Architect Skills List and Examples

Architect sitting at desk looking out window
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Architects design buildings and other structures, inside and out, carefully considering engineering, function, and aesthetics. While architecture is an art, it is unlike most other arts in that it's both public and durable. Rather than being enjoyed only by its owner, or by museum goers, like a painting, well-designed structures can enrich public life for decades, sometimes centuries.

Because buildings must be safe and functional, the entry requirements to the field of architecture are very high.

You must have both a masters’ degree or better in architecture and state licensure in order to practice. Besides coursework, you must also complete an extended internship under the supervision of an architect. With a relevant associates’ or bachelors’ degree, you can still work in the field as a draftsman, and doing so may be a good way to make sure you enjoy the field before committing several more years of study.

Before you're in a position to apply for a job as an architect, you will, therefore, have thoroughly familiarized yourself with the skills required for this type of career, simply by going through your training. 

But you can still use a skills list like ours to get a sense of whether the path to architecture is something you might want to embark on.

Examples of Architect Skills 

The following list is not exhaustive, but does include some of the most important requirements for success in the field.

Engineering and Math

To design safe and functional buildings, you must be thoroughly familiar with the strengths, weaknesses, and other properties of various materials and with how different structures perform under load and pressure. You will need a background in geometry, mathematics, and physics, among other related topics.

Remember that you may find yourself having to innovate to meet challenges, such as designing earthquake-proof structures or energy-efficient, sustainable structures. You will not be able to rely only on solutions that others have tried and tested before.

Design Skills

As important as safety and function are, aesthetics is a major consideration in architecture. You must be familiar with the history of architecture as an art and familiar with various artistic movements within the field, and you must also be in touch with your own creativity. Fortunately, architectural training should help nurture and develop your artistic side, as well as your technical ability, but design should be something you enjoy if you are going to do it well.

Computer Literacy

The actual drawing up of plans is done on computers these days, as are simulations, artistic renderings, and much of the rest of the visual output of the field. You will need to develop agility with various architectural drafting software.

Knowledge of Building Laws and Codes

Laws and local codes have much to say about what can be built, where, and how. Some of these regulations pertain directly to the architect’s work, such as codes that specify the number and size of windows for various building types as part of fire safety, for example.

Some laws prohibit building on certain cites, like in wetlands or flood zones. Some regulations do not directly involve the architect, but all your work will be for nothing if you don’t notice certain problems and address them.

Communication Skills

Of course, architects must work closely with clients, engineers, construction personnel, and sometimes other stakeholders in a project. To complete a design successfully and see a project to completion, an architect must understand what all these people are saying and communicate with them clearly in turn. No architect can build a structure alone.

Business Knowledge

As with any other art, being successful as an architect also requires a head for business. You will need to market your services and make your name as a professional if you want other people to build your buildings.

Architect Skills List

  • Abstraction
  • Analysis
  • Architectural Codes
  • Architectural Rendering
  • AutoCAD
  • Budgeting
  • Building Codes
  • Building Construction
  • Building Systems
  • Calculations
  • Client Relations
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
  • Computer Processing
  • Conceptualization
  • Construction Administration
  • Construction Documents
  • Coordination
  • Corporate
  • Creative Thinking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Critical Assessment
  • Design
  • Design Concepts
  • Design to Delivery
  • Development
  • Documents
  • Drafting
  • Drawing
  • Estimating
  • Finance
  • Imagination
  • Industrial Design
  • Innovation
  • Installation
  • Integration
  • Interpersonal
  • Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)
  • Legal
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Model Making
  • New Construction
  • Planning
  • Plans
  • Preservation
  • Problem Solving
  • Production
  • Project Management
  • Rehabilitation
  • Renovation
  • Research
  • Residential
  • Retail
  • Revit
  • Sawing
  • Scheduling
  • Seeing Big Picture Results
  • Slicing
  • Software
  • Solving Complex Problems
  • Sustainable Design
  • Specifications
  • Technical Vision
  • Visualize
  • Writing
  • Zoning Codes

Codes

Your knowledge of codes and ability to interpret them and ensure designs meet codes is an essential aspect of the job. 

  • Architectural Codes
  • Building Codes
  • Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)
  • Zoning Codes

Technical Design Skills

What skills do you have in design, using programs and processes? 

  • Architectural Rendering
  • AutoCAD
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
  • Computer Processing
  • Design
  • Design Concepts
  • Design to Delivery
  • Drafting
  • Industrial Design
  • Model Making
  • Revit
  • Software
  • Specifications
  • Plans
  • Sustainable Design
  • Technical Vision

Building and Construction Skills

What kind of buildings and construction have you designed, in what settings? Were they new spaces or redesigning existing spaces?

  • Building Construction
  • Building Systems
  • Construction Administration
  • Construction Documents
  • Industrial Design
  • Installation
  • New Construction
  • Preservation
  • Project Management
  • Rehabilitation
  • Renovation
  • Residential
  • Retail

Project Management Skills

What skills have you developed and used in working on projects or leading projects?

  • Analysis
  • Budgeting
  • Client Relations
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Conceptualization
  • Coordination
  • Design to Delivery
  • Estimating
  • Finance
  • Legal
  • Management
  • Problem Solving
  • Project Management
  • Scheduling
  • Seeing Big Picture Results
  • Solving Complex Problems
  • Specifications
  • Architectural Codes
  • Building Codes
  • Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)
  • Zoning Codes