The structures that surround us – buildings – can often be overlooked, but architects painstakingly created their designs.
An architect is a specialist who creates plans for buildings. They are also visionaries, explorers and entrepreneurs.They create structural concepts and then collaborate with engineers to ensure that those designs perform properly in their intended location or project.
In estimates by software company PayScale, project architects can earn up to R613 000 a year and have an average income of R356 000.
Architecture may be thought of as work done on paper or in a computer programme, but the thought process begins long before the pen is put to paper, according to Landseer Collen, the principal, director, and founder of BPAS Architects.
“If architects only operated in a paper world, we would never get our buildings evolved beyond paper,” Collen said.
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“Architects must be dreamers, visionaries, explorers and entrepreneurs. The principle of Avant-garde architecture whereby architecture is innovative, radical and always progressing, becomes the focus in urban development when an architect designs for the future.’’
He said to take a client’s commission and turn it into a drawing, you must be able to construct a vision of the future. It involves imagination, as well as the cognitive growth required to think in 3D.
According to Collen, architects not only translate a client’s need into an image, but have to be able to play with it to see what’s possible.
He cited famous architect Frank Gehry, who supposedly constructed the Dr Chau Chak Wing building at Sydney’s University of Technology, based on the notion of a crumpled paper bag.
Gehry is also recognised for iconic structures such as the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain and The Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, US.
Collen said an essential trait of architects is a sense of playfulness, and that architectural professionals manage the delicate line between aspirations and what is possible.
“We have to be visionaries to understand what we’re designing – to interrogate not just the moment in time we’re being asked to design for, but the long-term vision for a building and how it will work 50 years in the future.’’
Architects must understand the community and area in which their buildings are located, as well as consider how society is evolving and what that means for the built environment.
“Architecture is science translated into art,’’ Collen said.
“You can’t separate those two disciplines if you’re an architect – you need them to work together in symbiosis. It’s a collaboration between the creative and physical environment. We must push boundaries to explore what’s possible.”