Architecture is a profession that opens up a wide spectrum of possibilities for individuals who want to specialize in a specific subject within the stream or branch out into a similar creative field. While architects are known to be designers who create buildings and other structures, some types of architects prefer to integrate their education into other major subjects like Photography, Writing, Philosophy, or Teaching. Some choose to direct their creative knowledge into disciplines like set designing, product designing, furniture designing, or even textile and video game designing. Despite these diverse options, Architects still can be classified within their core field on the basis of their specialization. Given below are 15 types of Architects who focus on a specific function or are skilled and known for designing a particular type of building.
1. Residential Architect | Types of Architects
Architects who focus on designing exclusive customized houses are known as Residential Architects. They deal closely with their clients and must be aware of all the local building norms and protocols to deliver their projects efficiently from the conceptual to the handover stage. Residential architects have been striving to provide each home with a unique identity and break the trend of Tract housing or “Cookie cutter Houses” that broke out post World War 2. F.L Wright, although not exclusively known as a residential architect, has designed some of the most famous residences of this era.
Housing Architects work on a larger scale than Residential Architects. Apart from designing the individual floor plans, they are responsible for delivering a scheme that includes layouts for more than one house and a Master plan that considers the public health, essential utilities, efficient circulation, and community requirements. Some of the known examples of housing projects in India by famous architects are B.V Doshi’s Aranya low-cost housing and Charles Correa’s Kanchanjunga, Belapur, and Tara Housing.
3. Commercial Architect
Commercial Architects are the types of architects that specialize in designing non-residential or public structures like office buildings or shopping malls. These projects are designed for the general public and are user-centric. The style of a building may vary on the basis of the architect designing it but its success depends on the functionality and efficiency of the structure. Commercial projects are usually large-scale in nature and involve a bigger team of architects and consultants.
Conservation or Restoration Architects are known for preserving, repairing, and maintaining ancient monuments and structures to prevent them from deterioration. They must understand the historical knowledge and significance of the building that they restore and propose the most efficient methods to conserve and protect it through research, documentation, examination, and treatment. INTACH is an organization founded in India to spearhead the mission of preserving and spreading awareness about the heritage culture of the country.
5. Research Architect | Types of Architects
Research Architects are usually those professionals who follow their interests in studying, analyzing, and sometimes writing a book on a sponsored topic or a subject of interest in the field of Architecture. They are responsible for the constant advancements made in our profession in terms of design, technology, expression, and presentations that help us incorporate new tools to upgrade our work.
Today various organizations offer grants and fellowships to research on topics that will help the built environment respond and enhance the living conditions at an individual and societal level in an ever-changing world.
6. Interior Designer | Architecture Types
Architects sometimes prefer to invest their knowledge in detailing and designing the interiors of a structure. While some types of architects proceed in this direction to have complete control of their project from constructing their building to designing its interiors with the same vision, others prefer the detailing required in styling the interiors as to working on a large-scale architectural project. Frank Lloyd Wright is an example of an architect who preferred to design the interiors of his buildings himself.
7. Sustainable or Green Architect
Architects who prioritize delivering energy-efficient and eco-friendly designs and act as consultants in doing the same are known as Sustainable or Green Architects. They promote the use of sustainable materials and building techniques that have minimal impacts on the environment and work on innovating and incorporating green features into their structures. Due to our industrial ways of living, a green standard or rating system has been introduced in every country that encourages architects to design sustainable structures to avoid the extreme consequences that we’ve already begun facing.
8. Landscape Architect | Types of Architects
A Landscape Architect’s primary role is to design outdoor areas. They create an environment by incorporating nature, hardscapes, pathways, water elements, street furniture, and outdoor structures like Gazebos to complement the type of building and its interiors. Landscape designers are well versed in the subject of horticulture and are also involved in environmental restoration, stormwater management, and designing various recreational areas like parks and golf courses.
9. Urban Designer
Urban Designing is a discipline that involves incorporating residential, housing, commercial, and landscape architecture at a neighbourhood, district, or city level. Types of architects who prefer to work on a large scale by developing cities or planning a new one, major in the subject of Urban designing and planning. They treat the community as their client and must consider political, cultural, demographic, and cultural aspects while designing and solving problems in a dynamic environment. Le Corbusier and Charles Correa are examples of architects who worked on the creation and development of the cities of Chandigarh and Navi Mumbai respectively.
10. Industrial Architect
Architects who are experts at designing an Industry or Factory are known as Industrial Architects. Their primary role is to understand the functions of the structure that they are commissioned to design and the input and output processes that take place within the facility to design an efficient building that facilitates optimum results for their client. B&W Volund’s Copenhill, a power plant that doubles as a ski slope, designed by Bjarke Ingles is the perfect example of how aesthetics and dual functionality can be incorporated into Industrial Architecture.
11. Municipal/ City/ Council Architect
The role and title of a Municipal Architect vary depending on the city’s local authority. Their primary role is to review and approve design works, formulate guidelines and plans for buildings of the city, prepare estimates and costings, oversee the site and building evaluation and provide technical assistance to the government and the city development authorities.
12. Extreme Architect | Types of Architects
Extreme Architects specialize in the design and construction of a structure in areas with extreme climate. This type of architecture requires the professional to deal with unique problems with sometimes no previous references that can help tackle the situation. They must have the ability to formulate distinctive solutions and construction techniques customized for the said local environment. With the rise in global warming, natural disasters have become frequent and more areas have been classified as extreme zones. The need for Extreme architecture has risen and may become a crucial factor to consider while designing a structure in the future. Halley VI Research Station in Antarctica by Hugh Broughton Architects is built to withstand some of the harshest weather conditions on the planet.
13. Developer Architect
In the past, many types of architects have faced the problem of not having full control over their projects and not getting satisfactory compensation for their roles, despite being a crucial part of the construction industry. This has convinced numerous architects to take up the responsibilities of developing a project on their own. Architects who develop project management skills are capable of executing a project without external agencies within the given time frame and budget. These architects need to have business skills, be aware of the market and real estate trends and be proficient in financial matters to fulfill this enormous task. John Portman & Associates, Jonathan Segal, and BRH Architects are examples of successful Development firms.
14. Lighting Architect | Architecture Types
Illumination plays an important role in the success of a structure in terms of ventilation as well as aesthetics. Architects who specialize in the study of Lighting Architecture study the various ways in which natural and artificial light affects the human response. Their design process includes assessing the amount of light required and its distribution, colour variations, and intensity that is required to create a sustainable and comfortable environment. Constituyentes Fachada Iluminada in Mexico and the Ring Celestial Bliss in Taiwan depicts the influence of lighting on a structure.
15. Political Architect | Types of Architects
Politics has been one of the driving factors that determine the evolution of Architecture. Architects actively taking part in politics have the power to influence society with their skills by improving social housing standards, designing community buildings, or building structures that symbolize imperialism, power, or terror of the ruling government. History has shown us both the positive and negative impacts of the influence of politics on architecture and vice versa. President Thomas Jefferson, a self-taught designer has used his skills to create a better nation while Albert Speer of the Nazi-Era was known to have constructed structures that promoted and advertised Nazi Dominance in Germany.