. Architectural technologists also carry out this supervisory work.

Many architects today are limited by costs to designing rather more mundane buildings, although they do occasionally get the opportunity to branch out into more adventurous fields such as opera houses, skyscrapers, hospitals, railway stations, supermarkets, airports and so forth. Their everyday work is usually the designing of dwellings for their clients and renovations or improvements to existing domestic and commercial buildings.

They usually need to design buildings that are durable, functional, suit the needs of the owners, are as pleasing to the eye as possible, given financial constraints, and that fit in with the surrounding terrain as much as possible.

A solid knowledge of how to use a computer is steadily becoming essential as many of the tools of this profession are now computer-aided. Environmental knowledge is often essential when creating new housing developments or industrial projects.

Satisfying Aspects
- the variety of the work
- working with people
- solving problems
- the opportunity to use creativity and artistic ability
- creating something that will last

Demanding aspects
- working long hours
- having to change plans to please clients
- working with difficult or unpleasant people
- meeting deadlines

An architect should:
- have interest in new buildings, old buildings, history, design, art, drawing and drafting
- have an intelligent, logical mind
- show attention to detail
- have good grasp of mathematics
- be able to get along with others and work in a team l aptitude for solving problems
- be creative and artistic but practical
- have ability to visualize, particularly three-dimensionally
- have good sense of form and good eyesight
- have good communication skills, oral and written, especially giving clear instructions
- have scientific and technical knowledge
- be healthy
- have a steady hand

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: Visual Arts

Degree: Training is possible at the following universities: UCT, UKZN, Wits, UFS, NMMU, UP and UJ. The course's duration is five or six years’ full-time study. Further training up to doctoral level is possible for those who are interested in an academic career.

Prospective architects must obtain one to two years of experience under the guidance of a registered architect before they can register with the Institute of SA Architects.

Diploma:The N.Dip. Architectural Technology is offered at the following universities of technology: CPUT, TUT and DUT, and UJ. They now also offer BTech. and in some cases MTech. degrees.

A prospective architect must also obtain one or two years of experience as an architectural assistant, under the guidance of a registered architect before registering with the SA Institute of Architects.

- architectural companies
- real estate firms
- building contractors
- government departments
- construction companies
- such organizations as: Eskom, Iscor, CSIR
- universities and universities of technology
- provincial services
- self-employment, architects are often able set up their own practices

South African Institute for Architects
Private Bag X10063
Randburg, 2125
Tel: (011) 782-1315 Fax: (011) 782-8771

South African Council for the Architectural Profession
P O Box 408
Bruma, 2026
Tel: (011)417-0900 Fax: (011) 615-4819