What are the skills the 21st Century Architect should know?

I always wanted to be an Architect, as long as I can remember. Recently I recalled my junior year in high school, knowing I wanted to be an Architect and finding out what I needed to do to become one. I had spoken to my Guidance Counselor and did my fair share of research into the profession. In numerous conversation with my peers, family and so forth, I was presented on what they believe I needed to know to become an Architect. The following list of quotes are the ones that stood out to me, because they didn’t seem relevant to reach my dream.

“You need to know math! I’m talking about Calculus and then some. You also need to be good at it because without it, you won’t be good designer.”

Yes you need to know math but every profession needs to know math to some degree. Knowing Calculus, Trig and advance mathematics is part of the profession but not as crucial as a Structural Engineer may need to know it. Needless to say, it is good to have strong math skills.

“You need to know how to draw and draw straight line. I can’t draw a straight line to save my life”

Really? Have you ever heard of straight edge? This one made me laugh many times before I even got accepted to the college of my choice. Having drawing skills helps, sketching skills even more so in my opinion but if you don’t know how to draw a straight line, its okay! Today everything is done on computers anyway (I should know). All you need is your Ortho on and click the line command.

“You will need to work long hours for little pay. You should be fine with that.”

This one made me think….do I want that? Yes…… you work long hours. Yes…….the pay isn’t the best at first. No…..you should not be fine with it and the truth is, you can change that. Any profession has levels of work and investment. Some jobs are better but they all have their good and bad points. I found the 2 points, long hours and low pay, were drivers to becoming a better Architect. After all, I wanted to have a life outside of work and to make good money. In addition I have to point out, I didn’t finish my schooling till later in my career due to life events. I did however choose to stay/work in the field as I did that. I pushed to be better at the digital software because I wanted to;

  1. Reduce the time I need to work
  2. Increase my pay

I’ve been in the profession about 18 years and not currently licensed (YET!). Taking all that in to account, I think I’m doing pretty well for myself and it’s only going to get better.

The reason for this post was an article I read in regards to what skills Architects need today. The article list some good points and ones I whole heartily agree with. Especially now, digital software, data mining and computational design are the ones I see more and more in the profession but not enough of it is being taught in schools. Check out the article originally posted in Architect Magazine, if you’re thinking of becoming an Architect or know someone who wants to.

The 21st-Century Skill Set for Architects

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