Architects Design Buildings / by keith messick

I would like to dispel a myth that architects don’t do design:  Architects design buildings.

While obvious to some, not so for others.

I was recently having a conversation with several other architects about the name of their firm.  There are countless ways to name an architecture firm.  Listed here are common forms or templates (using my name as an example).

  • Messick and Associates

  • Messick Architects

  • KM Studio

  • Messick Architecture

  • Messick Architecture and Design

The last template, that includes “Design”, is most often used to imply that the firm is also involved in various other types of design such as graphic, furniture, industrial, or one of many other types of design.

However, during this discussion about firm names, I learned that many architects use the last template (the one with “Design” in it) to let potential clients know that their firm, indeed, does design buildings.  There appears to be a misconception among potential clients and contractors that architects don’t do design.  So much so that architects are placing “Design” in their firm’s name to reinforce this.

You can hire an architect to design your project.

Architects do many things.  They create, process, coordinate, and document all the information necessary for a public or private agency, such as a Planning and Building Department, to issue a Building Permit (required prior to commencement of construction).  They then observe the construction of that building to verify that the original design intent is met.  They are also often involved in much of the administration of the construction process.

Most architects go to school (see my previous post regarding Licensed Architect), in either an undergraduate or graduate program or both, to study architecture.  While in school, they learn about structural requirements, environmental sciences, construction materials and methods, psychology, and design.  They are usually involved every semester with a design studio.  These studios revolve around specific topics in architecture such as civic buildings, schools, places of worship, medical facilities, housing (public and private), as well as office spaces.  Studios may also involve esoteric topics such as grave yards or outdoor spaces such as rivers and parks.  This diverse course of study equips architects for any design challenge that they may encounter.

If you are thinking about design or construction, I would strongly encourage you to discuss your project with an architect.